Hands Along the Water teams up with City of Venice to protect Gulf waters

Hands along the water in Venice

VENICE, Fla. (WWSB) - It’s not every day you see a group of volunteers wearing safety vests, spending their Saturday morning working on storm drains.

“Every single storm water drain on the map has a label, and the label actually tells visitors and residents and businesses that whatever goes in there, goes into the Gulf of Mexico,” said Dawn Champiny, Hands Along the Water board member.

The group Hands Along the Water worked with the City of Venice to place labels that read “Illegal to dump – Drains to the Gulf.” They dispersed in smaller groups around different neighborhoods. They drove and walked to find every storm drain on the map, for a reason.

“There’s a little of filtration when it comes naturally, the majority goes out to the Gulf of Mexico. Typically, it becomes a poison such as pesticides or other things people dump, or it becomes a nutrient which is plant material decays and end up becoming food for the algae blooms that we have like red tide,” said Champiny

This concerning some of the residents of Venice.

“There’s a lot of things happening that we need to make people aware, and I’m sure they’re not, that are going into our water that shouldn’t be going there. So, it’s really important that when you’re out cutting your grass or blowing your leaves or grass clippings that they don’t go into the storm water drains,” said Debbie Sanacore.

While placing these labels, they also collected a pile of trash. They say they will continue until everyone knows what goes in can harm our waters.

“It’s mostly for education and See Click Fix is for reporting issues so the city can address it because they can actually lift that grate and can get that lawn clippings out of them,” said Champiny.

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