Help keep stormwater clean and rolling along

By David Rookhuyzen / ADOT Communications

As we had said many times before, we've seen – and had to pick up – a wild assortment of items that have been left on our state highways.

Now, we warn people to secure their load and items mainly because of the hazard these items cause to other drivers, but that isn't the only reason. 

That's why we are helping partners including the city of Phoenix mark Jan. 20 through Jan. 26 as Stormwater Awareness Week. The week is designed to help people remember to be environmentally conscious when it comes to stormwater. Unlike what gets flushed down your home drain or toilet, stormwater – runoff from roofs, gutters, parking lots, driveways or other paved surfaces – doesn't go somewhere to be treated. Most of the time it's a short journey from your house to groundwater and retention basins. Along that way it can collect a number of pollutants from what it encounters, which is why Phoenix is trying to raise awareness.

You can read several tips about the simple things you can do to help prevent stormwater pollution at the Phoenix Stormwater Awareness Week website. But the one drivers can zero in on is to always put trash and recyclables in their place. And that place is definitely not alongside our freeways. Please make sure that there is nothing in the back of your truck that could fly out as you are driving and definitely never throw trash out your window. 

Along with the environmental reasons, cups, paper and other debris can be carried into our drainage systems along freeways, making it more difficult for them to drain water during storms. As we told you about last summer, it's a yearlong job for our crews to keep those pumps clear due to accumulating litter.

If you feel like helping spread the message, you can pass it along on social media using the following hashtags: #StormwaterAwarenessWeek #StormwaterWeek and #Stormwater.