National Menu of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Stormwater-Public Education
Disclaimer: The BMP examples and references included on these fact sheets are not intended to be comprehensive. Additionally, the list of BMPs is not all-inclusive, and it does not preclude MS4s from using other technically sound practices.
Stormwater runoff is generated from many different land surfaces and is impacted by the behaviors and activities of individuals, households, and the public. These common individual behaviors have the potential to generate stormwater pollution including:
- disposing of trash and recyclables,
- disposing of pet-waste,
- applying lawn-chemicals,
- washing cars,
- changing motor-oil, and
- disposing leftover paint and household chemicals.
Convincing others to change their behaviors and properly dispose of materials can control such pollution. It is important that the public be aware of the significance of their behavior and that their actions can either pollute or protect our waterways.
Phase II MS4s are required to educate their community on the pollution potential of common activities and increase awareness of the direct links between land activities, rainfall-runoff, storm drains, and their local water resources. The education programs must include clear guidance on steps and specific actions to be taken to reduce stormwater pollution-potential.
The benefits of public education efforts cannot be understated.
Key BMPs and Resources
MS4s developing a public education program may want to first create a public outreach strategy. EPA has a number of resources to help MS4s develop this strategy.
- Stormwater Smart Outreach Tools - A collection of communications products for communities that can be used to increase awareness of stormwater effects, promote practices to manage stormwater, and promote investment in stormwater management.
- Getting in Step: A Guide for Conducting Watershed Outreach Campaigns - Provides many of the tools you will need to develop and implement an effective watershed outreach plan.
- Phase II Public Education and Outreach Minimum Control Measure Fact Sheet (pdf)
BMP Fact Sheets
The fact sheets describe the BMPs and generally provide applicability, implementation, and effectiveness information to help municipal stormwater and construction site operators comply with the stormwater Phase II requirements.
Developing Municipal Outreach Programs
Promoting the Stormwater Message
- Classroom Education on Stormwater (pdf)
- Stormwater Outreach for Commercial Businesses (see Developing Outreach Strategies for Residents and Businesses (pdf) )
- Tailoring Outreach Programs to Minority and Disadvantaged Communities and Children (see Creating Inclusive Outreach Programs (pdf) )
- Using the Media (see Developing Outreach Strategies for Residents and Businesses (pdf) )
Stormwater Outreach Materials
- Educational Displays, Pamphlets, Booklets, and Bill Inserts (see Outreach Products and Program Promotion (pdf) )
- Promotional Giveaways (see Outreach Products and Program Promotion (pdf) )
- Outreach Products and Program Promotion (pdf)
- Stormwater Outreach Materials (see EPA's Stormwater Smart Outreach Tools)
Education for Homeowners
- Alternatives to Toxic Substances (see Proper Disposal of General and Hazardous Waste (pdf) )
- Educating Residents on Safely Discharging Chemically Treated Water (pdf)
- Educating the Community about Green Infrastructure (pdf)
- Landscaping and Lawn Care (pdf)
- Pest Control (see Landscaping and Lawn Care (pdf) )
- Pet Waste Management (pdf)
- Proper Disposal of General and Hazardous Waste (pdf)
- Residential Car Washing (see Vehicle Maintenance and Washing (pdf) )
- Litter Management (pdf)
- Vehicle Maintenance and Washing (pdf)
- Water Conservation Practices for Homeowners (see EPA's WaterSense Program)
Education for Businesses
- Automobile Maintenance (see Vehicle Maintenance and Washing (pdf) )
- Pollution Prevention for Businesses (see EPA's Stormwater Smart Outreach Tools)
- Promoting Low Impact Development (see Educating the Community about Green Infrastructure (pdf) )
- After the Storm - Video produced by EPA and The Weather Channel on how polluted runoff threatens watersheds.
- Trash Free Waters website - Resources to educate the public about the impact of trash and ways to prevent marine debris.
- Nonpoint Source Outreach Digital Toolbox - A catalog of over 700+ materials (TV/print/radio/give-a-ways/mascots/ public attitude surveys, evaluations of public response to media campaigns) that can be used in a stormwater public education campaign.
- Stormwater Education Toolkit - Includes thousands of educational products organized by target audience, and type of activity that can impact stormwater pollution.
- Water Spots - Includes over twenty different radio spots created to educate the public on different aspects of stormwater pollution prevention.
- Santa Clara Valley Urban Runoff Pollution Prevention Program Watershed Watch Education Site - Includes numerous downloadable materials and kits.
- Think Blue Program - The City of San Diego, CA created an award-winning multi media campaign on preventing polluted runoff.
- National Extension Water Outreach Education - Information on improving outreach efforts using "Best Education Practices."