woodland stream

 

Storm Drain Stenciling Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I get stencils to use for a stenciling project in my local area?

What type of paint is best to use for storm drain stenciling projects?

Do the stenciling paint cans require special nozzles to be used?

Where can I obtain inverted tip traffic zone marking paint?

How many drains can be stenciled with one can of spray paint?

How many drains can be stenciled before a stencil no longer works very well?

Where can I obtain safety vests, or other items for doing a storm drain stenciling project?

To how many houses should our group deliver informational door hanger cards?

When should our group distribute door hanger cards about the storm drain stenciling project?

Are there other informational materials available in addition to door hanger cards about storm drain stenciling?

Is it OK to stencil storm drains on a windy day?

What is the best way to use the spray paint?

What are the impacts of storm drain stenciling?


 

Where can I get stencils to use for a stenciling project in my local area?
Many basins and counties in Wisconsin have people who act as local stencil distributors for the Water Action Volunteers program. Check the listing for local stencil contacts on the web site to see if there is a local distributor in your area. If there is not, use the order form to place your order.

What type of paint is best to use for storm drain stenciling projects?
We recommend using inverted tip latex traffic zone marking paint or striping paint (designed especially for parking lots and pavement marking). Water-based paints don’t tend to last as long once paint is on the street, while the inverted tip-style paint allows volunteers to paint the street surface with ease. Ordinary aerosol spray paints don’t work well when painting street surfaces (the angle is wrong for the paint to leave the can) and roll-on or ‘brush’-painting tends to be burdensome as they dry or clump while stencils are being painted.

Do the stenciling paint cans require special nozzles to be used?
There are some types of paints that do require a special nozzle be used to paint downwards (at the street). However, you should be able to find 'finger-friendly' paint cans that are designed to be used nozzle down. Watershed Education Resource Centers (that often loan paints, dustpans and brushes along with stencils) use such paints as Sherwin Williams Sherliner, which is a striping paint designed to be used nozzle down.

Where can I obtain inverted tip traffic zone marking paint?
Your local stencil distributor might have paint that you can use for your project. Most of the Watershed Education Resource Centers in the state are also stencil distributors and these centers often have such supplies as paints, safety vests, dustpans and brushes, and cones. If your local stencil distributor does not have paints for you to use, you can usually find this type of paint at your local hardware store or where paints are sold (at most larger chain stores).

How many drains can be stenciled with one can of spray paint?
The number of drains that can be stenciled with a can of spray paint depends on the group that is stenciling. Generally, you can expect to be able to stencil at least 10 drains with a single can of spray paint, but with younger volunteers, sometimes the painting gets to be so much fun that only 5 to 8 drains can be stenciled per can of paint.

How many drains can be stenciled before a stencil no longer works very well?
You can expect stencils to be useable for stenciling at least 25 storm drains. The stencil manufacturer recommends letting the paint dry on stencils and scraping it off with a dull paint scraper. You may also be able to clean the stencil with paint thinner to lengthen its use.

Where can I obtain safety vests, or other items for doing a storm drain stenciling project?
Your local stencil distributor or Watershed Education Resource Center (W.E.R.C) might have other supplies for completing a stenciling project in addition to stencils and door hanger cards.

A number of groups have also made arrangements to borrow such items as safety vests and cones from local municipality or highway/public works departments in lieu of or to augment supplies from the local contact/WERC. If items are still needed, most can be obtained from local stores, or through internet or educational/scientific supply companies.

To how many houses should our group deliver informational door hanger cards?
There is not a set number of houses to which door hanger cards should be distributed, since housing densities vary a lot from place to place. Generally, groups will distribute door hanger cards that describe the storm drain stenciling project and its importance to homes in the locale of drains that will be stenciled. Most groups target stenciling projects to neighborhoods where there is a lot of foot traffic; The people who walk in the area have easiest access to the storm drains and therefore might be most tempted to empty wastes into a drain, thinking that the wastes will be carried to a treatment plant.

When should our group distribute door hanger cards about the storm drain stenciling project?
Past participants in storm drain stenciling projects have found that hanging informational cards on doors in the neighborhood where drains will be stenciled is most effective 2 to 3 days before the stenciling is done. This allows residents of the neighborhood to be made aware that there will be a number of individuals in the neighborhood with spray paint (and for a good reason) and helps educate everyone about the importance of the service project that will be completed.

Are there other informational materials available in addition to door hanger cards about storm drain stenciling?
Yes. The University of Wisconsin-Extension Publications Department has a number of publications that are available free to Wisconsin residents. These fact sheets provide information about such topics as pet waste and water quality, yard care and the environment, and erosion control for homebuilders. For a complete listing of publications, visit the UWEX Publications Web page.

Is it OK to stencil storm drains on a windy day?
Wind might make your storm drain stenciling project especially challenging. A tip to help prevent paint from getting onto nearby cars or other private property is to carry a large, flattened cardboard box along with you to use as a screen around/behind the area of the street that is being painted.

What is the best way to use the spray paint?
Since your project will show up on the street for several years to come, make sure you position the stencils carefully. Other groups have found that the best way to avoid over-spray is to spray the paint in even sweeps about 5 inches away from the stencil. Two to three light coats of paint work better than one. It’s also a good idea to tape the stencil to the street to help keep it in place while painting it.

What are the impacts of storm drain stenciling?
In 1999 a study was done through the Water Action Volunteers Program to assess the impacts of conducting storm drain stenciling projects. A report with results of the study is available as a 1.8 MB pdf file. view study results>>

 

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