An official website of the United States government.

This is not the current EPA website. To navigate to the current EPA website, please go to This website is historical material reflecting the EPA website as it existed on January 19, 2021. This website is no longer updated and links to external websites and some internal pages may not work. More information »

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

National Menu of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Stormwater-Public Education

Disclaimer: The BMP examples and references included on these fact sheets are not intended to be comprehensive. Additionally, the list of BMPs is not all-inclusive, and it does not preclude MS4s from using other technically sound practices.

Stormwater runoff is generated from many different land surfaces and is impacted by the behaviors and activities of individuals, households, and the public. These common individual behaviors have the potential to generate stormwater pollution including:

  • littering,
  • disposing of trash and recyclables,
  • disposing of pet-waste,
  • applying lawn-chemicals,
  • washing cars,
  • changing motor-oil, and
  • disposing leftover paint and household chemicals.

Convincing others to change their behaviors and properly dispose of materials can control such pollution. It is important that the public be aware of the significance of their behavior and that their actions can either pollute or protect our waterways.

Phase II MS4s are required to educate their community on the pollution potential of common activities, and increase awareness of the direct links between land activities, rainfall-runoff, storm drains, and their local water resources. The education programs must include clear guidance on steps and specific actions to be taken to reduce stormwater pollution-potential.

The benefits of public education efforts cannot be understated, especially on topics such as "nonpoint source" or "stormwater" pollution.

Key BMPs and Resources

MS4s developing a public education program should first create a public outreach strategy. An excellent document to help MS4s develop this strategy is EPA's Getting in Step: A Guide for Conducting Watershed Outreach Campaigns.

BMP Fact Sheets

EPA is updating the following fact sheets. You can request a copy or recommend any changes by filling out and submitting the form at the bottom of the NPDES Contact Us webpage.

The fact sheets describe the BMPs and generally provide applicability, implementation, and effectiveness information to help municipal stormwater and construction site operators comply with the stormwater Phase II requirements.

Developing Municipal Outreach Programs

  • Developing an Outreach Strategy

Promoting the Stormwater Message

  • Classroom Education on Stormwater
  • Stormwater Outreach for Commercial Businesses
  • Tailoring Outreach Programs to Minority and Disadvantaged Communities and Children
  • Using the Media

Stormwater Outreach Materials

  • Educational Displays, Pamphlets, Booklets, and Bill Inserts
  • Promotional Giveaways
  • Stormwater Outreach Materials

Education for Homeowners

  • Alternatives to Toxic Substances
  • Chlorinated Water Discharge Options
  • Landscaping and Lawn Care
  • Pest Control
  • Pet Waste Management
  • Proper Disposal of Household Hazardous Wastes
  • Residential Car Washing
  • Trash and Debris Management
  • Water Conservation Practices for Homeowners

Education for Businesses

  • Automobile Maintenance
  • Pollution Prevention for Businesses
  • Promoting Low Impact Development

Top of Page



  • After the Storm - Video produced by EPA and The Weather Channel on how polluted runoff threatens watersheds.
  • Trash Free Waters website  - Resources to educate the public about the impact of trash and ways to prevent marine debris.
  • Nonpoint Source Outreach Digital Toolbox  - A catalog of over 700+ materials (TV/print/radio/give-aways/mascots/ public attitude surveys, evaluations of public response to media campaigns) that can be used in a stormwater public education campaign. 
  • Stormwater Outreach Materials and Reference Documents - Provides outreach materials that municipalities, watershed groups, state, and local governments can customize and use for their own stormwater outreach campaigns.


Top of Page