Richmond VA > Public Utilities > Stormwater Outreach and Education

Last Updated: 2019-03-22

The City's Public Education and Outreach program goes out and educates civic groups and Richmond Public Schools on the benefits of keeping stormwater clean. Civic groups and community meetings benefit from hearing how each citizen can help the city control stormwater runoff and use management practices to prevent pollution from entering our streams and rivers.

How Does Stormwater Affect Me?

Stormwater is the portion of rainfall that does not soak into the ground (infiltrate) and runs off surfaces such as driveways, yards, and parking lots into the storm sewer system and ultimately into the James River. Stormwater does not get treated before it enters the James River. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says Nonpoint Source Pollution (NPS) is the nation's largest water quality problem. NPS is the result of stormwater that runs over land and picks up pollutants that are deposited in our streams and rivers. The pollutants can include: trash, waste oil, household chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, pet waste, septic tank overflows, and sediment. NPS pollutants can cause unsafe drinking water or swimming water, fish kills, and other environmental and human health problems.

Clogged catch basins full of trash and debris can attract rats and cockroaches, create odors, and become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Clogged catch basins can also cause local flooding, which can damage property.

How Can I Help?

  • Pick Up the Poop – Don't Pollute. Pick up pet waste and throw it in the trash. Always carry a plastic bag with you when you walk your dog.
  • Only Rain in the Drain. Do not dispose of trash, leaves, debris or toxic substances down storm drains.
  • Install a Barrel – Save the Bay. Install a rain barrel at your home and collect water to use for your graden.
  • Utilize curbside recycling in your neighborhood.
  • Do not over fertilize your lawn. Have a soil test before you apply fertilizer and follow the instructions.
  • Wash your car on the grass, not a hard surface. Take your car to the carwash where they recycle the water.
  • Keep our sewers “FOG-FREE." FOG stands for fats, oils and grease. Avoid putting FOG down the drain where it builds up and blocks the pipes.
  • Do not flush wash waters or wastewaters into the storm drain. Industries that discharge wastewaters are required to apply for an Industrial Pre-treatment Permit from the Department of Public Utilities. Information on wastewater treatment is available here on DPU's Website.

Current Outreach Projects

Drain Art Program

The Drain Art Program uses art to promote education about pollution in the storm drain and how it affects the river. The program and more information is hosted at

Stream Cleanups

Stream restoration is the repair of waterways damaged by erosion. Through this process, we can bring cleaner water and better-stabilized river banks to Richmond, while also improving the habitat of aquatic life and nearby wildlife.

Drain Marking Program

The sewer system in the city is intricate and complex. Marking drain inlets will help to educate citizens just where the water (and the pollution) goes once it reaches one of Richmond's many drain inlets. The event is a great way to add an additional educational piece to neighborhood cleanup events. Drain markings can be done in partnership with schools: k-12, higher education, environmental outreach groups, and community organizations.

Richmond Public Schools

The Stormwater Utility's educational outreach program seeks to educate students about stormwater, conservation, and protecting our local environment.

Pet Waste Campaign

Pet waste is a large contributor to the high bacteria count found in many Richmond streams. Pet owners need to be aware that pet waste is not fertilizer and that runoff impacts the heatlh of our streams. The purpose of the "Pick Up the Poop" campaign is to help bring awareness to the many pet owners in the city.

Rain Barrel Program

Rain barrels are a great way to collect and store runoff water from roofs for future use. Water that would otherwise end up going down a storm drain can be used for washing cars or watering plants, saving many gallons of water over time. Plus, rain barrels are a great way for homeowners to beautify their property and reduce their stormwater fees.


Water Conservation

Public Service Announcements

RVA Impact Map displays projects (i.e. gas, water, paving, etc.), events (i.e. parades, races, block parties, etc.) and right of way impacts (i.e. detours, partial and full lane closures, barricades, parking restrictions, etc.) as an interactive map for informational and navigational purposes. Data displayed is refreshed as changes are made.

Contact Information:

Public Utilities
City of Richmond
900 E. Broad St.,
Room 115
Richmond, VA
23219 USA
Map It
Phone: (804)646-4646
Interested in learning about how our award winning water is treated and transported to your home or how the water that leaves your home is treated and placed back into the James River? Request a tour of our Water Treatment Plant or Wastewater Treatment Plant. Click here to fill out the form.

This is a print version of the webpage. The navigation of the site has been removed through the print css. If you require a printout of the page as it looks in your browser, please use screen capture.