Education & Outreach

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

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.

Illicit Discharge

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.
Illicit Discharge Flyer

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. 

Learn about what you can do to minimize stormwater runoff and make sure 
Only Rain Goes Down the Storm Drain!

a person picking up their dog's poopPet Waste - Scoop the Poop
Pet waste can contain bacteria and other pathogens that cause human illnesses. It also adds excess nutrients to our local waters causing weed and algae growth that harms fish and other aquatic life.

grass and leaves in the curblineYard Waste
Leaves and grass clippings add excess nutrients to our waterways, and can also clog storm drains and pipes, which contributes to localized flooding.

pesticides being sprayed on garden flowers and fertilizer being applied to a lawnFertilizer, Pesticides & Herbicides
Excess pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers applied to lawns and gardens may end up as stormwater runoff.

soap suds on a car in the drivewayCar Washing
Washing your car outside in your driveway or street can add detergents, nutrients, dirt, metals oil, and other pollutants to the stormwater system.

a pool being drainedPool Discharge
Pool water may contain a variety of biocides, algaecides, and other chemicals. 

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

Are 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.

children in a classroom watching a stormwater presentation

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 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.