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City pushes creek-cleaning pledge

By: Jenna Nielsen Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn businesses can pitch in this Earth Day by making a pledge that will leave a lasting impression on the environment for years to come. As part of the Healthy Auburn Waters campaign, launched by the city of Auburn in January, city officials are now reaching out to business owners by asking them to take conscious efforts to improve water quality. “As Earth Day approaches, we want to remind Auburn residents and businesses to renew their efforts to take care of our environment,” Jack Warren, city public works director, said in a statement announcing the pledge. “Spring is the time of year we begin thinking about outdoor activities and it is a perfect time to pay special attention to Mother Nature by adopting some good habits.” Businesses are being asked to reduce pollutants being poured down the sink and into storm drains, collect fats, oils and grease in containers and properly dispose of hazardous waste. Businesses that take the pledge will be presented with a Public Service Award and will receive window stickers with the campaign logo. The businesses will also be listed on the Healthy Auburn Waters Web site, with a link to their Web pages. Emerald Green Janitorial Service, Inc. was one of the first businesses to sign up to take the pledge. Rodney Spangler, the service’s marketing manager, said the business already makes a conscious effort to use environmentally friendly and biodegradable products. “We have always been aware and never dump our water down outside drains,” Spangler said. “It is not any more cost-effective, but it is about being smart, basically. And environmentally aware.” The Auburn Chamber of Commerce was the first organization to sign on and is also helping spread the word to its members. “It is important for community business owners to take positive steps to reinforce the significance we should all place on our environment,” said Bruce Cosgrove, chief executive office of the chamber. “At the Chamber of Commerce we are proud to join with the City of Auburn, and not only support this program with our words, but publicly pledge with action that we intend to help encourage and protect our local environment.” The city is also reaching out to children as it does every spring with classroom visits and creek walks. “We teach children how sensitive the creeks are by taking them on a walk of the area and encouraging them to not litter because of how pollutants can harm wildlife,” said Megan Siren, city recycling coordinator. Creek walks for this spring will take place on May 22 and 23. City officials hope the efforts of the campaign will put an end to hazardous waste entering local waterways and sewage systems, which increases processing costs and can cause substantial damage to aquatic life. “It is the right thing to do for our pocket book, for Mother Nature and for future generations,” Warren said. The Journal’s Jenna Nielsen can be reached at jennan@goldcountrymedia.com, or post a comment on this story at auburnjournal.com.