The County’s Environmental Division promotes and supports the placement of storm drain markers on stormwater infrastructure inlets. These markers can help residents and visitors remember that illicit discharges to the storm sewer system flow directly to the county’s waterways. If your community is interested in participating the storm drain marking program please contact the County’s Environmental Division at (540) 658-8830.

Guidelines for starting a storm drain marking program in Stafford County:

Contact the County’s Environmental Division at (540) 658-8830 to get started!

Decide on a project location. Do you want to work in your neighborhood or near your school or church? The County can provide you with a site plan for your project location and mark the storm drain system.

Get approval for your project. You will need to request approval for storm drain education and labeling from the homeowners or civic associations in your project area.
Sometimes it can be difficult to find a contact for the neighborhood association. Here are some suggestions you can try:

  • Try asking others who live within the neighborhood. You can also try asking at a nearby library or community center.
  • Some associations have websites with their board's contact information. Try an internet search or the county's List of Neighborhood Associations.

You will also need the permission of any public or private property owners. For example, storm drain labeling at a school must be authorized by the school principal.

If the Virginia Department of Transportation maintains the storm drains you will label, you must also follow VDOT guidelines for your project.

Plan your project.
Use the site plan map provided to plan how you will label the storm drains. Generally, a team of 2-4 people can label approximately 8 storm drains in an hour, depending on the neighborhood and the volunteers. How many volunteers will you need? How long will it take you to complete your project?
Set a project date and a rain date. Temperatures must be above 45 degrees and it should not be wet or raining on the day of your project. Before you finalize your project date and rain date, clear your plan with the County’s Environmental Division to make sure that supplies are available.

Projects may not be completed between November 15 and March 1, as it is too cold for the adhesive to properly cure.

Recruit volunteers and spread the word about your project among your group. For larger projects, think about having multiple shifts, say a morning and an afternoon shift, for your volunteers.
If you are not affiliated with an organization, start your recruiting with your friends, family and neighbors. For more volunteers, consider contacting a community volunteer office, posting the event on mailing lists and at community centers or invite your homeowners' or civic association's environmental committee to participate.

Educate yourself, your volunteers and the community about water pollution prevention. Develop an educational brochure to distribute to each household and/or write a newsletter article that will be circulated within your project area.

Make sure to include the following information in your educational materials:

  • How are the storm drains connected to the local stream, the Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay?
    • Runoff from our roofs, roads and yards enter storm drains and flow through pipes to the nearest stream. That stream is a tributary to another stream or the Rappahannock River or Potomac River. Eventually all of the water from the Rappahannock River and Potomac River flows to the Chesapeake Bay.
  • What are storm drains for?
    • Storm drains help keep our streets from flooding by carrying away stormwater.
  • Provide examples of some potential sources of pollution in your neighborhood, and how they can impact water quality downstream.
    • Pet waste, yard debris, fertilizer, motor oil, sediments, pesticides and trash often get into storm drains and are carried downstream, damaging our local ecosystems and the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Provide information about at least five actions each person can take to benefit water quality.
    1. Scoop the poop. Help keep harmful bacteria out of our streams by disposing of pet waste in the trash can or toilet - it's the law.
    2. Fertilize in the fall, if at all. Reduce or eliminate fertilizer, pesticide, and herbicide use on your lawn. The nitrogen and phosphorus in fertilizers create low-oxygen dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay each year. Pesticides and herbicides can disrupt aquatic ecosystems.
    3. Practice watershed-friendly yard care. Plant native plants, shrubs and trees; get a rain barrel, or install a rain garden to help protect streams.
    4. Prevent and report storm drain dumping. Dispose of household hazardous waste properly and recycle used motor oil at your local service station.
    5. Limit icing of driveways and sidewalks. Always reference the packaging to learn the appropriate amount of salt needed for expected temperatures. Learn more.
    • A statement that your project is approved or supported by the local community association, and Stafford County.
    • When the storm drain labeling will be conducted (date and rain date OR time of year).

Make an appointment to pick up your storm drain markers.

Hit the streets! Distribute educational brochures to each residence in your project area and label every storm drain. Make the health and safety of your crew a priority, and remember, have fun! Be proud of your efforts to keep Stafford County's streams and the Chesapeake Bay clean for us and for wildlife!

Visit the Northern Virginia Clean Water Partners: Only Rain Down the Storm Drain Webpage to learn more about stormwater pollution prevention in the county.