Storm Drain ART

Art brings valued connection between the beauty of clean water.

Drains to River, Don't Dump!



Many people mistakenly believe storm drain inlets empty to water treatment facilities, so they pour chemicals or sweep debris directly into storm drains. This dumping greatly increases the level of pollutants and contribute substantially to a decline in water quality.

More communities are working to reduce pollution by labeling storm drain inlets with messages warning citizens not to dump polluting materials. These storm drain marking projects usually are conducted in cooperation with local authorities. The stenciled messages–usually a simple phrase like “No Dumping! Protect Our Water”–remind would-be dumpers and passersby that the storm drains connect to local waterbodies and that dumping pollutes those waters.

Nonpoint vs Point source pollution

Pollutants that drain into the river from storm drains are labeled "nonpoint source" or NPS pollution. Many products and materials we use in daily life become nonpoint source (NPS) pollutants when they reach a body of water. NPS pollutants can be chemicals and automotive products , like pesticides and fertilizers, gasoline, motor oil, antifreeze and road and sidewalk salt or common household items like paint and solvents. They can even be natural materials like soil, animal wastes, grass clippings and fallen leaves.

Sometimes NPS pollutants wash directly into waterbodies. Construction activity, for example, can send soil and debris directly into nearby creeks and streams. Agricultural activities also may generate NPS pollutants, when fertilizers, pesticides, livestock wastes and eroded soil are allowed to wash directly into nearby waterbodies.

In urban areas the most common route for NPS pollutants is the network of storm drains that carry excess rain water away from streets and directly into waterways. The excess rain water brings NPS pollutants from lawns and streets into the storm drains, or they can be dumped deliberately by people who are careless about the environment or who mistakenly think the storm drains flow to a water treatment plant.

This is examples of Storm Drain Art program of Tanana Valley Watershed Association in Fairbanks, Alaska. To learn more about there successful Storm Drain Art Program and visit.