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Scouts stencil message on area storm drains

Effort part of MS4 storm water pollution prevention project

East Syracuse Boy Scout Troop 244 stenciled an important message on storm water catch basins in the Clark Hill, Fremont Hills and Fremont Meadows neighborhoods: "Water drains to creek."

The six boys who participated Oct. 18 worked not only to earn hours toward their community service merit badges, but also helped the town of Manlius to fulfill state environmental requirements.

"The scouts learned how important it is to help out in the community and protect the environment, and the town of Manlius benefited by the scouts helping with their MS4 storm water pollution prevention project," said Geoff Miller, Boy Scout Troop leader.

As part of the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, the town is required to enforce a storm water management program that would reduce the amount of pollutants from the storm sewer system, known as MS4s, said Doug Miller, town engineer.

By stenciling the message near the basins, this project helps to increase awareness of pollution to Chittenango Creek, Butternut Creek and Limestone Creek, Geoff Miller said.

"My uncle said people dump oil and paint cans down the basins because they thought it was going to a treatment plant, but it was killing the fish," said Alec Miller, a seventh-grader at Pine Grove Middle School, and also the scout leader's son and the town engineer's nephew. "What we did will do a lot of good."

The 11- and 12-year-old Star Scouts split into two groups and took turns spray painting, using a stencil they created themselves before the outing. They spray painted the words onto the concrete in front of the catch basins with whatever colors of paint that could be found in their garages, Geoff Miller said.

The other boys involved in these activities included Nick Schug, Jeff Episcopo, Paul Barney, Eric Sognefest and Cole Greabell. Some of the boys worked for three hours, others stayed for five and a half. The Star Scouts need six hours of community service to earn a merit badge.

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