From The Editor | February 2, 2016

Award-Winning Videos On Stormwater Best Practices


By Kevin Westerling,

Unlike Hollywood, big-budget projects are hard to come by in public works. So when it comes to stormwater, the community relies on the combined efforts from an ‘ensemble’ cast of characters to help prevent pollution — as seen on StormTV.

Having long taken a back seat to drinking water and wastewater concerns, stormwater has recently drawn serious attention among municipalities. The trending (and welcome) “One Water” approach to water management, which acknowledges the inter-connectedness and importance of streams everywhere, is part of the reason. But a bigger reason is simply that stormwater has become a bigger problem. Old sewer systems and wastewater treatment plants are struggling with volume increases, resulting in floods and pollution. With limited funds available for large infrastructure improvements, the sought-after solution is typically “all hands on deck,” with utilities, businesses, and every citizen asked to pitch in to reduce stormwater impact.

Once the effort extends to those beyond municipal personnel, public outreach becomes an essential component to success. In fact, public education and outreach is a requirement for communities with a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permit. That’s where StormTV comes in.

Video Library Of Best Practices

Brainchild of the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the annual StormTV Project fosters creativity and competition among local governments, utilities, and businesses, while developing a large database of videos beneficial to all. Following nearly 150 submissions in 2015, StormTV’s YouTube playlist has swelled to 364 videos with well over 20,000 views since the competition’s inception in 2012.  Though uniquely executed, the videos were all created with a common goal to inspire, educate, and be freely shared as per the program's design. And while you can find helpful examples and advice throughout the playlist, there are those videos that were recognized in 2015 as the absolute best in four respective categories: public education, training, commercial, and programs and projects.

The winners were announced at WEFTEC 2015 some months ago, but it is awards season in the film industry, so…

The envelope, please.

Public Education Video Winner

“Stormwater Pollution — The Dirty Truth: Home Car Washing,” submitted by Australian Car Wash Association (ACWA)

Summary: “Do it yourself” is typically a noble and responsible approach, but not so when it comes to washing your car. This video show how home car-washing draws pollution from driveways, through storm drains, and into waterways. The solution: commercial car washes with pervious surfaces.

Training Video Winner

“Keep Restaurant Pollution And Profits From Going Down The Stormwater Drain,” submitted by University of North Carolina Institute for the Environment (UNC-IE) and the Town of Chapel Hill, NC

Summary: After receiving numerous reports of restaurants illegally discharging wash water and organic wastes into sewers, Chapel Hill’s Stormwater Management Division produced this video to educate restaurant employees on proper procedures and pollution prevention. The video is now shown in training programs nationwide.

Commercial Video Winner

“Gilardi’s Segment,” submitted by Enginuity, LLC

Summary: “Gilardi” in the title refers to Gilardi’s Italian Restaurant in Springfield, MO, which utilized RainReserve (from Enginuity) to harvest rainwater to grow food for patrons and for donations to local charitable organizations. It also saves on water bills.

Programs and Projects Winner

“Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park,” submitted by Atelier Dreiseitl, a Ramboll-Environ Company

Summary: Water-scarce Singapore has a knack for making water the star of beautiful public spaces — part of its national ‘value of water’ mindset — and Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park serves as a recent example. Atelier Dreiseitl, the firm behind the design and construction, describes a once “utilitarian”’ concrete channel transformed into a naturalized, sinuous river alongside open spaces for recreation.

See the full library of StormTV videos here.