The Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District seeks volunteer groups to label storm drains in Delaware County. Do you know a scout troop looking for a service-learning project? You can make a difference while getting outside this Spring, by taking on a storm drain labeling project. In the past, these groups have included school students and scout troops, but all volunteers, ages five and up, are welcome. Plan for projects to take place starting in late March, through the summer season.

Storm drain labels are large, bright blue and green stickers that read “Don’t pollute, drains to river.” By placing them on storm drains, you might stop someone from dumping oil or blowing grass into their drain because they didn’t know better. Some people don’t realize that whatever enters a storm drain does not get treated like the waste from our homes, which goes to a sanitary treatment plant. Labels remind residents that their yard waste, pet waste, motor oil, fertilizers, and salt all drain directly to our streams, rivers, lakes, and ponds. The messaging on labels tells residents that their actions can harm wildlife and the freshwater sources that supply our drinking water, as well as the water that we like to fish, canoe, and swim in.

All supplies for the project are provided, including gloves, safety vests, wire brushes, trash bags, adhesive, route maps, and door hangers. The project will consist of one to two hours of walking, clearing off storm drains, and gluing labels. Your group will plan a route using maps we provide. This is a great learning opportunity for young ones to practice map-reading.

Other items to consider:

  • You can choose to make this project longer or shorter, depending on the age and abilities of your group.
  • There is a maximum of 50 labels per group, but no minimum requirement for the number of drains that you label.
  • Group sizes should be limited due to COVID-19.
  • The label adhesive is only effective above 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

To understand the value of the activity, it might be helpful to understand what a watershed is. It is a land area that channels or drains rainfall and snowmelt into a common body of water. Its boundaries are typically natural hills and ridges. Everyone lives in a watershed. Many of us in Delaware County live in the Olentangy River Watershed, or the greater Scioto River Watershed. That is part of the Ohio River Watershed, which is part of the Mississippi River Watershed, which drains to the Gulf of Mexico. Therefore, any pollution in our local streams eventually ends up in the ocean! That’s why storm drain labeling is a small action that can lead to a major impact.

If you want to make an impact and get active while doing so, contact us to begin planning projects for Spring 2021. We can deliver supplies and give instructions, outside, socially distanced, or virtually, to interested groups. At this time we are prioritizing groups that are able to help in Powell and Sunbury. Contact Erin Wolfe at to set up a time for your project, and include your name, number of people in your group, phone number to best reach you, and dates/times that you can volunteer.

girl placing storm drain label