Sewer vs Storm Drain

Storm Drains are NOT Sewers. 

The sewer system takes all the water from INSIDE homes and businesses (sinks, bathtubs, washing machines, toilets, etc.) and sends it to a water treatment facility where the water is cleaned before being released to the ocean.

The storm drain system takes all the water from OUTSIDE homes and businesses (rain, overwatering of lawns) and sends it untreated straight to our local creeks, rivers, bays and eventually the ocean.

The storm drain system is designed as a flood control system to allow water from heavy rainstorms to flow quickly to our waterways to avoid flooding of our streets, homes and businesses.  However, the rainwater can pick up pollutants as large as shopping carts or as microscopic as pesticides and fertilizer and flush it all into our waterways damaging the fish, plants and other living things in our ecosystem.

Because stormwater runoff is untreated it is extremely important we don’t allow pollutants to flow into our waterways.

Particular pollutants of concern include:

      • Litter (recycle or throw away your trash).
      • Motor Oil (if you change your oil at home, take it to an auto repair shop to recycle it).
      • Copper from Brake dust (use a commercial car wash where the washwater is recycled).
      • Pet waste (pick up after your pets when you take them for walks).
      • Fertilizer (Don’t apply fertilizer right before it rains.  Don’t use more fertilizer than is required).
      • Pesticides (Don’t apply pesticide right before it rains.  Don’t use more pesticide than is required).


      Sewer vs. Storm Drain

      Curiosity Quest investigates the difference between a Storm Drain and a Sewer System.

      Related Links

    1. Storm Water IQ
    2. Residents Brochures
    3. Ocean Begins Brochure