Rain down the drain

The other evening I took a stroll with my kids around the neighborhood. My 8-year-old son pointed to what I now know is a storm drain and said, “Only rain down the storm drain,” and proceeded to tell me that anything else put in it can kill fish. Personally I don’t put anything in them, but aren’t they part of the sewer system?

Storm drains collect excess rainfall and directly divert it into waterways, such as rivers and streams, as a means to prevent flooding. They are not part of the sewer system, which collects and treats water from indoor plumbing before it’s released into waterways. Pollutants, such as animal waste, trash, motor oil, green waste, detergent from washing your car and residual pesticides used on lawns and gardens are typical storm drain contaminants, which harm the waterways and the wildlife that live there. While new technologies are being tested to minimize pollutants of storm drains and to trap the trash thrown into them, the best method to prevent storm drain pollution is to raise awareness and encourage conscientious thought when it comes to those curious, grated holes along our sidewalks and roads, which is exactly what your son did.

In a previous Green Days issue, I saw mention of a dog house locally made out of recycled products. Is there an equivalent for cats?

The Cat Cocoon is about the coolest, environmentally friendly house for cats that doubles as a play structure and scratching post. While it’s corrugated-cardboard design looks questionable in its ability to withstand the wrath of kitty’s claws, it’s been said to have incredible durability, and it’s held together with a water-based glue, the greener sibling of chemical-laden adhesives. The Cat Cocoon is pretty pricey, so I’d shop around to get the best deal. After a quick search, www.pimppets.com appears to have one of the lowest prices.