ERP recently learned that a partnership with the Town of Chapel Hill to train local businesses (restaurants) in pollution prevention resulted in an award from the Water Environment Federation (WEF) in its  annual stormwater video competition.

ERP and Town of Chapel Hill won the training category award for the video, “Keep Restaurant Pollution and Profits From Going Down the Stormwater Drain.”

In 2009, the Stormwater Management Division from the Town of Chapel Hill, N.C., responded to many reports of illicit discharges in restaurant storm drains. To stop these illegal discharges, the town and the University of North Carolina Institute for the Environment (UNC-IE) collaborated to produce educational videos, posters, and handouts. The Wallace Genetic Foundation helped to fund the effort. These materials now are being used nationwide to train restaurant workers about preventing pollution.

“By combining the resources of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with those of the Town of Chapel Hill, we were able to produce a stormwater pollution prevention video that was creative, informative, and met real training needs in our local business community,” said Kathleen Gray, associate director for outreach and public service with UNC-IE.

The free outreach materials produced through the town and UNC-IE’s collaboration “help restaurant owners and employees understand the storm drain system, local watersheds, and good housekeeping expectations to prevent water pollution,” said Wendy Smith, community education coordinator for the Town of Chapel Hill.

“Keep Restaurant Pollution and Profits From Going Down the Stormwater Drain” models good housekeeping practices by showing viewers how to store and dispose of wastes properly to protect businesses and water quality. Since the training program began in Chapel Hill, restaurant employees have reduced the number of dumping violations, and several local businesses have invested in constructing or improving washout areas to avoid sending wash water and organic matter into storm drains.

ERP and the Town of Chapel Hill will receive the award during a ceremony in the Stormwater Pavilion Theater at WEFTEC® 2015 in Chicago.

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