Base, city pitch in to clean up ditch
LAMP students join base environmental in cleaning up a drainage ditch outside Maxwell. (Air Force photo/Christopher Kratzer)
by Christopher Kratzer
Air University Public Affairs
9/23/2011 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Maxwell's base environmental division partnered with the city of Montgomery and Loveless Academic Magnet Program to clean up the drainage ditch that runs along the side of the base near the Kelly Street gate. The initiative is a part of the storm water management program at Maxwell and the city.
While the ditch mainly serves the city of Montgomery, it also collects water run off from the base.
The cleanup is a good opportunity to work with the city, according to Trent Hill, the project coordinator for the base environmental division.
"If there are opportunities for the base to interact with the city with programs or educational outreach, we try to work hand in hand to get that out to community and the base population," Hill said.
Workers from the base and city walked the length of the ditch collecting smaller trash and debris, while a back hoe removed larger items.
"Over time, this ditch has become abandoned. There's a lot of trash and debris that's washed in from the city, everything from bags, tires, metal, plastic and glass," Hill said. "Over time, it accumulates. All this storm water leads to the Alabama River."
In addition to representatives from the base and the city, 15 ninth-grade students from LAMP, took part in the project.
"Projects like this get students involved. It teaches them that storm water is a renewable resource, and we don't want to be a pollutant. Everything goes back into the creek systems and, in this case, the Alabama River. We can have a dramatic effect on the ecosystem," Hill said. "It's really an educational experience."
LAMP gives every student the opportunity to participate in service projects. Kyle Shook, a ninth-grade student, jumped at the opportunity to work outdoors, give back to the community and maybe miss a little class.
"It's really been fun being out here. It's nice being out of school, but it really is fun coming outside and doing this work. There's the Sunday school answer of why we're doing this, 'helping clean the environment, 'but it really is fun being able to do that," he said. "It's rewarding to know that you are making the environment cleaner for future generations."
Even though the project went a long way towards improving the half-mile stretch of ditch, it's up to residents of the base and the city of Montgomery to keep it clean, according to Hill.
"People need to be aware that solid debris needs to go to the landfill. Let's put it in the trash can. Don't dump it on the side of the road or in a ditch," he said. "Oils and chemicals need to be disposed of properly. A lot of people just dump it down the drain, but it becomes a problem."
Hill encouraged anyone with questions about proper waste disposal to contact the base environmental division at 953-3954 or the city engineering department.