Only Rain Down the Drain

What are Storm Drains?

Storm Drains are metal grate inlets that can be seen along road curbs, in parking lots, and outside buildings around our community. Storm drains collect rain water that is carried away through a network of underground pipes. In most places the stormwater is carried straight to local streams and rivers—water bodies often used for drinking water by downstream communities you may visit!

What Are Storm Drain Markers?

Storm Drain MarkerStorm Drain Markers are aluminum disks installed near storm drains to remind citizens not to dump anything in the storm drains, because they drain to local waterways. In Lycoming County, 600 storm drain markers were purchased with grant funds and installed next to storm drains in high-traffic areas of Williamsport and neighboring communities. Look for them, and tell your friends and family why they are important.

Do people really dump in storm drains?

Sadly, yes. These incidents are costly for our municipalities to clean up. They cause pollution and long-term damage to stormwater infrastructure.

What Can I Do?

There are many things that you can do as a citizen, homeowner, or business owner to keep stormwater and our streams cleaner:
  • Don’t dump ANY waste into storm drains! It is illegal.
  • Regularly remove yard debris and trash clogging your storm drain inlets.
  • Pick up pet waste and discard it appropriately.
  • Use less fertilizer on your lawn—get a soil test to determine what kind of fertilizer and how much you really need.
  • Keep fertilizer off sidewalks and driveways.
  • Clean up automotive fluid spills promptly and fix leaking autos.
  • Recycle used oil (many auto service centers will accept oil).
  • Dispose of household chemicals responsibly by following the directions on the package or checking with local authorities.
  • Sweep grass clippings and yard waste off of driveways and sidewalks.
  • Wash your car at a commercial car wash, or on an unpaved surface like your lawn, which acts as a sponge and filter.
  • Do not drain swimming pools into the street or a storm drain. Do not drain them into the sanitary sewer system without permission from your local wastewater authority. First, let the pool sit for 2 weeks without treating so chlorine dissipates into the atmosphere. If draining into a yard, release the water very slowly so that it filters into the ground and doesn’t run off into a stream or into the street.
  • Absorb more stormwater naturally on your property by planting rain gardens, installing rain barrels, and reducing impervious (paved) surfaces. For more information on trying these “green infrastructure” techniques, contact the Lycoming County Master Gardeners at (570) 433-3040 or Lycoming County Conservation District at (570) 433-3003.
  • Teach children these habits to promote a lifetime of good environmental stewardship!

What is Storm Water Runoff Pollution?

Stormwater runoff flows across impervious surfaces like roads and driveways, picking up pollutants like animal waste, chemicals, gas, and oil along the way, and carrying them into our local streams. Stormwater pollution is a significant threat to our local and regional waters.

It is vital to reduce as many of these pollutants as we possibly can before they reach our waters. The first and easiest step to cleaning up stormwater runoff is to stop dumping any waste directly into storm drains.

Does Stormwater Go to the Sewer Plant?

In most places, no, stormwater is not treated at a sewer plant. The storm drain system is normally a separate system that collects water running off rooftops, roads, sidewalks, and parking lots, and conveys that untreated water directly into local streams and rivers.

In other places, including some older sections of Williamsport, stormwater does go to the sewer plant. During periods of significant rainfall or snowmelt, the increased volume of water causes sewer overflows into our streams and rivers. Using the tips in this brochure, you can help reduce the pollutants and the volume of stormwater going to our streams and sewer plants.

Benefits of Stormwater Management

  • Cleaner streams and rivers
  • Reduced health hazards
  • Reduced flood damage
  • Enhanced fishing & other recreational opportunities
  • Higher aesthetic value
  • A Safer, Cleaner Future for Our Children!
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