The Northern Virginia Clean Water Partners issued their 2020-2021 report. Included were the results of an online survey of 500 Northern Virginia residents to understand the general awareness of stormwater runoff, determine the effectiveness of the ads, aid in directing the future efforts of the campaign and to reveal any changes in behavior.
- 34 percent of respondents reported they had received information about reducing water pollution in the pasts 12 months. The result is significantly higher than 2018 (24% and 2019 (22%)
- Only 53% would report water pollution if they saw it.
- 65% indicated they were aware their locality has a specific place to drop off household hazardous waste.
- Dog ownership increased significantly (14%). During this time the percent of respondents reporting that they pick up dog waste on walks decreased by 12%.
- 77% of lawn and garden owners fertilize their lawns at least once per year no matter what. Among those who fertilize once a year, 19% fertilize in the Spring and only six percent in the fall.
- In a significant increase over 2020 (6%), eleven percent reported having a rain barrel, while five percent reported having a rain garden and 12% reported having conservation landscapes in their yards.
- Consistent with past years, 71% take their vehicle to a service station for a oil change. 15% report taking used oil to a gas station or hazmat facility for recycling. 10% report storing used motor oil in their garage, placing it in their trash or dumping it down the storm drain, sink or on the ground.
The Northern Virginia Clean Water Partners is composed of a group of local governments, drinking water and sanitation authorities, and businesses that share the common goals to keep Northern Virginia residents healthy and safe by reducing the amount of pollution from stormwater runoff that reaches local creeks and rivers, and empower individuals to take action to reduce pollution. The Northern Virginia Regional Commission coordinates the activities of the partnership.
To meet these goals, the Partners work together to:
- Identify high priority water quality issues for the region.
- Identify the target audience(s) for outreach.
- Educate the region’s residents on simple ways to reduce pollution around their homes.
- Monitor changes in behavior through surveys and other data collection techniques.
- Pilot new cost-effective opportunities for public outreach and education.
Membership is voluntary and each member makes an annual contribution to fund the program. By working together, the partners can leverage their funds to develop and place bilingual educational products with common messages and themes, thereby extending the campaign’s reach.
Only Rain Down the Storm Drain is the motto of the partnership. The 2021 campaign helped to satisfy MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) Phase I and Phase II permit requirements for stormwater education and documenting changes in behavior.
More about the partnership and its activities can be found at www.onlyrain.org. The current report and previous reports can be found at https://www.onlyrain.org/annual-summaries.