In the blazing heat for two days and a combined six hours, Beau Exall and his crew worked vigorously to replace each storm drain medallion around Highland Park in both Spanish and English.
The Life Scout and rising senior thought outside the box to land on the medallion replacement as his Eagle Scout project after he found that a majority of these medallions are damaged and missing which prevents people from being aware of the damage that can occur if the wrong fluids or waste find their way into storm drains.
The blue and green medallions seen by storm drains are there to warn people not to dump hazardous waste in the drains.
These drains flow to Turtle Creek and Exall Lake, which are some of the communities’ favorite spots. Becoming aware of this problem, Exall brought together a group of people to rename and replace these markers while wanting to bring awareness of the situation.
“Each generation has to make their own way. While I am proud of my ancestors, I am just trying to do my part.”Beau Exall
“In school, I have been taking a lot of environmental science courses. I have been learning about how much we have been harming the environment. I just thought, anything I can do to help is worth it and I wanted to do something to help the town of Highland Park,” he said.
When the wrong fluids or waste finds its ways into storm drains, the effects can be toxic. The consequences of this can result in the destruction of local aquatic wildlife and plants, algae blooms, the contamination of waterways and aquifers used for drinking water and ponds/lakes used for boating, swimming, and fishing.
“When leaves and grass clippings are blown into a storm drain, the debris can settle into nearby bodies of water. Leaves and grass clippings become organic material on the bottom of the lake and reduce the amount of oxygen in the water affecting aquatic life,” said Lt. Lance Koppa, Highland Park public information officer. “Dirt, sand, oil, pet waste, pesticides, and soapy water can be discharged from residential and commercial properties and find its way into a storm inlet.”
Placing storm drain medallions reduces the amount of pollution in waterways and fulfills one of the towns requirements of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit to reduce pollution.
Being a part of one of the founding families of Highland Park, Exall wanted to make sure that he did his part in helping the community and leaving his mark.
“Each generation has to make their own way. While I am proud of my ancestors, I am just trying to do my part,” said Exall.
With all the paperwork and time Exall spent, he was proud and thankful for all the work and contribution that came from his volunteers.
“Just a huge thank you to all those volunteers. So grateful that they took the time out of their day to spend six hours in 90 to 100-degree weather and replace all these [storm drain medallions].”
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