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Storm Drain Stencil Project Complete


Date: May 3, 2004
Contact: Beth Davis, Environmental Education Coordinator

Phone: (757) 253-6859

Fax: 253-6850



(James City County) In celebration of Earth Day, students from the Sharpe Community Partnership Program, which was developed by the College of William and Mary to link classroom knowledge with local, year-long service projects, completed a storm drain inlet stenciling demonstration project in the Powhatan Creek Watershed. As part of a pilot program for James City County's PRIDE - Protecting Resources in Delicate Environments, which is the County's watershed education program, the Sharpe Environmental Science Program focused on mapping storm drains and drainage systems at the neighborhood level, using global positioning equipment and GIS software to compare runoff systems in various communities (ditches along the side of the roads, underground pipes, retention ponds, etc.) so that the County and often the local neighborhoods have a better understanding of how stormwater runoff is being handled locally.


On Saturdays, April 17 and 24, students completed the following neighborhoods: Longhill Station, Mulberry Place, Ewell Hall, and the Hamlet by labeling each storm drain inlet as an input into the Chesapeake Bay watershed with "Don't Dump - Chesapeake Bay Drainage". Students also distributed pamphlets to local residents to raise community awareness and sensitivity about the local causes of water quality impairment.


The goal of the stencil project is to educate the public about the importance of the storm drain systems and each individual's impact on the environment, specifically the problems of stormwater runoff, erosion, and pollutants. During a rainstorm, rainwater that is not absorbed into the ground runs off of surfaces such as concrete, roads, and roofs which is often directed into the storm drain system in order to prevent erosion that may otherwise be caused by the fast-moving flow. However, the water passing through storm drains enters our rivers, lakes, and streams without being treated. Chemicals such as motor oil and pesticides which are poured into storm drains can have drastic effects on water quality and wildlife downstream. In many cases, retention ponds have been filled in or never built, storm drains consist of little more than front-yard ditches, and the sediment and pollutants carried away during a storm are transported directly to our local streams and ultimately to the Chesapeake Bay. For more information about watersheds and PRIDE, visit or call (757) 253-6859.


William and Mary Sharpe Community Partnership Program students.
Sharpe students spraying stencil on storm drain.
Storm drain with "Don't Dump - Chesapeake Bay Drainage" stencil.
Sharpe students spraying stencil with white spray paint.


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