Stencil Storm Drains for Water Quality

Event Date: 
Wednesday, May 1, 2019 - 9:00am to Sunday, June 30, 2019 - 4:00pm
St. Paul
Students help stencil storm drains in 2018

Though anyone is welcome to stencil storm drains, students are often some of the best stencilers. Here a group takes a break from stenciling to snap a photo.

If you're looking for a great service outing that is educational, active, outdoors and provides a significant community benefit, consider storm drain stenciling. Reservations for stenciling outings and presentations, as well as group cleanups, are now being taken for May-July 2019.

What is storm drain stenciling?

Using paint and stencils, volunteers mark storm drains with the message, "“Keep 'em Clean, Drains to River (Lake or Creek)!”" and distribute educational door hangers to neighborhood homes and businesses.

This hands-on outdoor service activity is an ideal opportunity to improve our local water resources —and an excellent fit for groups looking for a fun, outdoor team-building experience with immediate results.

A storm drain stenciling service outing:
• is just 1 1/2-2 hours in length
• can be scheduled according to your needs (and the stenciling coordinator’'s availability)
• can accommodate anywhere from 20 to 200 people (Have fewer than 20? Check out a stenciling kit!)
• is entirely free with all supplies provided

What do volunteers do?

First, the stenciling coordinator provides an educational presentation on how storm drains connect to the river. Unlike household water systems, storm sewers flow directly into our local waters, depositing whatever they pick up along the way — pesticides, motor oil, fertilizer, pet waste — directly to the nearest lake or river. Unfiltered. Untreated. The presentation is brief, engaging and can be tailored to the age and interests of your group.

Next, using spray paint and stencils, volunteers mark storm drains with the message, “"Keep 'em Clean Drains to River!”" Volunteers wear orange safety vests and orange safety cones are placed in the area. (All supplies provided.)

Volunteers also distribute educational door hangers to nearby homes and businesses, making a visual connection between the newly stenciled drains and local water quality, and what they can do in their home and yard to help protect our local waters. 

Volunteers rotate between spray painting and distributing educational materials.

How do I plan an outing?

FMR conducts this program mid-April through mid-October (weather permitting). Depending on how many groups are currently signed up to stencil, and the size of your group, it can take two to eight weeks to coordinate your outing.

To schedule your outing or inquire further about stenciling, please submit a request through our online Group Stenciling, Cleanup Or Presentation Request Form; you will be asked to provide us with some basic information about your group and your preferred dates for an outing. Sophie will return your e-mail within a week.

City of St. Paul Public Works