NewsProtecting Paradise


Martin County Public Works frequently pulls litter, plastic from storm drains

Posted at 10:30 AM, May 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-23 18:18:08-04

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MARTIN COUNTY, Fla. - Plastic bottles, cups, cigarette butts, even tennis balls are among some of the litter regularly pulled out of storm drains in Martin County that lead to waterways.

“You’d be amazed at what you find in there from chairs, basketballs, shoes," said Nick Muzia, Martin County field operations and stormwater project engineer.

When someone litters, Martin County Public Works crews eventually come across it either with a street sweeper or a vacuum truck that collects sediment and litter from catch basins.

“We’d like to think that it blows out of vehicles, but I'm sure some of it is actual true litter where people will just throw it on the ground," said Jim Gorton, Martin County Public Works deputy director.

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Depending on the area they've cleaned up, 20 to 40 percent of what the crews pull out on any given day is trash.

“Generally we’ll get more, a lot of the single use plastic debris around the more populated environments," Muzia said.

That not only clogs up the drains and causes flooding, but if crews didn't intercept it, it could wind up in the waterways.

"When you see a sign on your drainage box or neighborhood that says flows directly to the lagoon, it does flow directly to the lagoon," Muzia said.