In Cary, as in most cities and towns in North Carolina, you’ll find storm drains and catch basins along our streets and in many yards. What most people don’t realize is that these drains lead directly to our rivers and streams, not to a wastewater treatment plant.
Consequently, pollutants such as motor oil, fertilizers, yard waste and litter find their way into our rivers, streams and oceans via these drains, often carried by rain that becomes stormwater runoff. Polluted streams impact our water resources as well as our downstream neighbors' water resources.
The Labeling Program
Storm drain labeling is a statewide coordinated effort to paint educational messages on storm drains (catch basins and yard inlets) that lead directly to nearby creeks, streams, lakes, coastal waters and the ocean. In Cary for example, hundreds of yard inlets and catch basins empty into Kildaire Farm Lake, which flows to Swift Creek. This creek supplies drinking water to Raleigh and Garner via Lake Wheeler and Lake Benson. Swift Creek then flows into the Neuse River near Smithfield. In other parts of Cary, runoff flows through storm drains to Jordan Lake, Cary's own drinking water supply. The labeling program uses volunteers to place labels onto the vertical face of residential storm drain covers. The purpose is to alert people that what flows into storm drains affects water supplies.
Volunteers should be at least 10 years of age. Individuals may want to label drains in their neighborhood. School groups, Scouts, 4-H groups and other community organizations may want to take on a larger area. Labeling takes about 10 minutes per drain.
The Town provides supplies, directions and maps for your labeling project.
Call (919) 469-4030 or complete the online form if you see a storm drain that is damaged or clogged or observe suspicious dumping into a storm drain or stream.
Stormwater Program Analyst
Water Resources Department