April showers bring May flowers — and an increase in stormwater runoff into our local streams and waterways.

Have you ever wondered where the oil goes that makes driving so dangerous after the first rainfall? Or what happens to the detergent that runs down the driveway when you wash your car?

The used oil, as well as detergents, dirty water and soaps from washing your car, are carried through storm drains into the nearest lake or stream, according to a news release from the Clinton County Solid Waste Management District.

Anything dumped or dropped on the ground or in the gutter can end up in the nearest body of water. Stormwater pollution results from materials and household hazardous wastes washed into the storm drains from streets, gutters, neighborhoods, industrial sites, parking lots and construction sites.

This type of pollution is significant because, unlike the water that goes down a sink or toilet in your home, stormwater is typically untreated and flows directly to local waterways.

Stormwater systems were originally intended to route rainwater quickly off the streets during a heavy storm.

Unfortunately, stormwater runoff can carry pollutants such as pesticides, bacteria and chemicals through city streets and straight to our waters. Stormwater pollution can include chemicals, fast food wrappers, cigarette butts, Styrofoam cups, sewage overflow, cooking oil, bacteria from pet waste, used motor oil, fertilizers, paint and construction debris.

It’s season for stormwater & proper disposal of hazardous materials: What you can do

Used oil from a single oil change can pollute up to one million gallons of freshwater. Improper disposal of used oil, which includes oil leaking from cars, contributes significantly to stormwater pollution.

The EPA estimates that American households improperly dump about 193 million gallons of used oil every year, or roughly the equivalent of 17 Exxon Valdez oil spills.

These pollutants do not just affect the local area either. All of our streams, creeks, drainage ditches … etc. are all interconnected in what is called a watershed.

A watershed is an area of land that “sheds” or drains water into a specific body of water. Nearly all of Clinton County is part of the larger Little Miami River watershed, which includes Cowan and Caesar Creek Lakes as well as many community’s well fields.

Residents of the City of Wilmington will have a free opportunity to dispose of household hazardous waste properly on Saturday, April 9 from 9 a.m. to noon. The event is a cooperative endeavor of the Mayor’s Office and the Code Enforcement, Sanitation, Wastewater and Stormwater Departments.

Items can only be left during the event – not before or after. Citations may be issued to people that leave items outside the event’s hours.

This collection event is open to city residents only. IDs will be checked at the gate to verify residency.

For questions about the City of Wilmington’s Hazardous Waste Collection Day, please contact Stormwater Administrator Eric Green at 937-382-2413.

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