What is stormwater and where does it go?

Stormwater is rainwater that washes through our property and streets, taking with it any debris that may be in its path. This mixture of rain, debris, oil and waste is known as “runoff”. In the past municipalities, as well as other public and private agencies, worked to get stormwater off the roads as quickly as possible to avoid flooding. Today these same agencies are working to not only reduce and often eliminate flooding, but to prevent pollution by the elements picked up by runoff.

When you pass a storm inlet, do you know where the water goes? Do you think it is channeled to a treatment plant the way sewage is? Think again! Up north, there may still be some existing combined sewer systems, where both sewage and stormwater are channeled to the local sewage treatment plant. Here in Florida, we do not have combined systems. In fact, in most areas of the Country inflow and infiltration (I/I) studies are done to find ground water and rainwater leaks in sanitary sewer systems and repair any damage. Sewage treatment costs money, and treating large amounts of added stormwater would be very expensive.

The next time you pass an inlet, remember that it most likely discharges into a body of water that may be near where you live, swim or fish! Do not add to the pollution problem by pouring anything down the storm drain, and remember that the drain is for stormwater only!


Posted in: Stormwater Maintenance