UACES Facebook Super Sammy takes to the web to promote stormwater awareness

Super Sammy takes to the web to promote stormwater awareness

By Ryan McGeeney
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Feb. 28, 2018

Fast Facts:

  • Arkansas Stormwater Education Program helps high-density development areas address stormwater management
  • Super Sammy is the new public face of efforts to educate residents
  • Grass clippings, motor oil and trash should never be allowed in storm drains, which empty into creeks, not treatment plants

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LITTLE ROCK – The Arkansas Stormwater Education Program is bolstering its efforts to promote responsible stormwater management through the southeastern areas of the state with Super Sammy, the new face of stormwater awareness.

Sammy Andrews, an actor and athletic training in central Arkansas, was cast as “Super Sammy” in 2017 as part of educational outreach efforts by 4-H Arkansas and the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

Kristin Higgins, public policy program associate for the Division of Agriculture, said Andrews’ “Super Sammy” character was developed in an effort to appeal to a broad range of Arkansans.

“Any time you have an educational program where you’re trying to reach both adults and kids, you’re going to want someone and something that will connect them to the central idea in effective ways,” Higgins said. “Sammy’s mission is to draw attention to water pollution, and the effect people can have on it — that they can contribute to the pollution, and that they can also help fix it.” 

In a newly-released YouTube video, Super Sammy partners with the animated character Wayne Drop to emphasize the importance of keeping common waste such as grass clippings, motor oil, cigarette butts and more out of storm drains. The video can be seen on the Arkansas Stormwater Education Program’s web page at https://uaex.edu/environment-nature/water/stormwater/seastormwater/.

“We have to tell people constantly that the storm drain doesn’t go to a treatment plant,” Higgins said. “That the water that goes down the storm drain goes straight to a local creek, and then to the river. It’s an uphill battle.” 

The concept of “stormwater” focuses on water that flows off of buildings and artificial, impervious surfaces, such as asphalt parking lots, and ultimately flows into creeks, rivers and other natural waterways, often carrying pollutants with it. Higgins said that traditionally, federal regulations have focused on “point source pollution,” or polluted discharge direct from a specific source, such as what's coming out the pipe from a treatment plant or a canning facility, for example. Over the past 30 years, however, the focus has turned to polluted runoff, the specific source of which may be difficult or impossible to identify. 

A limited number of counties in Arkansas have population densities requiring that they adhere to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency stormwater management practices established under the Clean Water Act in the late 1990’s. Initially, only Little Rock was affected by the regulations, in 1999, but by 2003, as additional phases of the regulations were implemented, metropolitan areas including Pine Bluff, Fayetteville, Springdale and others were identified as stormwater-intense areas. 

The Arkansas Stormwater Education Program is divided into two branches — the Northwest Arkansas Stormwater Program, which focuses on Benton and Washington counties, and the Southeast Arkansas Stormwater Education Program, which focuses of the cities of Pine Bluff and White Hall, Jefferson County and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. 

To learn about stormwater management, contact your local Cooperative Extension Service agent or visit www.uaex.edu

 

About the Division of Agriculture

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.  

The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.   

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

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Media Contact: Ryan McGeeney
Communication Services
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
(501) 671-2120
rmcgeeney@uaex.edu