At the 6th Annual Indiana Department of Environmental Management’s MS4 Conference, the Town of Cicero received honors for their efforts in going above and beyond their permit requirements.  Each year the Town of Cicero is required by IDEM to make certain efforts to protect the quality of the storm water running into their system.  The Town is also required to provide public education to the residents about the importance of practices that keep the storm water in their neighborhoods clean.  “The Town of Cicero was one of several that were recognized statewide for going beyond the permit requirements for Public Education and Public Participation,” stated Paul Munoz, Director of Planning for Cicero and Jackson Township. “It was an honor that the State took notice of the Town’s rain garden and rain barrel programs and of our hard work.”

The Town of Cicero’s biggest asset could arguable be considered Morse Reservoir.  Realizing the importanphoto (1)ce of protecting that asset, the Town has decided the best way to educate is to lead by example.  The Cicero Parks Department has installed a rain garden to collect and filter the run-off from the Parks office at Community Park.  Charlie Cambre, Cicero Parks Superintendent said “This particular rain garden was a unique project.  It was installed by a local Boy Scout who put 500 man hours into it for his Eagle Scout project.”

The shoreline in Red Bridge park also has extensive rain gardens to help filter the storm water run-off from the parking lots before it reaches the reservoir.  The Parks Department is currently applying for funding to install two more large scale rain gardens and educational signage in Red Bridge Park to help inform visitors about the importance of those rain gardens.

The Utilities Department and Fire Department, in conjunction with the Morse Waterways Association and many volunteers, has helped with the annual lake clean-up efforts.  They assist by using their heavy machinery, boats and man power to clean debris, large logs and items from the reservoir and deliver them to Greencycle where they are reused for other purposes such as mulch.

The Planning Department, which helps with storm water public education and permitting, has designed a program to promote the use of rain barrels and rain gardens.  The 2nd Annual Arts and Rain Barrel Auction will be held on June 8th.  Resident will have the opportunity to bid on one of 17 colorfully painted rain barrels that have been decorated by local artists.  Those barrels are currently on display along Jackson St. in Cicero.   A display has also been constructed at the Planning and Utilities office at 150 W. Jackson St. to show how the rain barrels work.

“Protecting the reservoir is moRain-Wizard-Urn-65re important now then it ever has been” stated Paul Munoz. “Although the Town plans to lead by example, we need the help of the residents to protect the quality of the water.  We are trying to educate the community on such issues as Phosphorus free fertilizer, disposing of yard waster correctly and not in the lake, even down to picking up the pet waste in your yards.  All of these efforts make a difference in the quality of the lake water we enjoy swimming and boating in.”

For more information about Storm Water Issues in your area or to take the Pledge, please visit the Clear Choices Clean Water website.