Storm Drain Stenciling

A popular method for getting the message out about our effect on our lakes and streams and for getting students and volunteers involved is the labeling of storm drains.  The idea is simple:  let the public know that when they dump something down the drain, it just doesn't disappear nor necessarily goes through some treatment plant.  Often their careless disposal of fertilizers or oil goes directly into a waterbody.

Below are some pictures of storm drain stencils that have been used by groups.


'Drains to River' Stencil

A Stencil from the US EPA's 
Storm Drain Stenciling Project Guidelines


North Carolina Storm Drain Stenciling Project


South Carolina "Paint The Drain" Campaign

The City of Austin storm drain marking program is a hands-on project for volunteers who are interested in educating the public about pollution prevention. The markers with the message...


displayed are placed on storm drain inlet filters to remind us that rainfall runoff can wash soil, yard waste, fertilizer, motor oil, and other contaminants into our waterways.



Northern Virginia Regional Commission
Four Mile Run Storm Drain Stenciling Program

stenciled drain says dumping pollutes, drains to our streams

Here is a eagle scout project with some great pictures add 
Links thanks to David Ward


Some programs to affix markers rather than use stencils
Hillsborough County, Florida, uses PVC markers rather than stencils.

According to John McGee the markers make the job go a lot faster and allows them to place more specific information on them. The markers eventually fade and/or get ripped up, but they hold their color for a number of years and the ease of use makes them worth it. Generally the County sends out a kit including the markers, enough glue to apply them, and a stack of door hangers designed to let homeowners know what's going on.

Anyone in the County is eligible to receive a kit. The County only asks that they send in a tracking form indicating where and how many markers were applied. They also host a couple of larger stenciling events a year, usually the County supplies the materials and local service organizations provide the volunteers.

The County provides other interesting signs through their program as well. These include No Mowing signs for use around new plants, signs notifying the presence of triploid grass carp, and each of the restoration groups gets a large street sign to identify their pond as part of the program.

For more information, contact John McGee, the Adopt-A-Pond Program Coordinator



Drain Marker




An excellent source of ideas for storm drain messages and the background of why someone should be concerned can be found in the Texas Water Commission's brochure, Storm Drain Stenciling.

You might consider writing a brochure such as this one written by the University of Wisconsin Extension


Or you could make a video such as the one made by


The DRAIN STENCILING VideoClick here for Real Video
with Richard Chamberlin & Mayor Jeremy Harris

Other Publications

Storm Drain Stenciling: The Street-River Connection by Rhonda Hunter in the Volunteer Monitor Fall, 1995,
Vol. 7 No 2

Surfrider Foundation Santa Cruz Chapter's Storm Drain Stenciling 101


Some Commercial Sources
of Templates and Decals
Many of the stencils shown on this site come from Earthwater Stencils ( Their website has lots of free stormwater education support as well. Protect Your Water Supply

das Curb Markers

Storm Drain Marker



ACP International

If you have a website with pictures of storm drain stencils that are different from those illustrated, we would be happy to put pictures or links to your page.  Contact: for details.

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