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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                             February 2, 2006



          Seven teams of two to three Maryknoll Grade School faculty members will spread out throughout their neighborhood on Friday to protect the environment. They will clean around storm drains, stencil the message, ďDump No Waste, Take Care of Our OceanĒ, and hand out educational materials identifying who they are, what they are doing, ways to reduce polluted runoff and where to properly dispose of household and yard waste.  Stenciling will begin at Maryknoll Grade School at 9 a.m. and will include parts of Punahou, Wilder, Nehoa, Dominis and Makiki streets and Manoa Road.

          One of the biggest threats to water quality is urban runoff.  With more than 20,000 storm drain inlets, and over 670 miles of storm drains to clean and maintain in the City and County of Honolulu, storm drain stenciling is an outreach tool to help make a connection between neighborhood streets and local water bodies.

           Most storm drains lead directly to local streams and the ocean.  When it rains, runoff flows over streets and yards, carrying pollutants into storm drains.  Those storm drains are not connected to municipal wastewater treatment plants.  So whatís on the street enters storm drains and flows untreated to nearby Makiki Stream, the Ala Wai Canal and to the ocean.  Many runoff contaminants originate from homes, yards, streets and driveways.  Storm drain stenciling provides a way to specifically observe little-recognized pollution sources such as pet waste, automotive fluids, excess fertilizer, pesticides, detergents, yard clippings, litter, and sediments.

          This storm drain stenciling project is coordinated by the City and County of Honolulu Department of Environmental Service, Division of Environmental Quality, Storm Water Quality Branch (SWQ); and carried out by volunteers in conjunction with the City Department of Facility Maintenance. 

          Partly because of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agencyís (EPA) Storm Water Phase II requirements, storm drain stenciling is anticipated to remain a popular activity for increasing storm water awareness in communities.  To volunteer, use the online request form at or call 692-5208.




            Iwalani Sato, Department of Environmental Services, 429-4112


How Can You Help

Oahu is home to nearly one million residents who have a direct affect on our island environment and water quality  Everyone, including residents, business owners, and employees can minimize polluted runoff that drains into streams, estuaries, and the ocean.  Storm water Best Management Practices (BMPs) or simply good housekeeping practices starts at home and work.  Here are some actions that all citizens can incorporate into their daily activities to reduce the amount of trash, chemicals and other pollutants into our precious streams and ocean.

1.  Keep sidewalks, curbs and gutters clean.

Do keep sidewalks, curbs and gutters fronting your property clean by sweeping up debris and disposing of it in the trash, prior to hosing with plain water.  Remember, it is the property ownerís responsibility to keep these areas clean.  Donít wash or allow debris from sidewalks, curbs and gutters into the storm drain.


2.  Prevent soil and debris from leaving your property.

Do sweep excess dirt and sediment runoff from landscaping or watering from sidewalks and driveways into grassed or planted areas. Control soil erosion on your property by planting ground cover or mulching erosion prone areas.  Donít wash excess dirt into the gutter, as it will flow into the storm drain. Never over water the yard to the point where runoff occurs.


3.  Gather grass and tree cuttings and dispose as green waste, or compost your yard trimmings.

Donít wash cuttings, or any other debris from your yard, into the gutter and down the storm drain.


4.  Purchase used oil change box and soak up spilled oil and dispose of appropriately.

Do purchase an oil change box available at retail outlets that sell motor oil. Used oil can be drained directly into the box, sealed and placed into the trash.  Soak up spilled oil and dispose of appropriately.  Donít pour motor oil on the ground or down the storm drain.


5.  Remove and dispose of pet waste before you leave an area.

Do remove and properly dispose of pet waste from public areas and other peopleís property before you leave an area.  Design considerations include vegetated buffers, pooper-scoopers, and the siting of parks out of drainage ways, streams and steep slopes to help control the impact of dog waste on receiving waters.  Also visit the Hawaiian Humane Societyís web site at


6.  Use water-based paint and discard properly.

Do soak up and discard small amounts of leftover paint products by using cat litter, sawdust, rags or shredded newspaper; or by painting it onto cardboard, and letting it dry. Discard with the rest of your household trash. Paints can also be hardened in its container and thrown away in the trash. Use water-based paint whenever possible.  Donít pour paint or paint products down the drain or on the ground.


7.  Use only the amount needed of pesticides and fertilizers.

Do use pesticides and fertilizers according to the instructions on the package and only purchase what you need. Fertilizer and its packaging may be disposed of in the household trash. Call 692-5411 to find out how to dispose of a particular pesticide product.  Water entering our storm drains flows directly to streams or the ocean, carrying pollutants and debris with it. These pollutants and debris seriously impact the environment.  However Oahu residents can make a difference!  Property owners are liable for all work that may affect storm water quality, whether they themselves perform the work or it is contracted out.  Non-compliance of city regulations can result in fines of up to $25,000 per day per violation.

Donít overuse pesticides or fertilizers. Overuse can result in the products being transported into storm drains with water runoff from watering or rain.  Donít use these products if rain is anticipated.  Never pour leftover pesticides down the sink, into the toilet, or down the storm drain.


8.  Wash your car with plain water.

Do wash your car using a nozzle and bucket, and direct the flow of water into a grassed area. Wash with plain water without using soaps or detergents.  If you must wash with detergents, sparingly use environmentally friendly soaps, or go to a commercial car wash.  Donít let the hose run continuously, sending excess water and detergents into the gutter.


9.  Keep household cleaning products from becoming hazardous waste.

Do use non-hazardous and environmentally safe cleaning products that donít contain phosphorous or other toxic chemicals. Avoid having household cleaning products become hazardous waste by buying only what you need and using it all. Call 692-5411 to find out how to dispose of a particular product.  Donít pour household products down the drain, toilet or into the gutter.


Wednesday, February 01, 2006

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