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Water: Office of Wetlands, Oceans & Watersheds

EPA Water Quality Video Contest Information


Help the U.S. EPA spread the word about water quality and environmental stewardship

We're looking for educational videos that inspire people to help protect our streams, lakes, wetlands, and coasts.

The two winners will each receive $2,500 and their videos will be featured on EPA's Web site.

You can also join our Facebook group to connect with other participants Exit EPA Disclaimer

Contest Information

We need your help to improve the nation's water quality by getting the word out about water pollution. To educate people on behaviors that will result in improved water quality, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is looking for video submissions in the following two categories:

  • a 30 or 60 second video that is usable as a TV public service announcement
  • a 1-3 minute instructional video

The goal of the video contest is to educate the public on different water pollution issues and illustrate ways that target audiences such as homeowners, gardeners, farmers, pet owners, communities and others can improve water quality by changing simple behaviors.

Two winning videos will be chosen (One 30 or 60 second video and one 1 to 3 minute video).  The winners will each receive a $2,500 award, and their videos will be featured on EPA's Web site. Entries must be received by Earth Day, April 22, 2009. The contest winners will be notified in May via e-mail.

We seek videos that convey easy, low-cost steps that can be taken to protect water quality and inspire key audiences (including individuals and communities) to change their behavior to protect this precious natural resource. Examples of possible video topics include educating the public about:

  • Low impact development techniques that residents, communities or businesses can use to help reduce urban runoff such as: rain gardens, bioswales, disconnected downspouts, rain barrels, porous pavements, and rooftop gardens.
  • How wetlands benefit you and your community and how to get people involved in wetland preservation.
  • Marine debris prevention: individual actions that help reduce the number of items (e.g., plastic bags, food containers, and balloons) that enter our waterways, oceans, and coasts and become marine debris.
  • Participating in watershed, stream, and beach cleanups as well as storm drain marking projects that can help reduce marine debris.
  • Nutrient and sediment runoff from agriculture, lawns and golf courses, highways, and suburban areas and actions that people and communities can take to help prevent this runoff.
  • What a watershed is and why should you care?
  • How to get involved in/start/grow a local watershed-based organization.
  • Why it's important for citizen volunteers to monitor water quality conditions.
  • 2009 is being celebrated as the Year of Science; consider submitting an entry expressing science's role in water quality and environmental stewardship

You may wish to review some water quality facts to learn more information about these topics. Here is a one page flyer that you are welcome to post to advertise the contest.

Getting Started — Basic Information

Follow these four steps to enter the EPA Water Quality Video Contest:

Step 1: Get the Details

  • Videos must be submitted in one of two categories: Submissions that do not fall within either of these time categories will not be judged.
    • 30 or 60 seconds suitable for TV (must be exactly 30 or exactly 60 seconds)
    • 1–3 minutes (any length between 1–3 minutes)
  • Videos will be judged by an expert panel on the basis of:
    • Creativity and originality
    • Quality
    • Technical Accuracy
    • Content of Message
  • Keep it clean. No violence, profanity, sex, or direct attacks on individuals or organizations.
  • Your video must not infringe on any third party rights.
  • Videos previously produced for compensation and videos already posted on EPA's Web pages (e.g., www.epa.gov/nps/toolbox/) are not eligible.
  • By submitting a video to this contest, you grant to EPA a royalty-free license to copy, distribute, modify, display and perform publicly and otherwise use, and authorize others to use your video for any educational purpose and in any media.

Watch some examples of existing water quality videos and public service announcements.

Step 2: Make your Video

Your video should meet the following requirements:

Your video must be either 30 or 60 seconds or between 1–3 minutes.

  • You must have a video or photograph release form signed by each person appearing in the video, and his/her guardian if s/he is a minor. If your video is chosen, EPA will need to have copies of these releases. EPA will provide the winner a sample release form.
  • The video should end with text that directs the viewers to our Website for a minimum of three seconds: "www.epa.gov/owow"
  • The two winners must provide copies of the original video files to EPA to receive the $2,500 award.

Videos can be funny or serious, as long as they focus on the contest theme and show steps that can be taken to improve water quality. Here is a great resource on making videos:

Step 3: Post your video to YouTube or send by mail by April 22, 2009

  • Log in to YouTube Exit EPA Disclaimer. If you don't have an account already, it's easy and only takes a few minutes to set one up. The use of YouTube.com to accept contest entries does not imply an endorsement of the site or its parent company by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Users wishing to submit their entries directly may do so.
  • Join the YouTube EPA Water Quality Video Contest group page Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • Post your video by the April 22 deadline. If you have trouble, visit YouTube: Making and Posting a Video Response. Exit EPA Disclaimer
  • Once you've submitted your video for the contest, you will not see your video right away. This is either because it is still processing or is yet to be approved by the group moderator. Please wait at least 3 days for your video to appear before resubmitting.
  • If you prefer not to have your entry displayed on YouTube, you may submit it by sending it on a CD-Rom or DVD via an overnight courier, such as Federal Express or UPS, to the following address:

Rebecca Neary
EPA Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds
EPA West Building
1301 Constitution Avenue, NW
Room 7410 E
Washington, DC 20004
202-566-1162

Still need help or have questions? Contact Rebecca Neary at (202)566-1162


NOTE: Videos must be postmarked by April 22, 2009. Since all EPA mail is irradiated, you must either submit your video via YouTube or send using an overnight courier. EPA will not be responsible for videos if they are lost or destroyed.

Step 4: Make it Official — Complete the Entry Form

Contest Rules

Your entry is not complete until you fill out the contest entry form. Please sign and fax the entry form to (202)566-1326. Your video will not be included in judging if you have not completed the entry form. The contest winner will be notified in May via e-mail. Please contact Rebecca Neary at (202) 566-1162 if you have any questions.

  • You must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident to enter and win. EPA employees, contractors, or grantees and their immediate family members may enter, but are not eligible to win.
  • Entrants must complete the contest entry form and provide valid contact information.
  • The contest entry form must be SIGNED and faxed to (202)566-1326 (if you do not have access to a fax machine you may sign then scan the entry form and email it to Rebecca Neary at neary.rebecca@epa.gov).
  • Entries will be judged by an expert panel on the basis of creativity and originality, quality, technical accuracy, and content of the message. EPA reserves the right to not select a winner if none of the entries received are judged to be high quality based on the above criteria.
  • The video must be your own original creation. No copyrighted music, video, or images may be used in the video.
  • Your video must not infringe on any third party rights.
  • Videos previously produced for compensation and videos already posted on EPA's Web pages (e.g., epa.gov/nps/toolbox/) are not eligible. 
  • The winner must provide a copy of the original video file to EPA to receive the $2,500 award.
  • By submitting a video to this contest, you grant to EPA a royalty-free license to copy, distribute, modify, display and perform publicly and otherwise use, and authorize others to use, your video for any educational purpose throughout the world and in any media.  
  • EPA reserves the right to make your video available to the general public from its Web site and to distribute it to watershed groups and any other organizations interested in showing it for educational purposes, including, but not limited to, on Internet sites, at conferences and events, on television, and other media outlets.
  • EPA will disqualify any entries it deems to contain offensive material.
  • You must have a contest entry form filled out and signed by each person appearing in the video, and his/her guardian if s/he is a minor. If your video is chosen, EPA will need to have copies of these releases. This is the release form that will be used for the winning entries.
  • Entries must be received or postmarked by Earth Day, April 22, 2009. The winner will be notified via e-mail and announced on the contest Web site in May.
  • Entrants must agree to these terms and conditions, or the agreement of a legal guardian must be obtained if the entrant is a minor.

Privacy Policy

Personal information collected from video submitters to the OWOW Video Contest will never be sold. The information collected for this contest will only be used to contact video submitters in direct relation to the contest.

The contest winners' names (and the names of any honorable mentions EPA may select) will be announced publicly, after consultation with the winner and any honorable mentions, as a part of the OWOW Video Contest award recognition process.

All personal information collected through the Contest Web site will be destroyed within 6 months of the conclusion of the OWOW Video Contest. Any videos posted to YouTube will be subject to YouTube's privacy policy.Exit EPA Disclaimer

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What constitutes "immediate family?"

A: "Immediate family members" shall include spouses, siblings, parents, children, grandparents, and grandchildren, whether as "in-laws", or by current or past marriage, remarriage, adoption, co-habitation or other familial extension, and any other persons residing at the same household location, whether or not related.

Q: Can videos be submitted that have already been released to news organizations and other groups?

A: Yes, although we seek to have the development of new videos, the rules exclude videos that have been previously been published for compensation, ones that are already featured in the EPA Web Pages or any video that would infringe on third party rights. All videos, regardless of when published, must meet all the criteria required to be eligible (i.e. length, ending with www.epa.gov/owow).

Q: Are EPA employees, contractors, or grantees allowed to assist in the development of the videos (i.e. provide narration, man the camera, act in the video etc.)?

A: No, to avoid any legal repercussions any video in which EPA employees, contractors or grantees assist will not be eligible to win.

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