Wastewater and stormwater sewer systems play a vital role when it comes to infrastructure and the environment.
Although the two are critical to public health and safety, they are quite different.
The stormwater system is designed to transport rainfall runoff and other untreated drainages into underground pipes and open ditches. The water is then discharged to local rivers, wetlands and streams.
The wastewater system consists of underground pipes that transport sewage from household plumbing such as kitchens, sinks and bathrooms to a wastewater treatment plant where the water is filtered, treated and discharged for future use.
Unlike wastewater, stormwater is not designed to carry sewage or hazardous waste. This is due to the water being discharged directly to surface water bodies. Stormwater is untreated, which makes it easier for pollutants and hazardous wastes to contaminate our rivers, lakes and streams.
To filter out solid objects that can cause the drains to clog, storm drain inlets are installed in low-lying outdoor areas such as curbs and outside drains. This mechanism not only helps the environment but also prevents floods by reducing the amount of standing water. Pollution can be prevented by directly disposing of hazardous waste, properly collecting and disposing yard clippings, reducing herbicide application, picking up pet waste and correctly discharging pools.
Understanding the difference between wastewater and stormwater not only helps us preserve our infrastructure but can prevent environmental damage.
Learn more about our drainage systems and what you can do to help keep pollutants from our stormwater systems.