The non-profit Bloomington-Normal Ecology Action Center will continue to provide stormwater information and information to the community

McLEAN COUNTY, Ill. (WMBD/WYZZ) – At Monday’s Bloomington City Council meeting, the council approved an agreement with the City of Normal, McLean County and the Bloomington Water Reclamation District- Normal, for the Bloomington-Normal-based nonprofit Ecology Action Center, to continue to provide stormwater education and awareness programs to McLean County residents.

City of Bloomington Public Works Director Kevin Kothe said stormwater education and community outreach is a requirement for Bloomington and Normal to obtain a storm sewer system permit. separate municipal (MS4) from the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

“And so, instead of each community going out and doing their own education and awareness, we partnered with the Ecology Action Center to do that for the whole community,” Kothe said.

Michael Brown, executive director of the Ecology Action Center, said storm sewer systems are vulnerable to runoff pollution.

He added that it can range from fertilizers, pesticides and insecticides to automotive fluids like engine oil, antifreeze and brake fluid.

“Every time it rains, they are picked up by the rainwater and washed down the street gutter, which leads to the storm sewer system, whether in a ditch and drain, or in the streams and streams. streams, these bodies of water all come together and flow into larger bodies of water,” Brown said.

Larger bodies of water can include those from which we get our clean water.

Now, with an additional $42,296 from the City of Bloomington, Town of Normal, McLean County and Bloomington-Normal Water Reclamation District, the Ecology Action Center can continue to deliver programs to educate the public about reducing water pollution for three more years. year.

One of the programs offered by the Ecology Action Center is a rain barrel workshop.

“We help residents make their own low-cost, highly efficient, very high quality rain barrels, collect rainwater, collect rainwater, and then use it in their gardens, lawns , where they want, it helps reduce that stormwater environment that carries these pollutants into water bodies,” Brown said.

They also provide classroom training for McLean County students, as well as volunteer opportunities like their Sugar Creek Stewardship Program.

“Volunteers go there and they remove invasive and exotic species, brush and weeds from areas along Sugar Creek, and help restore it with native plants and vegetation, which provide greater benefits in terms of stream bank stabilization, better filtration of pollutants, better habitat for native wildlife and many other benefits,” Brown said.

He said a good way to learn about Ecology Action Center projects, resources and ways to get involved is to visit Mcleanwater.org

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