What You Should Know About Storm Drains

Have you ever noticed water running along your street and into a drainage next to your sidewalk? These are storm drain systems that direct water through underground pipes into oceans and rivers. Storm drain construction prevents or reduces flooding in cities and towns.


Storm drain construction includes building catch basins and laying subsurface and outlet water pipes. They often require excavation and detailed planning, and the process of installing these systems can take weeks or months. These systems are installed by EPA-trained, licensed and certified storm drain building contractors.

Where Does the Water Come From

Although some of the water found in storm drains is the result of natural weather patterns, such as rain and snow, the water also originates from human activities, including major construction projects that use water during the process, as well as everyday activities, such as washing cars in the driveway or turning on sprinklers. Water flows into drainage systems from roofs, driveways, parking lots and streets.


Because water flows from a number of sources and activities into storm drains, the water in these systems is often polluted. For example, construction sites stir up dirt and debris that can cause sediment buildup in storm drains. Residents may contribute to this pollution through the use of fertilizers, pesticides and cleaning products that are used outside, where rain or other water sources draw them into storm drains. Pet and yard waste are contributors as well. Finally, airborne pollution is drawn into drainage systems when it rains or snows.

Unfortunately, this pollution typically flows into drinking water systems. To reduce your pollution contribution, consider using nontoxic and natural pesticides and detergents, cover and secure your trash, pick up pet waste and clean up chemical or oil spills quickly and properly.

Storm drain construction plays an important role in maintaining clear streets and preventing floods. Citizens, neighborhoods, construction companies and local governments should work together to keep these systems clear and clean.