Education & Outreach

Stormwater Runoff

Diagram of how stormwater runs off a city into the storm drainStormwater runoff is one of the leading causes of water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and around the country. When rain falls on roads, streets, rooftops and sidewalks, it carries harmful pollutants such as fertilizer, pet waste, chemical contaminants and litter into the storm drain. Many residents don’t realize that the stormwater system is not treated. It carries the water, along with all of the pollutants it has picked up, directly to the nearest waterway.

The City of Norfolk’s Environmental Storm Water Management Division offers education programs for our residents, businesses, civic leagues and school children to promote stormwater awareness and teach about the impacts illicit discharges have on our water quality.

Common Pollutants

Many of our daily activities can cause pollutants to enter our waterways where we play, swim and fish.
It is up to all of us to do our part, one drop at a time.
Learn about what you can do to minimize stormwater runoff and make sure Only Rain goes Down the Storm Drain!

General Illicit Discharge Flyer (PDF)
In general, any substance that is not rain water allowed to flow into the stormwater system is known as an illicit discharge. It is unlawful to dispose of, dump, spill or discharge any substance other than stormwater into the stormwater system.

Scoop the Poop - Pet Waste
Clean up after your pet to keep our water safe. Pet waste is a major health concern as it can contains bacteria and other pathogens that can cause human illnesses. It also adds excess nutrients to our local waters causing weed and algae growth that harms fish and other aquatic life.

Yard Waste
Leaves and grass clippings clog storm drains and pipes, which contributes to localized street flooding, and adds excess nutrients to our waterways.

Car Washing
Washing your car outside in your driveway or street can add detergents, nutrients, dirt, metals oil, and other pollutants to the stormwater system which ends up in our streams, rivers, and bay. 

Fertilizer, Pesticides & Herbicides
Excess pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers which have been applied to lawns and gardens may be washed off and carried to our streams, rivers and bay in stormwater runoff.

Be Part of the Pollution Solution!

To report an illicit discharge, you can submit a request through MyNorfolk, call the Norfolk Cares IMPACT Center at 757-664-6510, or email Norfolk Healthy Neighborhoods.

School Programs

children in a classroom watching a stormwater presentationAre you looking for a classroom speaker to reinforce watersheds, water quality, or environmental issues? Storm Water offers Educational Programs designed specifically to correlate with Virginia SOLs while teaching about stormwater, pollution and illicit discharges. All programs are correlated to Virginia SOLs and free to Norfolk Schools.
*In-person school programs are currently unavailable. 
Please check with us for virtual opportunities.

Teacher Resources

Do you know where the water goes when it rains in Hampton Roads? Or the name of the watershed in which you reside? Green Learning is a free educational guide designed to teach about these important concepts and more.

3rd Grade Learning Guide (PDF) | Teacher’s Guide (PDF)

6th Grade Learning Guide (PDF) | Teacher’s Guide

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Poster (PDF)

Restoring Norfolk’s Waterways

Storm Drain Medallion Program

Only Rain Down the Storm Drain!

There are hundreds of storm drains across the City of Norfolk that all lead to our waterways and we need your help in letting everyone know that only rain belongs in the storm drain. This program is open to all ages, not just youth! You can help us mark the storm drains near you. We will provide medallions, adhesive, and maps to record your medallion placement.

This project is a great opportunity to learn about our waterways and the easy steps everyone can take to protect them.

Contact the Storm Water Public Relations Specialist Michelle Williams via email for inquiries about participating in the program.

The round, blue discs, or medallions, that you will attach to the tops of storm drains will help remind and educate other citizens about the importance of preventing pollution from entering our sensitive waterways, and above all, that storm drains are not to be used for dumping.