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Water Quality Division

Blue Thumb logoBlue Thumb Program - Phase II

Help for Cities

The US Environmental Protection Agency has developed regulations that deal with storm water runoff. Originally, these regulations addressed medium and large cities, but the Phase II regulations concentrate on the smaller communities or those in urbanized areas.

Storm water regulations exist to protect the waters of the United States against pollution. While there are those who simply view the additional rules as "unfunded mandates," citizens are reminded of the joy and benefits that are realized when water bodies are "swimmable" and "fishable."

Waters that are safe for human contact and clean enough to be a home for fish and drinking water for wildlife benefit communities.

The Blue Thumb Water Pollution Education Program can help cities that fall under the Phase II regulations. These cities have responsibilities under the Clean Water Act to educate their citizens about clean water.

Student volunteer stencils a storm drain
Through the Blue Thumb Program, urban residents are helped to understand that chemicals flowing from lawns and streets enter storm drains, and from there pollutants can enter neighborhood streams and ponds.

Blue Thumb offers cities help establishing education and outreach programs. Components of a successful Blue Thumb Program may be:

  • Volunteer monitoring - citizens working together to learn more about their local creeks
  • Storm drain marking - placement of the "No Dumping" message on storm drains
  • Assistance with newsletters and brochures
  • Planning of civic events to educate about and celebrate water
  • Blue Thumb educational tools to borrow for local events

It is not difficult to educate citizens and help them gain understanding about the value of healthy streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands. City staff members who may feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to begin are encouraged to contact the Blue Thumb Program to learn more.

Last Modified on 10/12/2007