Storm Drain Marking Program
Prevention is the only solution to non-point pollution and
polluted runoff. Cleanup and enforcement can't cover every
street, driveway and parking lot. The biggest challenges to
preventing non-point source pollution are information and
action. Storm drain marking is a means to educate and promote
voluntary action for pollution prevention.
EPA's inventory found urban runoff discharges from storm
sewers to be a major source of water quality impairment
nationwide. The new EPA Clean Water Act Phase II storm water
non-point rule for urban areas recommends storm drain marking,
Public Education and Outreach, and Public
Participation/Involvement. EPA also suggests best management
practices for storm drain marking and describes benefits and
effectiveness of storm drain marking.
Easley Boy Scout Troop 37 participating in the Storm
Drain Marking Program.
Those interested in participating in
Easley's Storm Drain Marking Program can download the forms
"Storm drain marking projects offer an
excellent opportunity to educate the public about the
link between the storm drain system and [the] water
quality. In addition to the labeled storm drains,
media coverage of the program or marking event can
increase public awareness of storm water issues.
Volunteer groups can provide additional benefits by
picking up trash near the marked storm drains and by
noting where maintenance is needed. Additionally,
marking projects can provide a lead-in to volunteer
monitoring [or restoration] projects and increase
community participation in a variety of other storm
A storm drain marking program is generally
effective, inexpensive, and easy to implement."
-- EPA NPDES webpage
According to a recent national Roper survey, many people
still mistakenly believe that industry is the greatest source
of water pollution. Everyone values clean water, yet many
people don't understand the threats from non-point pollution
and stormwater runoff. Nor do they see their contribution to
the problem or solution. Stenciling can help.
Stenciling next to storm drains alerts others to the fate
of runoff water and the pollution carried with it from lawns
and streets. The marked message is highly visible. A Florida
study showed marking is cost effective and lasts longer than
curb-marker images that soon separate from pavement or are
easily vandalized by collectors. And when it's time to refresh
the mark, the ongoing community involvement activity reaches a
whole new set of volunteers and yields another opportunity for
media attention to spread the message of pollution prevention.
Studies in Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington have shown
marking works to raise awareness of pollution and stormwater
runoff destinations. Over 75% of people who had seen the
marked drains knew where their water went, compared to about a
third of those who had not seen a marked drain. People who
have seen marked drains appear to be willing to change some
behaviors once they understand their effects.
For example, in Oregon a wetland debris problem was solved
after a student storm drain marking program in upland
neighborhoods stopped trash coming out a culvert that had been
identified as a serious source of litter to Jackson Bottoms
Storm drain marks make a powerful impression. In Wisconsin,
surveys showed that even residents in unmarked neighborhoods
recognized the mark message and realized their stormwater
drained to their lake. They had apparently seen the mark
elsewhere locally and it made a lasting impression.
(Therefore, consider marking public places like shopping mall
parking lots and other places people frequent. Auto parts
store parking lots are also a good idea to inform