The storm drain initiative relates to the Muncie Action Plan’s initiative 4 which is a series of actions meant to support the creation of attractive and desirable places in Muncie. Storm drains can help support Thomas Park / Avondale’s (TPA) infrastructure by reducing wear and damage caused by stormwater and stormwater pollution. Aspects of this storm drainage initiative can also contribute to the Muncie Action Plan Initiative 5 action 6 which is an action supporting the implementation of a model of sustainable design around the city. This would apply in TPA if murals were incorporated with storm drains to promote environmentally friendly use of storm drains and awareness of storm drainage’s effect on the environment.


This initiative was created based on feedback from a TPA neighborhood association meeting held February 3rd, 2016.

Storm_Drain_2Figure 1: Labeled Storm Drain and River


Stormwater cannot be easily absorbed in many areas of TPA which leads to high amounts of water run-off and standing water. Stormwater run-off which lacks proper drainage can easily become urban flooding which can have many negative effects on a neighborhoods including the following issues,

  • Property damage and health
    • Urban flooding is often responsible for damage to basements and can cause sewer backups. Wet basements may significantly reduce property values and wet houses can cause respiratory illnesses and other health problems.
  • Infrastructure damage
    • Urban flooding may cause major damage to infrastructure including roads, the city sewer system, power transmission lines, and bridges.
  • Pollution
    • Stormwater runoff often becomes polluted by pesticides, fertilizers, and other contaminants. These contaminants are both a health hazard for humans and an environmental hazard damaging ecosystems.Stormwater_runoff Figure 2: Source: Environmental Protection Agency 2003


General Issues:

The City of Muncie is responsible for storm drains in TPA. There are different departments responsible for different aspects of storm drains. For general issues regarding storm drains contact the Muncie Sanitary District.

Muncie Sanitary District
For general storm water management issues contact the Muncie Sanitary District (MSD) which is located at 300 North High Street.
(765) 747-4896

Specific Issues

For Specific problems contact one of the departments below,

MSD Engineering
Residents may petition the Board of Sanitary Commissioners for improvements to sanitary sewers. Cost sharing occurs on most projects. Contact John Anderson at the following number.
(765) 747-4879

MSD Sewer Maintenance
Call 24/7 regarding back-ups, cave-ins, damaged flap gates, odor, etc.
(765) 747-4852

MSD Engineering
Call to locate piping.
(765) 747-4879

Bureau of Water Quality
Call for information concerning condition of our rivers and streams, industrial waste water and agricultural run-offs.
(765) 747-4896

Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF)
Call with questions regarding waste and storm water sewer flow and control.
(765) 747-4864

General Contact Information

Administration at 300 North High Street
District Administrator – (765) 213-6412
Administration Office – (765) 747-4863
Financial Officer – (765) 741-1668
Stormwater/Recycling Educator – (765) 213-6450
Stormwater Management – (765) 747-4896
Utility Billing – (765) 747-4894
Insurance – (765) 747-4791
Bureau of Water Quality – (765) 747-4896
Engineering – (765) 747-4879
Sewer Maintenance – (765) 747-4852
Water Pollution Control Facility (765) 747-4864

Administration at 5150 Kilgore Avenue
Bureau of Water Quality – (765) 747-4896
Engineering – (765) 747-4879
Sewer Maintenance – (765) 747-4852
Water Pollution Control Facility (765) 747-4864

Offices at 811 East Centennial Avenue
Sanitation Department – (765) 747-4865

Additional Issues

Muncie Sanitary District Billing Issues
Billing Issues should be directed to the Muncie Sanitary District Billing Office at the following number
(765) 747-4879

Pollution should be reported to the Muncie Sanitary District at 765-747-4896. Signs of this include water running into the street, storm drain overflow during dry weather, oil visible on the street, or dirt on the street. If the issue comes from construction contact the construction compliance inspector at the stormwater management department.
(765) 747-4896 x31
5150 W. Kilgore Ave., Bldg. # 8, tcecil@msdeng.com 

Rain Barrels and Rain Barrel Workshops
Stormwater Management will be hosting Rain Barrel workshops throughout the community this spring and summer. A Rain Barrel is a system that collects and stores rainwater that would normally flow into storm drains, streams, and rivers. The collected water can be used to water plants or lawns or for car washing. For classes contact,

Rain Gardens
Rain gardens can absorb and hold rainwater reducing stormwater runoff. This not only reduces wear on infrastructure but also protects rivers lakes and streams from stormwater pollutants while also recharging local aquifers and providing a suitable habitat for birds and many beneficial insects. Property owners in Thomas Park / Avondale may wish to plant rain gardens in stormwater affected areas on their property including near alleyways or other infrastructure easily damaged by storm water. Steps to build a rain garden can be found here or here.

Public Art at Storm Drains
Many communities have created public art at storm drains. This not only provides visual interest to storm drains but may also provide information which discourages pollution and illegal dumping. Public art on storm drains could include messages that the water runs to local water systems like rivers and lakes. Artists or community members can take part in the process but environmentally friendly measures should be taken to ensure that the paint does not become a pollutant. Other areas have used acrylic paint coated with a specialty concrete coating (Seal-Krete Clear Coat) once the mural dried. Murals should be removed immediately when chipping occurs to stop the paint from becoming a pollutant.

Storm_Drain_ArtistFigure 3: Source: UpStream Art


Any member of the community can contribute to this initiative. Continuing storm water issues may best be handled by a committee and a committee would likely be required if storm drain art were to be organized. As urban flooding can cause significant property damage the areas most affected by urban flooding should be prioritized. Information about specific contacts like the Muncie Sanitary District could be made available to residents in an easily accessible location such as the library.

Case studies

UpStream Art

UpStream Art is a storm drain initiative which attempts to use storm drain murals for water quality. This initiative has taken place in Arkansas including the cities and towns of Fayetteville, Springdale, Betonville, Bella Vista, and Rogers as well as local watersheds. This initiative asked local artists to paint murals on storm drains attempting to communicate the function and importance of the drains. UpStream Art noticed that many residents were unaware that stormwater collected in storm drains went directly to local streams, rivers, lakes, and wetlands. Pollutants carried with that water include grease, oil, sediment, litter, anti-freeze, fertilizer, yard clippings, and pet waste. UpStream Art painted murals depicted local wildlife, aquatic animals, local geography, as well as other images. These display where pollution goes and what it affects allowing more understanding of the importance of storm drains. Murals either incorporated or had nearby wording like “Drains to the Creek” furthering the message.

Artists used acrylic paint which were coated with a specialty concrete coating (Seal-Krete Clear Coat) once they dried. This should maintain the artwork for three to five years and the murals will be removed as soon as they start to chip to ensure the paint does not enter the storm drain and cause pollution. Artists were paid $400 for their work and these funds were onetime available funds available to the City. Storm drains near areas with the highest foot traffic were chosen for the project. The art was combined with an educational campaign by the University of Arkansas.

UpSteam Art also lists ways to reduce stormwater runoff pollution:

  • Use fertilizers sparingly and sweep driveways and sidewalks after application.
  • Never dump anything down storm drains or in ditches.
  • Vegetate bare spots in your yard and terrace slopes to minimize erosion.
  • Compost yard waste and sweep grass clippings out of street gutters after mowing.
  • Use integrated pest management practices for controlling pests around your home. If using chemicals, use least toxic pesticides and follow label instructions.
  • Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces; consider using rain barrels or installing a rain garden to capture runoff.
  • Take your car to the car wash where the wastewater is taken to a treatment plant instead of washing your car on a driveway or street.
  • Check your car for leaking fluids and recycle your motor oil.
  • Pick up after your pet.
  • Don’t litter! Pick up trash you see on the ground (even if it is not yours) and participate in a creek or watershed clean-up!


Figure 4: Painted storm drain sourced from Storm Drain Reveal

Storm Drain Reveal

Storm Drain Reveal is a project from Springfield, Missouri in which murals were painted on storm drains to raise awareness that water from storm drains goes directly to steams, creeks, and rivers. Local artists were brought in to work on the storm drains and artists met with community members to speak about their art and the importance of storm drains. Pictures of the storm drains were incorporated into showings of the works at local galleries and can also be found online for art appreciate and storm water information.

Source: Storm Drain Reveal 


The following map shows the locations of storm Drains in TPA.


Additional websites of interest

Muncie Sanitary

UpStream Art

Article on UpStream Art

Information on UpStream Art 

Article on UpStream Art 

Rain Gardens How To Manuel

Rain Gardens How To

Fort Wayne Rain Gardens

Rain Barrel Information

Springfield Arts Storm Drain Reveal


Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C.U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington, D.C. “Protecting Water Quality from Urban Runoff.” Document No. EPA 841-F-03-003

UpstreamArt https://nwaupstreamart.com/

Storm Drain Reveal http://www.springfieldarts.org/storm-drain-art-conveys-colorful-water-quality-message