Where Does Pollution Come From?
Almost every street, lawn, driveway, rooftop and parking lot is connected to a storm drain. When it rains, stormwater flows over these surfaces and mixes with pollutants such as spilled motor oil, pet waste, fertilizers, pesticides, paint, grease and litter. Polluted stormwater runoff flows directly to local waterways, eventually flowing to the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.
Alexandria's Pollution Reduction Efforts
Stormwater runoff can cause erosion and flooding problems. As stormwater drains into local waterways, it can pick up pollutants that negatively affect aquatic life and water quality.
Water Quality in the Chesapeake Bay is federally protected by the Environmental Protection Agency, which established a Total Maximum Daily Load to restore clean water in the bay and regional streams, creeks and rivers. The Total Maximum Daily Load represents the maximum amount of pollutants that can occur in a waterbody while still meeting water quality standards. Learn about Alexandria's strategies to meet the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL).
The City has been proactive in controlling stormwater pollution by implementing structural Best Management Practices (BMPs) to treat stormwater and providing public education and outreach on pollution prevention. Stormwater Quality Best Management Practices (BMPs) are facilities that treat water quality both at the surface and underground.
Take a virtual tour of Alexandria's stormwater Best Management Practices.
The City participates in the Virginia Conservation Assistance Program (VCAP), an urban cost-share program that provides financial incentives and technical assistance to property owners that install Best Management Practices (BMPs) in Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Retrofit and Restoration
The City's primary strategy to address the pollution reduction goals for the Chesapeake Bay is to retrofit existing facilities to maximize water quality benefits and to implement new Best Management Practices to treat stormwater runoff that was previously untreated.
Ben Brenman Pond and Lake Cook were retrofitted with features to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff.
The City is also exploring stream restoration projects in Alexandria to reduce pollution for local waters, the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.
Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Program
The City's MS4 Program includes activities to reduce pollution to local waterways. Visit the MS4 Permit Program page to learn more about the City's program.
Stormwater BMP Virtual Tour
Top 10 Things You Can Do to Protect Local Streams and Rivers
Did you know that only rain should go down the storm drain? Visit the illegal discharge page to learn more about how to identify an illegal discharge and what to do if you see someone dumping in a stream or storm drain.
Pass the pollution prevention message along and let others know how they can make a difference. Visit the What You Can Do page to get more information on how you can help protect local streams and rivers.