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Storm Sewers - What Do They Collect?

My postion with Cuyahoga Soil and Water Conservation District involves inspecting stormwater control measures (wet and dry basins, bioretention areas, underground detention systems/units, etc.) for various communities throughout the County. I have the fun job of looking into numerous storm drains and pipes in order to assess the flow of water through this infrastructure.

It’s truly amazing what I have seen! Think about it – when it rains, rainwater rolls off of any hard surface such as a parking lot or city street. All of this rainwater typically runs to a storm drain connected to our storm sewer system or local streams and eventually to Lake Erie.

Stormwater is not treated, so this means anything that falls onto a hard surface (grass clippings, leaves, paper napkins, gum wrappers, cigarette butts, salt, fertilizers, etc.) ultimately ends up in our Lake (which by the way is the source of our drinking water).

Here are some easy steps to help minimize our impact each time it rains:

  • Regular sweeping of streets and parking lots (and even our own driveways).
  • Properly disposing of trash in covered waste receptacles or recycling bins - especially our food and beverage containers.
  • Collecting, sweeping and bagging (or composting) grass and leaves.
  • Sweeping up fertilizer from hard surfaces like driveways and parking lots.
  • Using a cigarette butt waste collection bin or discarding butts in the trash.
  • Refilling water bottles rather than using disposable cups.
  • Using reusable bags rather than plastic bags for shopping

Blog author: Carla Regener, Stormwater Specialist

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