Did you know that the water entering storm drains in many urban areas feeds directly into our rivers, streams, lakes and bays?
Storm drains are incredibly effective at quickly removing rainwater from streets, but that’s not all they remove. Garbage, runoff from car washing, lawn fertilizers, pesticides, gasoline and more are also swept up in stormwater—and in some areas, that untreated water drains directly into local waterways.
If your state allows it, stenciling the storm drains in your community can be a great way to raise awareness about where that water is headed and encourage people to keep the gutters free of trash, leaves and other debris!
Check the website of your local Public Works or Department of Natural Resources for information on stenciling the storm drains in your neighborhood. The approval process can take a few weeks, but be patient. In the meantime, you can help by clearing debris and encouraging your neighbors not to dump oil or wash their cars near a storm drain.
- If you’re local, Blue Water Baltimore’s Storm Drain Art Manual has everything you need to know to get started. Once you’ve decided what storm drains you want to stencil, they’ll even help you complete the application!
- Want to borrow a stencil kit for your project? Check with your local Department of Natural Resources. In Maryland, you can rent one.