The River Keeper

April is Keep Roanoke Beautiful Month

"Don't throw your smokes in the Noke!"

“Don’t Throw Your Smokes in the NOKE!”

"Don't throw your smokes in the Noke!"

Help keep Roanoke clean and beautiful by recycling and properly disposing of trash. Litter discarded in the streets and parks can travel through the storm drain system, emptying into the nearest stream, polluting our environment.  So let's remember, “Don’t Throw Your Smokes in the NOKE!” 65 percent of all cigarettes butts end up as litter. That is why in 2015, the City of Roanoke  joined forces with Roanoke County in a valley-wide campaign to raise awareness about littering, in particular cigarette butts.

The city posted humorous anti-litter signs around downtown with creative slogans such as “Butt What”, “No Butts About It” and “No Ifs, Ands or Butts”. In October 2015 at a press conference held with Roanoke County, the second phase of the campaign was launched with the “Don’t throw your smokes in the Noke!” featured Ford Explorer. The vehicle, which was provided by the Office of Environmental Management, is wrapped with the campaign slogan and bold graphics. Billboards, social media and the signs around town complete the campaign.

All littering is problematic but cigarette butts are the most frequently littered item. They are small and tend to collect in tight places making them and difficult to clean up. They can take up to 20 years to decompose. They present a particular hazard to our stormwater system and they pollute our parks, streets and waterways. So let’s think twice before littering, find an appropriate container and keep Roanoke Clean & Green!


Save those April Showers!

Rain Barrel

When it rains, it saves. 

Tips for installing a Rain Barrel.


Rain water can be collected and utilized later for various tasks around the house. Think of all the outdoor activities you use water; watering lawns and gardens, washing the car and dog, or cleaning outdoor furniture. The EPA estimates that the average American family uses 320 gallons of water per day, about 30 percent of which is devoted to outdoor uses. You can save money towards your water bill and stormwater fee by installing a rain barrel and collecting rain water. 

Here's How to Build Your Own Rain Barrel:


Step 1: Install the faucet: Drill a ¾” hole a few inches above the bottom of the barrel. Screw a ¾” brass faucet/hose bib into the barrel and secure it with ¾” nuts or washers. Seal the opening with silicone waterproof caulk.

Step 2: Make an opening for the downspout diverter: Cut a hole in the lid of the barrel, a little larger than the size of the diverter. Cut a piece of fiberglass window screen to cover the top of the barrel and secure it in place with plastic strapping or with the barrel lid. The screen will keep out debris and mosquitoes.

Step 3: Position the barrel: Place the barrel on a sturdy stand or cinder block base, elevated for easy access to the faucet and to increase gravity flow. Be sure it is located for convenient use on flower beds.

Step 4: Install a downspout flow diverter: Cut an 8” to 12” section of the downspout just above the level of the diverter. Attach the diverter to the upper portion of the downspout and to the top opening of the barrel. Attach the overflow spout of the diverter to the lower portion of the downspout. Make sure the bottom portion of the downspout empties the overflow away from the building foundation and paved areas. 

Check out these helpful websites for additional information on rain barrels:

City of Roanoke Solid Waste Management
Clean and Green

Be park of the solution, not the pollution. Together, we can create a Clean Water Legacy!
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