Scott County

New high water marks raise pollution awareness

One of the first watershed signs to be posted around Lexington designates the entrance to the Town Branch watershed on Red Mile Road. There are nine watersheds in Fayette County.
One of the first watershed signs to be posted around Lexington designates the entrance to the Town Branch watershed on Red Mile Road. There are nine watersheds in Fayette County.

If you live in Lexington, you live in one of nine watersheds, and eight of them are polluted.

You might have contributed to that pollution by using too many chemicals on your lawn, not picking up after your dog or blowing leaves and grass clippings into the nearest storm sewer.

Whether you did those things or your neighbor did, it's costing you money. That's because the federal government sued the city over the polluted creeks, causing the city to raise sanitary sewer fees last year and to start collecting a new storm sewer fee this year.

As part of an agreement that settled the suit, the city is educating people about the specific watersheds in which they live.

On Monday, officials unveiled the first two watershed signs. Both are on Red Mile Road near Red Mile Place. Later, signs will be placed on Loudon Avenue and at a couple of places on Man o' War Boulevard.

On Red Mile Road, southbound travelers are advised that they are entering the Wolf Run watershed. People going in the opposite direction see a sign saying they are entering the Town Branch watershed.

A watershed is an area that drains into a specific creek or river. Spill something on one side of those signs and it eventually will run into Wolf Run. Spill on the other side, and it goes to Town Branch.

Don't know which watershed you're in? You're not alone.

A survey last year showed that 56 percent of Lexington residents did not know whether they live in a watershed, and 29 percent said they did not live in one. Everyone does, of course.

"The signs will also serve as reminders that our daily activities have a significant impact on our water quality," Mayor Jim Newberry said as the first set of signs was revealed Monday.

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