By Alexis Peralta, IRC Stormwater Educator

Have you ever noticed the stormdrains on the side of the road? A lot of people in our area are completely unaware of what “those holes” in the sidewalk are for or have varying misconceptions of their purpose. Our stormdrain painting project in Indian River County aims to bring awareness of the true purpose of why we have stormdrains and how everyone can help protect the Indian River Lagoon from pollution.

Stormdrains are here to protect our roadways from flooding. They remove stormwater runoff and drain to the canals, ditches, retention ponds, and the Indian River Lagoon. In Florida, stormdrains are not connected to the sewer: a common misconception. Everything that is washed down the drain is dumped unfiltered into the lagoon; including litter, grass clippings, dog poop, chemicals, and more.

This can be prevented if we each do our part. Picking up after your pets and keeping litter in the trash, reducing fertilizer and chemical use on your lawns, and blowing grass clippings back onto your yard are all simple steps everyone can incorporate to protect stormwater from pollution.

Only Rain Down the Drain: because rain is not pollution. Everything else washed away pollutes the Lagoon. Our project paints this slogan with beautiful murals on stormdrains around the County to shine a light on this important yet overlooked infrastructure. A portfolio of the painted drains will be featured on ircstormwater.com along with a series of PSAs offering tips for preventing stormwater pollution. And we are still looking for volunteer artists! If you’re interested in painting to help the Lagoon, email aperalta@ircgov.com for more information.

This project could not be undertaken without the generous partnerships from Unicorn Epoxy and the Downtown Vero Beach Mural Project.

As a native of Indian River County, Alexis has a lifelong passion for protecting the Indian River Lagoon. Her mission over the past 7 years as the County Stormwater Educator has been to spark that same passion in citizens of all ages by promoting a sense of pride and responsibility for the world we live in.