Where does storm water runoff go?

Storm water is water from rain or melting snow. It flows from rooftops, over paved streets, sidewalks and parking lots, across bare soil and lawns and into storm drains and streams. As it flows, runoff collects and transports litter, soil, pet waste, road salt and sand, pesticides, fertilizer, oil and grease, soaps and detergents, and a host of other pollutants.

Throughout the more urbanized parts of Morgan County, you will find STORM DRAINS. Storm drains are a normal part of street or parking lot infrastructure. They are designed to collect and redirect excess runoff from rainfall or flooding. Located most often at the low curb of a street or set off of the road in a drainage area, storm drains move water off the street and into a piping system below ground. Storm Drains help move storm water runoff out of the streets and through a series of underground pipes. This is a part of many cities’ infrastructures. Once the runoff goes through the grates of a storm drain, the water flows through a series of pipes. The water flows and accumulates through the pipe system.

First storm water runoff enters the storm drain system through the storm drain.  Most cities have storm drains as part of the street infrastructure.  The storm drains are grates or curbs that help keep really big items out. 

Next, the accumulated runoff water enters a larger pipe.  Here it travels with other accumulated storm runoff until it eventually is dumped into a nearby ditch or creek.

When the storm drain in the street collects water it drops the water down into a piping system ranging in size from the smaller pipe, where the run starts, to the larger size as more water is accumulated before dumping into a ditch or creek. (Gary Oakes)

Storm water drains directly into nearby creeks, streams and rivers without receiving treatment at a wastewater treatment plant.

Storm water runoff is major contributor to water pollution nationwide and one of the great challenges of pollution control.

The above photos taken by Gary Oakes, are of storm drains and storm drain piping being used to connect to the State’s I-69 project around Martinsville, Indiana.

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