What is Stormwater?

Stormwater is rain, snow and sleet that travel down our gutters into the storm drain, flowing directly into our rivers, lakes and streams.

It's never treated, so everything storm water collects as it travels down the storm drain ends up in our local waterways.


Why should I care what goes down the storm drain?

Everyone should be concerned about storm water quality because what we put down the storm drain will eventually end up in places like Red Butte Gardens, Sugar House Park, Liberty Park, Rotary Glen Park, Emigration Park, Big Cottonwood Creek and Crestwood Park.


What can I do to make a difference at home?

Amazingly enough you can make a huge difference in stormwater quality by simply changing a few practices at home.

Here are six easy steps;

1. Wash your car on the lawn

2. Mulch your grass clippings and leave on the lawn

3. Sweep dirt onto the lawn, pick up debris and put in the trash

4. Pick up your pet waste; flush in the toilet or bag

5. Target your use of fertilizers and sweep up excess, and

6. Target use of pesticides/herbicides to your lawn and garden and take left over chemicals to the Household Hazardous Waste facility.


How should I properly dispose of oil, tires and batteries?

All of the above items can be taken the Household Hazardous Waste Facility or specific businesses that recycle these products.

For a list of businesses that specialize in recycling these items please visit Salt Lake County Recycling Information


Which are more harmful oil or grass clippings?

If you were to pour a quart of oil and a bag of grass clipping down the storm drain at the same time clearly the oil would be the most harmful to storm water.

However, most people know not to pour oil down the storm drain but don't think twice about hosing their yard waste down the storm drain.

And when you examine the overall cumulative effect of thousands of people sending their grass clippings down the storm drain versus the few who put oil down the drain it becomes one of the top pollutants of storm water.


How does pet waste left on the grass affect storm water?

Pet waste can be picked up by rain as it travels down the storm drain carrying with it bacteria and other harmful materials into streams.


Why are grass clippings harmful to stormwater?

Yard waste contributes nutrients, such as nitrogen and phosphorous, which cause unwanted and uncontrolled growth of algae and aquatic weeds.


Who do I call if I see someone dumping down oil or other hazardous material down stormdrain?

Please call the Salt Lake Valley Health Department dumping hotline at 313-6700.


Is it okay to wash my car on the driveway if I use a biodegradable soap?

No. Cleaning products even if they are biodegradable can still be toxic to fish and stimulate algae in plant growth which impact animal life.


Is it okay to sweep or water down the dirt, grass and/or other natural elements down the storm drain?

Actually dirt can clog spawning areas for fish and cover the water channel floor resulting in fish food being covered and the fish unable to sustain life.


Is it okay to wash my paintbrushes out in the gutter?

No. Paint can be toxic to fish by interfering with breathing, plant growth and effect the reproduction of water bugs.