Residents & Business

Stormwater Runoff
When it rains, it pours!
Motor oil, fertilizer, pet waste, and other pollutants end up in the stormwater runoff that goes down the drains.

Unlike the wastewater that comes from our homes, stormwater runoff does not receive any treatment before it enters small creeks, streams and eventually Percy Priest Lake.
Clogged storm drain
How You Can Help
Only Rain Down the Drain!
Wash your car at a commercial car wash where the dirty water is discharged into the sewer system and treated. Another option is to wash your car on grassy areas where the dirty water will be absorbed rather than run off into the storm drain. Never pour any kind of waste into storm drains or drainage ditches.
Compost yard waste such as leaves and grass clippings. Do not dump them in ditches and waterways where they can clog pipes and cause flooding. This excess yard waste can deplete streams of oxygen damaging the habitat for some local wildlife species. Direct downspouts onto lawns and away from paved surfaces. Consider use of rain barrels to save rain water for later use in your lawn or garden.
Waste Disposal
Follow the directions on fertilizer labels and sweep excess off of driveways, sidewalks and roads so that the chemicals stay where they were intended to be and are not washed into storm drains.
Pick up after your pet. Do not let pet waste wash into storm drains or drainage ditches. Imagine the cumulative effect this would have on the city waterways if you account for all the dogs in your neighborhood.

Have your septic tank pumped and septic system inspected regularly.
Changing You Oil
Check your car for leaks and recycle used motor oil. Never pour motor oil on the ground or into a storm drain or drainage ditch.
Practice proper techniques for changing your own oil and its disposal.
More Ways to Help
Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
An illicit discharge is the discharge of pollutants or non-stormwater materials into a storm drain system via an illegal pipe connection, direct tie-in, overland flow or direct dumping into a catch basin or storm drain. Municipal storm drains are intended to convey stormwater runoff to nearby lakes and streams to prevent flooding. They are not intended to carry flow from sources such as sanitary sewers, septic systems, car washes, laundromats, or other similar sources.

Illicit discharges are a problem because stormwater generally flows to a river, pond or stream without any additional treatment, unlike wastewater or sewage which flows to a wastewater treatment plant. Dumping anything other than stormwater into a storm drain is illegal and considered an illicit discharge. The public can also call 800-RECYCLE or contact Earth 911.

Sources of Illicit Discharge
  • Sanitary wastewater (sewage)
  • Septic tank waste or overflows
  • Car wash, laundry, and industrial wastewaters
  • Improper disposal of auto and household toxins such as motor oil, antifreeze, or pesticides
  • Spills on roadways and other accidents
Hot Spots
One our focuses are on Stormwater Hotspots (PDF) throughout our city. Hotspots are defined as areas where land use or activities generate highly contaminated runoff where concentrations of pollutants are in excess of those typically found in stormwater. Certain areas of the urban landscape are known to be hotspots of stormwater pollution. Examples include gas stations, large commercial parking areas, auto repair facilities and restaurants.
If you wish to report an illicit discharge or have other concerns related to stormwater, please contact the Stormwater Department.