Storm drain design contest

Water that enters storm drains flows directly to local creeks and rivers. The water is not treated, so it is important that water going into these drains is clean. Pollution from roads, parking lots and yards can harm our local waterways. Common pollutants include pesticides, fertilizers, pet waste and motor oil. Even grass clippings and leaves, though natural, cause problems for local creeks when they are directly dumped into local waterways through storm drains.

To promote the Adopt a Storm Drain program and further increase involvement in the protection of local water quality, members of the Citizens' Environmental Academy have partnered with the city to develop a design contest.The goal is to further engage citizens in protecting local waterways while also beautifying out neighborhoods and city roads.

Contest details

Who can enter?

The contest is open to all who live or work in Lexington-Fayette County, including children, adults and organizations (i.e. religious organizations, neighborhood associations, scout troops, clubs, etc.). The contest will have four categories: youth, adult, youth organizations*, and adult organizations*.

*Organizations are limited to 10 individuals. These groups should abide by the social distancing guidelines below.

What do I design?

Entrants will submit a storm drain design that they plan to paint on the concrete pad on the sidewalk-side of storm drains. Designs should reflect the ecology, landscape and/or community in which the drain is located. For example, do you have a landmark or special feature in your community? What do you love about your neighborhood? Through your design, share why your community is special to you and why you want to protect your local waterways.

How will designs be judged?

Designs will be judged by a panel consisting of city officials and community representatives. They will consider the following criteria:

  • How visually engaging and well-executed is the design?
  • To what extent does the design communicate a message with respect to water quality, pollutants or other aspects of lessening our impact on local waterways?
  • To what extent does the design incorporate features highlighting the local waterway, watershed or community/neighborhood feature?

There will be one winner for each category: youth, adult, youth organization and adult organization.

Contest rules

  • Proposed designs will be accepted on a rolling basis.
  • Entrants must list three possible drain design locations with their proposed design.
  • Designs cannot be painted until the design and location are approved by the city. 


Unfortunately, the coronavirus is still prevalent in our community. To reduce your risk and that of others, we ask that you follow public health guidelines when painting your storm drains:

  • Limit groups to 10 people or fewer.
  • Practice social distancing by staying at least 6 feet apart from anyone not in your household.
  • Take turns painting the drain.
  • Wear a cloth mask covering your mouth and nose.
  • Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.

How to participate

Complete the online entry form or submit a scanned form to

Online proposal form

Download printable proposal form


For more information, contact project coordinator Eve Wallingford at or (859) 280-8265.