What is Stormwater?
When rain falls or water runs off from sprinklers where do you think the water goes? Some of the water flows over the land surface, heading downhill to the nearest creek or ditch. We call this stormwater runoff. In cities and towns, the water can't soak through the pavement, rooftops, and concrete. This means that there's more stormwater runoff in cities than in forests and fields.
What is a storm drain?
Have you ever seen holes or openings at the curb? Or in the street? Sometimes they have grates over them? These are called storm drains and they are often labeled with "No Dumping Flows to Bay". The storm drain is connected to a pipe which carries the water directly to your local creek, the San Francisco Bay, or Pacific Ocean. There might be one near your house.
Find the watershed you live in. The watershed includes the area you live and play, the storm drain, and your local waterway.
How You Can Prevent Water Pollution
Often we think that water pollution only comes from big oil spills or huge factories. We forget that there are lots of little sources of pollution all around us. Stormwater from cities and towns can become polluted. Oil drips on driveways, fertilizers on lawns, loose dirt in areas with no plants, or dog poop can all be carried by stormwater to a drain and on to a creek or Pacific Ocean.
- Never put something down a storm drain that you think might hurt a fish. Only water belongs in a storm drain.
- Don't litter and pick up any litter you see. Help clean beaches and creeks on California Coastal Cleanup Day with your family and friends.
- Don't water the driveway or sidewalk as the water will wash pollutants into storm drains. Keep your sprinklers on the lawn.
- Ask your parents to fix leaks from your car and recycle used motor oil.
- Avoid using pesticides; instead control bugs naturally or use a less toxic pest control product.
NOAA Waterlife: Where Rivers Meet the Sea Interactive Game (4th-7th Grade)
Make sure that only rain goes down the storm drain. Lead the water droplet though the maze and into the storm drain:
Storm drain maze
Complete this stormwater crossword puzzle by using the words provided:
|Circle these words for pollution prevention:|
Pollution Prevention Word Search
|What's Hazardous in your House? Make a room-by-room list of hazardous products in your home.|
|Help get the used oil to a recycling center:|
Oil Recycling Center Maze
Activity Book Downloads
Other Fun Websites to learn more about Water Pollution
US EPA Polluted Runoff (Nonpoint Source Pollution)
Free Materials - Limit one of any item per child
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your request. Include name, age, and mailing address.
See Program Materials page