Blacksburg seeking artists to give storm drains a makeover to raise awareness

The town of Blacksburg is looking for creative designs that will be painted on some of the storm drains downtown. Their message - to remind people passing by how their actions can affect the natural water below.

Beneath the busy streets of downtown Blacksburg run flowing streams and waterways.

"It's kind of hard to value what you don't know about or even see anymore," said Blacksburg sustainability manager Carol Davis. "Over time those waterways got covered over by buildings and roads."

Besides a few spots where the streams peek through, there aren't many clues to remind us of the natural water just below our feet. One we can see: storm drains.

"When water goes into a storm drain, it's not treated. It doesn't go to a treatment plant to remove litter and pollution," said Davis.

It actually runs directly into those streams, which eventually make their way into the New River and into the local water supply. The town wants people to be more environmentally conscious of this. Things like toxic fertilizers on your yard, leaking fluids from your car, and litter can run off into these drains and pollute the water they lead to.

"It's always really difficult to get the public aware of what our water quality problems are and what they can do to help with it," said Davis.

They're turning to art to raise awareness and are looking for people to come up with designs that will brighten up the concrete drains. The winners will get $350 for supplies to make their concepts come to life.


"We want it to be a clear message about how decisions individuals make can affect water quality and the things that they can do," said Davis, "something that people will get intuitively as they walk by or at least make them curious. Why is this here, what is this telling me?"

To submit your design or find out more information on the project, click here.

 

 


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