SJRA Stormwater Inlet Marking (SwIM) Program
Most people do not realize the rain water that flows down our streets, over parking lots, through parks and yards, and into open drains flows directly into Lake Conroe. Our community actions and behaviors have a significant and direct impact on preserving high water quality in the Lake Conroe Watershed.
Stormwater runoff drains directly to waterways without being filtered or treated at a wastewater treatment plant or sewage facility. It picks up pollutants such as pet waste, grass, oil residue, pesticides, and fertilizers on its way to the drain and the lake. Additionally, disposing of liquids such as paint, gasoline, or motor oil in the storm drain is the same as dumping it directly right into the lake.
Contaminated stormwater runoff can be harmful to plants and animals that inhabit the lake, can clog pipes and drains increasing the risk of flooding, and can pose a health risk to those who come in contact with the water fishing, swimming, or skiing.
With a focus to preserve the high quality of Lake Conroe, the San Jacinto River Authority’s (SJRA) Stormwater Inlet Marking (SwIM) Program was created in 2015 as a visual reminder that only rain belongs down the drain. SwIM is an educational and “hands-on” outreach program to improve water quality by raising awareness of illegal dumping of pollutants into the storm sewer system.
The program not only aims to reduce dumping, but it also serves as a community service activity. The SwIM Program gives local communities, schools, groups, and others the opportunity to lend a hand by applying storm drain inlet marker medallions to the top of storm drains in neighborhoods throughout the Lake Conroe Watershed.
Lake Conroe is currently one of the highest quality bodies of water in the greater Houston area, meeting or exceeding all the Clean Water Act standards for contact recreation, public water supply, and aquatic habitat. Proper removal of pet waste, trash pick-up, suitable chemical disposal, and accurate fertilizer application can all preserve the high quality of Lake Conroe.
For more information on SwIM or to schedule a SwIM inlet marking event contact SJRA at https://www.sjra.net/lakeconroe/stormwater-inlet-marking/.
One of the major river authorities in Texas, SJRA’s mission is to develop, conserve, and protect the water resources of the San Jacinto River basin. Covering all or part of seven counties, the organization’s jurisdiction includes the entire San Jacinto River watershed, excluding Harris County. For additional information on SJRA visit our website at www.sjra.net, like SJRA on Facebook @SanJacintoRiverAuthority, follow us on Twitter @SJRA_1937, or Instagram @SanJacintoRiverAuthoritySJRA.
Featured in the March, 2020 Issue of Dock Line Magazine.