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Storm Drain Marking Project

Storm Drain Marking Project

What can you do to protect our local streams, lakes and the Chesapeake Bay?

The storm drain marking project is an outreach campaign to improve the water quality of Reston’s streams and lakes by alerting people that storm water entering the drains does not go to a waste treatment plant but instead empties directly into our streams. The markers are just one way to prevent trash and pollution from entering Reston’s streams and lakes.




 Storm drains are designed to prevent flooding of roads and neighborhoods by carrying rain and snow melt away from streets and sidewalks. Unlike water from taps and tub, water flowing into storm drains is not treated. Trash, pet waste, motor oil, paint and other materials dumped or washed into storm drains pollute our lakes, Difficult Run (the stream that receives most of the water from Reston) and ultimately the Chesapeake Bay. Markers on each storm drain remind us all to keep storm drains and our streams clean.

Opportunities to Volunteer

Opportunities to volunteer are available at any time just by contacting Reston’s Watershed Manager.

Who is funding this project?

The markers are currently funded by the Fairfax County Department of Public Works and Environmental Service, and co-sponsored by the Northern VA Soil and Water Conservation District. They have generously donated the markers used throughout the county.

There are roughly 4000 drains in Reston. The goal is to mark each one. In 2006, 785 markers were applied by two Eagle Scouts, Girl Scout groups, Counselor in Training campers and other cluster volunteers.

Reston Association has received a permit from the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to accomplish the Storm Drain Marking project on all VDOT maintained drains. We also encourage property management companies and clusters that are responsible for privately maintained drains to participate in the project.

Why are we participating in the project really?

RA has had to call the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue office twice to report hazardous and illegal dumping. Someone had dumped into a storm drain, which led under Sunrise Valley Drive directly into Lake Thoreau. The dumping resulted in a white plume coming into the lake and coating the bottom. We were concerned about what was being dumped and the effect it might have on the fish. Numerous times we have caught uninformed painters looking for a quick place to dump excess paint. Folks changing their car oil and dumping it down the drain is unfortunately, still common. In addition, we are surprised at the pollution entering our streams when we have our annual stream clean-ups. For example, we have found in our streams bagged pet droppings, leaves and brush from private property, and other trash that belongs in a trash can. All of this garbage ends up in our streams and is carried during a rainstorm to our lakes.

We encourage everyone to take part in the Storm Drain Marking Project to help protect the water quality of Reston’s streams and lakes.


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