Normally a report of teen-agers armed with cans of spray paint makes folks at the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department cringe. Not so Wednesday, when volunteers were using paint to convey an important message regarding storm drain inlets in downtown Hannibal.
Two HHS seniors, plus another recent high school graduate, spent about an hour and a half using a stencil and paint to advise the public of drains whose contents either go directly to the Mississippi River or streams which eventually empty into the river.
“What this does is give everybody an idea how important it is for that drain to carry water and rain water only because it drains to our river, and it’s important to keep our river and streams clean,” said Brian Chaplin, project manager for the city.
Around eight inlets were stenciled with blue paint Wednesday.
“That’s more than what we expected. These guys worked good together,” said Chaplin.
Two of the volunteers were Parks Department job shadowers from the high school - Andrew Richards and Max Thomure.
“Whatever they need us to do, we’ll do it. They asked us to come out here and do this today,” said Andrew.
Both Andrew and Max recognize the importance of their work.
“We want to keep the river clean so there’s no waste in it,” said Andrew.
“We want to make sure people don’t dump in drains,” added Max.
Unfortunately, some people use storm drains to dispose of paint, motor oil, antifreeze, pesticides and other wastes. Such dumping is not acceptable, according to Ryan Tucker, another of Wednesday’s volunteers.
“Keeping the streams clean is a pretty good thing to do,” said Ryan, who enjoys being outdoors “every chance I can.” “We’ve got to keep that river clean and those fish clean so they’re good to eat.”
Wednesday’s work was the first of several events that will be undertaken by the city’s Stream Team.
“We’ll be doing volunteer projects that we put together to help clean streams, stencil inlets, plant trees and things like that to keep the area clean,” said Chaplin.
More manpower will be sought by the Stream Team as other projects are scheduled.
“As weather gets better we’ll be doing it quite a bit. We’re going to try and get as many volunteers as we can once the weather breaks,” said Chaplin. “We want to keep moving forward and keep our streams clean and water clean.”