The History of Plastics!

On October 3, 2018, WVU’s Charleston branch of Osha’s Lifelong Learning Institutes (OLLI) invited Lee Ann Grogg of the City’s Stormwater Department and Tomi Bergstrom with the WV DEP to presented a lecture on the History of Plastics.  We learned a lot in our combined research efforts, including what drove plastic to be invented, its importance in WWII, the amazing advances it provided in manufacturing & medicine and how its single-use form is killing our global environment.

In 1868 John Wesley Hyatt answered a call to create an alternative substance to ivory for billiard balls.  For a $10,000 prize, Hyatt discovered celluloid, a partially synthetic plastic.

When World War II began, the use of plastic for advantages in war became evident and plastic production and further research reached an all time high.

Plastic production went from from 2.3 million tons in 1950, to 162 million tons in 1993.  By 2015 plastic production had grown to 448 million tons produced per year, much of which was (and still is) single-use plastic.

National Geographic’s June edition titled Planet or Plastic? has an in depth chronology of the journey of plastic and its present impact in our world.  You can read it by following this link: 

Vote for your favorite Snowman!

Snowmen frolic and educate!

The Charleston Stormwater/Engineering Department wants your opinion of which snowman is the chilliest stormwater representative.  They are having fun in the snow. Clean stormwater is very important to their happy existence. They want to educate people on what they think is the best way to keep their snow free of pollution!


Contractor Jake

Here’s Jake.  He’s having a little fun on the job while he waits to install his silt fence – the ground is frozen!  Jake knows jobsite runoff has to be free of dirt, so no excavating until the fence is buried at least 6” deep.  Watch out for his snowball! ‘When the snowboss is away, the snowmen will play!’

Snowman Flynt

Flynt’s green hat matches his green thumb. He uses rain barrels to water his plants & keep them healthy. Here’s why… 1) Plants love rain water, it doesn’t have chemicals like tap water. 2) In a 1″ rain, Flynt captures 55 gallons of H20 in 8 minutes. 3) Rain water is FREE water! Flynt is capturing stormwater & reducing runoff into sewers. He is River Proud!

Professor Snow

The Professor takes his work very serious.  He teaches Green Infrastructure & Stormwater Management at the college level.  But don’t refer to him as a snowman, he prefers to be called a ‘stormwater sculpture.’  He knows  that snow is stormwater and snow melt pollutes just like rain.  Therefore it makes sense, he really is a stormwater sculpture!

Snowman Link

Meet Link, he’s never without his I-Pad! He’s quite the techie, especially for a snowman.  He uses Charleston Stormwater’s Web & Facebook pages to sign up for programs, get tips on green infrastructure & find workshops.  Link just left a rain barrel workshop, he’s taking his rain barrel home to store until spring & leaving an online review!

Twinkle Toes

Twinkle Toes is an entertainer with a large resume for a snowman. Here he is performing one of his favorite dances –  ‘Singing in the Snow’!  You may recognize Twinkle from movies like, ‘Frosty the Snowman’, ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’ & his soon to be released documentary; ’Black Snow, A City’s Dirty Secret’.


Santiago is the old man of the river & a smooth caster.  He fishes the Kanawha for Bass & Walleye and the Elk for his beloved Trout.  Here he is fly fishing the headwaters of the Elk, hoping for the 20” Rainbow that got away!  He believes our rivers are the soul of our existence.

Green Infrastructure grabs a PARK(ing) Spot!

September 21, 2018       PARK(ing) Day, 2018, in downtown Charleston, WV!

During Charleston’s first PARK(ing) Day, the Stormwater Department brought Green Infrastructure into our parking space.  The mission of PARK(ing) Day is to call attention to the need for more open urban spaces, green spaces, and people spaces.  Our space showcased types of green infrastructure that can be used in residential, commercial and municipal settings.  Rain chains and rain barrels for rain water harvesting, indigenous plants and trees and an example of a miniature green roof.  As Charleston continues to grow and development, we strive to include green infrastructure with our existing systems for stormwater management and pollution prevention.

Rain Chain that connects to a gutter

Green roof with succulents in a tray system

Drains to River Stencil Program

Did you know the stormwater that enters our drains and inlets flows directly to our streams and rivers without any filtration?

This means that pollutants in our ditches, on our roads and parking lots end up in our rivers. Items likes cigarette butts, plastic bags, bottles, and grass clippings all impact aquatic life. Most pollution happens when people carelessly miss the trashcan or absent-mindedly throw their cigarette butts on the street.
However, there are people who intentionally pollute. They pour oil, paint, concrete and other items directly into storm drains with little regard to the streams they are polluting. In an effort to educate, the Stormwater Department has implemented a program to label our storm drains and inlets that discharge stormwater into our streams and rivers. Our goal is to make a potential polluter hesitate and think about what his/her actions could be doing to our environment.

Stormwater Rocks! at ArtWalk


2018 Rain Barrel Workshops are coming!


Join the Charleston Stormwater Program at ArtWalk, Thursday, April 19, 2018 to sign-up for our 2018 Rain Barrel Workshops!

In addition to sign-ups we will be painting rocks for our STORMWATER ROCKS! program.  Paint a rock, post a pic, and then hide your rock!  Find a rock, take a pic and post it to our Facebook page.