Emma Moreman of Williston painted a lilypad scene on a storm drain in the Five Corners last month. The project was part of an educational campaign about stormwater runoff. (Courtesy photo)

The next time you go to Five Corners, look down.

Three local artists, chosen by the Rethink Runoff Stream Team, worked tirelessly to bring storm drains to life by adorning them with murals. Each contains an inspiring and catchy phrase to remind people these drains convey untreated stormwater directly to local streams.

Catch basins along Countryside Drive and other neighborhoods in the village were stenciled.

“The hope is that these messages not only compel people to stop and notice, but encourage reflection on the impact that their everyday life might have on local water quality,” said Holly Kreiner of the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District.

When it rains, stormwater moves quickly over impervious surfaces such as buildings and roads, picking up pollutants including nutrients, sediment, oil, chemicals, road salt and metals as it goes.

According to the Lake Champlain Basin Program’s 2012 State of the Lake report, “developed land can contribute up to four times more phosphorus than agricultural land,” a statistic that demands attention when considering the nutrient pollution impacting Lake Champlain.

Essex artists Elizabeth Fanus and Syd Frolik and Williston artist Emma Moreman painted the murals. Campers from Essex Jct. Recreation and Parks’ CAMPStar program assisted in the project.

Campers from Essex Jct. Recreation and Parks’ CAMPStar program helped stencil signs asking passersby to rethink runoff, which travels from storm drains into the lake. (Courtesy photo)

Elizabeth Fanus of Essex paints a Rorschach-like pattern leading to a storm drain in Five Corners last month. The project aimed to raise awareness about polluting Lake Champlain. (Courtesy photo)