The Playbook

If your community is experiencing water pollution, you are not alone and you can find assistance to address these problems. 

Where to find help & report pollution


Local Waterkeepers are great resources for reporting pollution, investigating pollution issues, monitoring waterways, and working with local communities to figure out a way to address and fix water pollution problems. Waterkeepers are great resources on public participation opportunities and access to information about pollution sources and permits. To find Waterkeepers in the Chesapeake and coastal bays region, visit Waterkeepers Chesapeake’s website. To find Waterkeepers around the nation (and the world), visit Waterkeeper Alliance’s website. If you don’t have a Waterkeeper in your area, search out local Sierra Club chapters and other watershed groups for assistance, and visit River Network’s Who Protects Water? map.

Legal Clinics & Technical Assistance

If you don’t have a nonprofit legal resource in your area, seek out environmental and other types of law clinics at universities.

Researching pollution permits

Use EPA’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online (ECHO) website to search for facilities in your community to assess their compliance with environmental regulations. State water quality agencies may also provide online access to existing pollution permits, such as Maryland Department of the Environment’s Wastewater Permits Interactive Search Portal.

Reporting pollution

All Waterkeepers have pollution reporting hotlines (phone numbers, online forms, etc). You can report pollution from your phone with a number of apps. Download the Water Reporter and/or the Swim Guide and send in reports to your local Waterkeepers while you are out on your favorite waterway. The MyCoast app is used to document coastal and beach issues.

Public agencies on the local and state levels have ways for people to report pollution. Search for resources like this one in Fairfax County, VA, and Maryland’s report a pollution emergency.