Stormwater Information

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What is Stormwater?

A major contributor to contamination of our waterways is polluted surface water runoff that results from a rain or snow storm. This water is generally referred to as storm water runoff. Pollution from a variety of sources degrades storm water runoff as it enters the city’s streams making them unsafe for drinking, fishing, swimming, and other activities. Storm water flows over land into ditches, streams or storm sewers all of which eventually reach Accotink Creek and then out to the Chesapeake Bay. Storm water can pick up oils, litter, sediments, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and pathogens as its travels across roads, buildings, lawns, and parking lots. These pollutants enter the city’s streams and creeks where they can have very harmful effects on the water quality of the city’s streams and the streams downstream of the city. 

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The City of Fairfax is dedicated to educating the public about the harmful impacts of polluted storm water runoff so that the citizens can become partners with the city to restore and protect our streams. Storm water runoff is produced every time rain or snow is not absorbed directly into the soil. When land is paved the storm water can no longer infiltrate into the ground where it can be naturally filtered by the earth’s soil. Based on area studies, it is known that a significant amount of water pollution going into the Chesapeake Bay is a result of storm water discharges that are collectively called "nonpoint" sources.

There are several ways citizens can help protect our streams from home. To see how you can help, please visit the Protecting our Water Sources area of our website for detailed information on:

  “Only Rain Down the Drain”
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"’Only rain down the storm drain,’ That's the motto of the Northern Virginia Clean Water Partners. Our goal -- cleaner streams for our residents and a healthier Chesapeake Bay for all.” The Northern Virginia Clean Water Partners (NVCWP) represent 11 Northern Virginia local governments, two independent water and sanitary sewer authorities, and local businesses that care about the quality of our waterways and the region’s quality of life. Polluted stormwater runoff is the number one cause of poor quality of river and stream water in Northern Virginia that also serves as the sources of our drinking water. Their goal is to work together to keep local residents healthy and safe by reducing the amount of pollution that reaches local creeks and rivers. Please visit the website, for more information.

Additional Resources:
Environmental Protection Agency:
Department of Environmental Quality:
Virginia Stormwater BMP Clearinghouse:
Chesapeake Bay Foundation:
Center for Watershed Protection:
Storm Water Managers Resource Center:


Mosquito Issues Relating to SWM Facilities

  • Storm sewers provide breeding grounds for the principle mosquito species that spreads the West Nile virus.
  • Preventing pooling of stagnate water and treating storm sewers with larvacide will assist in the reduction mosquito breeding.
  • It is the owner's responsibility to inspect and treat its own facilities. However, if mosquito larvae are found during a city facility inspection, the City of Fairfax will treat the facility with larvacide.
  • For more information on mosquito issues, contact the Fairfax County Health Department at 703-246-2300.