Why is it important to keep storm drains clear and clean?

Prevent Blockages

Pollutants such as leaves and litter debris that seem to be in constant movement in wind and water can build up around the surface of storm drains and prohibit stormwater from properly flowing off of streets and sidewalks into drainage infrastructure, ultimately resulting in flooding and ponding around the drain.  On top of surface ponding, when leaves, yard debris, and garbage are able to enter storm drains they can also move into pipes which can become clogged with these pollutants.  Clogged pipes can not only exacerbate flooding but can lead to costly maintenance that could be avoided.  Many pipes lie beneath roadways, making them difficult to access and clean regularly.

Protect Water Quality

When it rains, much of the stormwater travels along the surface of the ground and picks up pollution in its path, including fertilizers and pesticides, motor oil, dirt, pet waste, and garbage.  When this runoff enters storm drains it does not get treated (only wastewater is treated), but instead flows directly to the waterways that we use for fishing, swimming and more.  Adding unnecessary nutrients in the form of leaves, yard debris, or fertilizer to local waterways could lead to algae problems and low levels of oxygen that fish and other sea creatures need to survive.  The EPA actually considers stormwater and the pollution it carries, the greatest threat to the health of our water bodies.  

Show All Answers

1. I'm excited to participate! How do I officially adopt a storm drain?
2. Who can adopt a drain?
3. Can I adopt a drain in an area of the City other than where I live or work?
4. Is there a limit to the number of drains I can adopt?
5. Why are some drains not available for adoption?
6. How do I access the web portal on my mobile device?
7. It looks like all of the City maintained storm drains are not showing up on the map. Why is that?
8. How can I get a "Don't Pollute" marker for my drain?
9. How often should I clean my adopted drain(s)?
10. HOW TO: What are guidelines for inspecting my drain and removing debris?
11. Tell me more about the Field Inspection Report, is it easy to fill out?
12. My drain is too full to clean manually. What should I do?
13. When cleaning my adopted drains, how do I know what is trash and what is garbage?
14. Can I un-adopt my drain?
15. Why is it important to keep storm drains clear and clean?