Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that does not quickly soak into the ground. In short, stormwater is important because it can lead to pollution, erosion, flooding and many other environmental and health issues if not properly understood and maintained.

Surfaces such as pavement and roofs prevent precipitation from naturally soaking into the ground. Instead, water runs rapidly into storm drains, sewer systems and drainage ditches and can cause:

  • Downstream flooding
  • Stream bank erosion
  • Increased muddiness created by stirred up sediment from erosion
  • Habitat destruction
  • Combined storm and sanitary sewer system overflows
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Contaminated streams, rivers, and coastal water

To prevent stormwater overflow, the Department employees clean and dig out ditches, as well as clean drive tiles (pipes beneath driveways), and catch basins (storm drains). A fixed rate is charged as part of the water utility bill to cover the expense incurred for this function.