Protecting Henrico’s Waterways

by Jen Cobb, Olivia Hall and Robin Wilder- Engineering & Environmental Services Division, Department of Public Works

Henrico’s Department of Public Works is working hard to protect the County’s waterways, one piece of litter at a time.  Many people do not realize that litter and other pollutants get washed down by precipitation into our streams, degrading water quality and our residents’ quality of life.  The Department of Public Works’ Engineering and Environmental Services Division (EESD) provides education to the public about protecting our waterways, to stay in compliance with the County’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit and to help keep Henrico a desirable place to live, work and play.

One way EESD is working to educate the public is through art.  Last August, EESD hosted a Paint Out Pollution Pilot Project at the Woodman Road Depot.  Paint Out Pollution, a partnership between the James River Association and Art on Wheels, was created to increase awareness of stormwater pollution and celebrate the native plant and animal species that call the James River and its tributaries home.  Several local artists created stencils for Paint Out Pollution. Four inlets, three of which are along Jesse Chavis Drive, were painted by 18 volunteers and stenciled with the educational message, “Your river starts here. Only rain in the drain.” Marking inlets on certain County municipal sites is a requirement of our MS4 permit.  Stenciling is one option that can be used to satisfy this requirement.  A special thanks to Henrico County’s Department of General Services for providing a host location for the project.

In the spirit of Henrico’s new Volunteer Policy, several EESD employees teamed together to clean up an approximately 2,000-foot section of North Run bordering the Woodman Road Government Complex this past March.  There is something about a walk along a stream that seems to make the stresses of life melt away – even when you are carrying a large trash bag.  Fourteen employee participants collected 18 construction-sized bags of trash and several tires.  Much of this trash came from litter on Woodman Road that was washed down to the stream through roadside ditches before it could get collected from the regularly scheduled maintenance crews.  The division is planning a similar event this coming fall for another Henrico waterway in need of cleanup.

For more information on how you can help protect Henrico’s waterways, visit the following sources from our partners: