Storm Drain Stenciling

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Storm Drain Stenciling

Why stencil the message “DUMP NO WASTE – DRAINS TO RIVER” on storm drains? Here are some good reasons:

Protect Local Streams and Rivers – Local Citizens are Now the Largest Polluters!:
Historically sewage treatment plants and other large facilities have been the cause of most water pollution in our area. However, in recent years the DuPage River Coalition has been monitoring local sewage treatment plants, and working with them to improve the quality of the discharge from these facilities. As a result, the largest polluters are now local citizens. Although any one person does not come close to dumping the amount of waste of a large facility, there are millions of citizens in the DuPage River Watershed, and it all adds up! The next level of improving water quality is to increase awareness of local citizens.

To Increase Awareness of Water Drainage Systems:
Most polluters do not even realize they’re polluting. Many people just don’t realize that storm drains funnel water directly to the river–there is no treatment plant in between. Therefore, to dump waste down a storm drain is the same as walking up to the banks of a river and dumping the waste right in. Knowing this, most people would not dump used oil down the drains when changing the oil in their car or sweep grass clippings into the drains.

To Promote a Behavior Change in Local Citizens:
Once people realize the water drainage system, they may begin to think more about some of their habits. For instance, people may never consider the act of purposely dumping oil directly into a river. However, many cars leak oil on driveways that runs down the driveway and into the storm sewer. By not fixing the leak and allowing the oil to go down the storm drain, people cause the same effect as dumping oil in a river.

Common Pollutants:
Antifreeze, household chemicals, garden chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, pet waste

Here’s How You Can Participate:
Storm drain stenciling is a fun way to get a group of friends, scouts, neighbors & co-workers together while spending time outside. You can spend as much or as little time as you have. It’s so simple and flexible. The Conservation Foundation supplies everything you need at no charge to you and all we ask is that you fill out a form to tell us the number of drains stenciled, what you found there and how many friends you got together. Drain maps are available from your community.

To learn more log onto and search Storm Drain Stenciling and you can see how to get started.
Planning a Storm Drain Stenciling Trip (pdf)
Suggested Supplies for Storm Drain Stenciling (pdf)