NPHS mural project will focus on stormwater pollution

NPHS mural project will focus on stormwater pollution

An example of what could be coming to North Providence streets as part of an effort to raise awareness about stormwater pollution.

NORTH PROVIDENCE – A new partnership between North Providence High School and the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council is designed to bring greater awareness to the issue of stormwater pollution in town.

Kassi Archambault, education director at the WRWC, told The Breeze that discarded items like cigarettes and animal waste, as well as fertilizers, all get swept into water supplies when heavy rains come. It’s in everyone’s interest to cut down on stormwater pollution, said Archambault.

The partnership with NPHS, timed in conjunction with Earth Day, is funded through a stormwater grant to Providence, said Archambault. As happened along the Woonasquatucket River in Providence last year, she said, students will be painting murals at four storm drains across town and another mural on a dugout at Romano Field off Woonasquatucket Avenue.

Archambault said representatives from the WRWC began talking with North Providence officials last year about doing a multi-phase mural project focused on stormwater runoff. Stormwater coordinator Lou Lanni and Mayor Charles Lombardi embraced the idea.

“Everyone’s very excited about the project,” she said.

Students are working with Archambault and others at the WRWC this week to decide on more specific themes for the murals. They’ll also work with town officials to determine exact spots for the paintings.

Representatives for the WRWC were at NPHS Monday to let students use their watershed model, an interactive three-dimensional model that allows students to dump pollutants in different sections, re-creating issues like septic overflows or factory pollution, and see what happens when it rains.

The stormwater drain murals will be placed on part of the sidewalk above where the waffle-looking grates go over the drain, said Archambault. She said students will be painting the murals on Saturdays in May.

The public can help reduce stormwater pollution in many ways, said Archambault. Cleaning up litter, animal waste, liquids from cars and other potential pollutants before it rains makes a big difference, she said.

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The students can now see for themselves the effects of pollutants on the land. At right is Kassi Archambault of the Woonasquatucket River Watershed Council. Students in Ms. Nassi’s science class at North Providence High School used the Woonasquatucket Watershed Council’s interactive 3D model that shows what happens when pollutants are dumped on different sections, simulating different areas of the land. (Breeze photo by Charles Lawrence)