Public Education & Outreach

One of the leading challenges in providing effective stormwater management throughout the City of Portsmouth is educating the general public on what stormwater management is and why it is necessary. While rainfall is a natural occurrence, rainfall on developed lands can have adverse effects on our environment.

Impervious Surfaces


New development often reshapes land, installs new features and/or increases impervious cover. Impervious surface is defined as any surface that is not readily penetrable by water; this includes:
  • Driveways
  • Parking Lots
  • Roadways
  • Rooftops
  • Sidewalks
  • Other Developed Lands

Prevent & Protect Water From Pollutants


When rainwater travels across an impervious surface it often collects pollutants such as sediment, toxic chemicals from leaky cars, trash and other miscellaneous debris. Additionally, this rainwater gathers pollutants from natural ground coverings such as pet waste, excess fertilizer, and sediment from denuded areas. This polluted stormwater travels to the nearest inlet structure where it is directly discharged, untreated, into nearby receiving channels where excess nutrients and sediment impair our waterways.

With our region under a mandate to restore water quality in the Chesapeake Bay, it is imperative that we take responsibility for our own actions and reduce the impact we have on our environment. View a schematic illustrating steps everyone can take and read our document on to Help Protect Our Waterways (PDF).

Clean the Bay Day

Each year, on the first Saturday of June, Portsmouth residents and employees participate in the annual Clean the Bay Day removing harmful litter and debris from the rivers, streams, and beaches of the Chesapeake Bay watershed. Visit to learn more and register to participate.

Great American Cleanup

The City of Portsmouth is home to a “Keep America Beautiful” affiliate called “Keep Portsmouth Beautiful”. For information regarding participation in the Great American Cleanup campaign, please email [email protected].

Recycling Events

Several recycling events are held in the City each year. A central location is selected where residents may take household hazardous wastes and electronics for recycling, as well as documents for shredding. For information, call 757-393-8663.