What’s the Difference Between Sewers and Storm Drains?

While sewers and storm drains both carry water from one place to another, there are actually many differences between the two systems. Storm sewers are responsible for helping drain excess rainwater, while sanitary sewers carry water to a wastewater treatment plant. And the differences don’t stop there—read on for more information on both sewers and storm drains. We’ll also cover ways to properly maintain the sewer and storm drains in your area.

An overview of sewers

As mentioned above, sewer systems are responsible for carrying wastewater from your home to a wastewater treatment plant. The wastewater is transferred via a series of underground pipes. While in the wastewater treatment plant, the sewage water is thoroughly cleaned before being sent back into the environment. The main purpose of sanitary sewers is to ensure local water quality and public health.

An overview of storm drains

Most everyone has a storm drain in their neighborhood. The main purpose of these systems is to collect excess rainwater to help prevent flooding. You’ll mostly find storm drains built into the side of a road behind metal grates. You can also sometimes find storm drains in alleys and basements.

Unlike sewer systems, water collected by storm drains doesn’t go through a treatment process. The water collected in storm drains goes straight to local rivers, lakes and other nearby waterways.

Taking care of your sewage system

Sewage systems are an essential part of every household. You can help maintain the sewer system in your area by not flushing anything that could potentially clog the system. These might include non-flushable wipes, tampons, paper towels and more. Also avoid putting certain materials down your kitchen drain, including oils, coffee grounds and eggshells.

Sometimes, tree roots can grow into sewage pipes, so make sure to only plant them away from drainage pipes. You might also consider installing a small barrier to prevent tree roots from reaching underground pipes.

Maintaining the storm drain in your area

Since the water going into a storm drain doesn’t get filtered, it’s important to avoid pouring hazardous materials into them. These could include oil, paint or anything else that might pollute the environment. You should also avoid throwing any solid materials into the storm drain, as this could cause flooding.

It’s easy to help take care of the storm drain in your neighborhood. Keep away any trash or debris that might fall into the storm drain. You should also quickly repair any leaks in your car to prevent hazardous materials from flowing into the drains.

So, are sewers and storm drains the same? There are actually many differences between the two systems, especially when it comes to properly maintaining them. Be sure to take care of the sewers and storm drains in your area to help ensure they work correctly. If you notice an issue, consider contacting a reputable local underground utility expert.

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