Public Education and Involvement

Why is Public Participation and Involvement important in Portland?

The City of Portland believes that the public can provide valuable input and assistance to our MS4 municipal stormwater management program, and we want to provide the public with expanding opportunities to play an active role in both the development and implementation of our local stormwater program. An active and involved community is crucial to the success of a stormwater management program because it allows for:

  • Broader Public Support
  • Shorter Implementation Schedules
  • A Broader Base of Expertise and Economic Benefits
  • A Conduit to Other Programs
  • Volunteer Opportunities

The city is establishing foundational opportunities for public involvement.  With the exceptional leadership within our city, we hope to see citizens taking the initiative to work with our Stormwater Coordinator to increase the events and opportunities that we offer in our great city.

Portland residents have the most to offer and the most to gain from improved Stormwater practices in our area. Each of us in Portland can take simple steps to reduce pollution of our waterways and storm drain system.  First, it’s important to remember that some of our day-to-day activities have the potential to negatively impact OUR water quality. Leaking automotive fluids, leaves and grass clippings from our yards, pet waste left on the ground and cigarette butts tossed outside are just a few examples of typical pollution we need to pay attention to and avoid.

When it rains, or water runs off properties, it can pick up pollutants and other debris that endanger our local waterways. Storm drains are not connected to a treatment system; so everything that flows into a street or yard drain goes directly to the nearest water body, ultimately affecting the water we enter or put into our bodies.

Residents: How You Can Help

Step One: By visiting this site you’ve already taken the first step toward helping improve the water quality in our streams and aquifers. You’ve been given some important information about how simple changes at home can protect the environment.

Step Two: “Be a Clean Water Leader” and share your knowledge with friends, neighbors and family. Take the initiative and help us establish new ways to involve our public with various events and volunteer opportunities.  We need every one to take action to reduce the amount of pollution generated in our community.  Included below are links to brochures and other information perfect for sharing the importance of improved Stormwater practices.

Step Three: Adopt the clean water habits outlined in our brochures, fact sheets, and Public Service Announcements. Remember, each of us has a role to play in preventing pollution of our streams, creeks, rivers and aquifers.

Step Four: Step up when you see the potential for storm water pollution. We encourage everyone to report pollution of storm drains and our recreational waters. In the City of Portland call (615) 325-6776. For Stormwater pollution concerns outside the area of Portland, call 1-888-891-8332 to make a report to TDEC.

Businesses: How You Can Help

Parking Lots
  • Pick up trash and debris.

  • Check for eroded areas that need to be stabilized.

Landscaped Areas

  • Use the correct amount of pesticides or fertilizers.

  • Properly dispose of yard waste.

Your Business Vehicles

  • Use drip pans when changing oil and recycling used oil.

  • Keep vehicles properly maintained to avoid drips/leaks.

  • Inspect for leaks, malfunctions, and staining on or around vehicles and equipment.

  • Properly dispose oil, antifreeze and batteries.

  • Do not leave full drip pans or other open containers of used liquids sitting around.

  • Wash vehicles in an area that drains to a sanitary sewer or other treatment system.

  • Cover fueling areas if possible to reduce exposure to rainfall.

  • Sweep or use other dry methods rather than hose down fuel areas for cleaning.

  • Post signs warning against “topping off.”

Managing Garbage

  • Keep trash dumpster lids closed.

  • Post signs on dumpsters that prohibit improper disposal of liquid, hazardous waste, and recyclable materials such as batteries, aerosol cans, and tires.

  • Pick up dropped trash and sweep dumpster areas frequently.

  • Do not put any wastes in storm drains or municipal sewers.

  • If your dumpster leaks, get it fixed or get a new one.

Storing Chemicals

  • Ensure all containers are in good condition and properly stored, labeled, and closed.

  • Use precautions to avoid spills and clean them up promptly if they do happen.

  • Maintain an inventory of materials – know what you have in the shop or yard.

  • Label and track recycling of waste materials.

  • Keep rags and absorbents on hand to clean up spills. Clean up without water if possible.

  • Sweep or dry mop frequently and whenever possible, especially outside.