Storm drain art preaches clean water message

FAIRBANKS, Alaska Local artists painted storm drains on 5th Avenue on Saturday. Their message, keep the water clean.

There was a wide array of volunteers this year, with the youngest being 7. She submitted the idea herself, and calls it 'Please keep the water clean.'

"This event tries to accomplish public awareness on whatever you throw on the ground goes in the storm drains," began Cynthia Nelson, the Science Director for the Tanana Valley Watershed Association; "and that all water discharge goes to storm drains that eventually end up in the Chena River and then, further down, the Ocean."

The Tanana Valley Watershed Association, along with the city, Held its annual Storm Drain Art Painting Day. A burst of inspiration, a swash of color, and a group of volunteers brought their message to life. About a dozen designs were made to share this message. Artists used nontoxic water based paint to make their designs. There was a wide array of volunteers this year, with the youngest being 7. She submitted the idea herself, and calls it 'Please keep the water clean.' One artist, Johanna, has been doing this project for many years. She says this is a message the public needs to be hear.

According to Andrew Ackerman, the City's environmental manager, the event has been going for seven years; being held consistently since 2014. He spoke on the importance of the city's storm drains.

"We have to make sure that the water, storm water, rain water, melt water, stays fairly clean," said Andrew Ackerman. "We don’t want any kind of petroleum products, automotive fluids, sediment, and any other pollutants going into our storm drains."

Nelson went on to say the roads they choose to do are ones that are scheduled for construction in the next few years.

That way, they can come back and put in new designs.