OWU student launches “Adopt-a-Drain” program

As a high school student volunteering to clean up trash in her hometown of New York, Savannah Domenech quickly realized that a coordinated and ongoing effort involving many people was needed to have the kind of impact permanent and positive environment that she sought to obtain.

As a student at Ohio Wesleyan University, Domenech, a sophomore from Webster, New York, found the opportunity to work with the Delaware city and community to improve local water quality. This month, she’s leading the launch of the city’s Adopt-a-Drain program, which encourages people to adopt storm drains and clean them regularly to keep trash and other debris out of city waterways. region.

“Be a stormwater hero – adopt a drain!” said Domenech, a double major in environmental studies and geography. “Anyone can agree to do a cleaning every two weeks on and around a storm sewer of their choice in the city of Delaware.”

Those who choose to participate are improving the environment with “quick and simple actions” that will help reduce localized flooding, improve stormwater quality and improve community and neighborhood cleanliness, she said. .

Domenech began working on the Adopt-a-Drain project in his ENVS 110 (Introduction to Environment and Sustainability) class and was awarded an OWU Connection grant to help him start the Adopt-a-Drain program.

She’s getting the project started in earnest this month by encouraging members of the OWU campus community to adopt drains to clean and maintain. In November, she plans to roll out the program throughout the Delaware community when a quarterly Stormwater Watch newsletter is sent to residents with their utility bills and posters are posted downtown. More details and registration information are available online now at https://stormwater.owu.edu.

David Soliday, the Ohio Wesleyan instructional technologist, was the first to adopt a drain and help Domenech test the program protocols.

“I’m happy to help,” said Soliday, also a longtime member of the Delaware Sustainable Environmental Community Group. “As an adopter, I will keep the drain free of debris. This includes leaves in the fall and any type of litter or litter. I have committed to completing a brief survey when I do, to track the amount and the type of debris I collect.

“These drains flow into the Olentangy River, which is the source of our tap water in the city,” said Soliday, who hopes others will embrace the green initiative. “Excessive debris can clog pipes and complicate matters downstream, where the same river is a valuable resource for Worthington, Columbus and other communities. My taking responsibility for this drain also helps raise awareness of our connection to the natural world around us.

As people embrace the drains, Domenech says, their “I’m adopted!” choices will be mapped online using ArcGIS Online software.

Domenech’s project is done in conjunction with the City of Delaware’s Department of Utilities; Erin Wolfe, City Watershed and Sustainability Coordinator; and the Ohio Wesleyan Department of Environment and Sustainability.


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Ryan H. Bowman