What are catch basins or storm drain inlets?
Catch basins and storm drain inlets are curbside receptacles whose sole function is to catch surface water runoff from rainfall and deliver it to the storm drain system, where it is eventually delivered to rivers and other waterways.
Are sewers and storm drains the same thing?
No.† Storm drains and sanitary sewers have two distinct functions.† Storm drains are intended to collect and transport runoff from rainfall.† Storm drain systems do not remove pollutants from water before it is discharged into streams and rivers.† These are typically the drains found in streets and in parking lots.† Sanitary sewers collect wastewater from indoor plumbing such as toilets, sinks, washing machines and floor drains and take it to a sewage treatment plant.† The treatment plant removes many pollutants from wastewater before it is discharged to the river.
Do drain inlets get cleaned out?
Yes.† City crews maintain approximately 110 miles of storm drain pipelines citywide.
Why doesnít the City clean out all the storm drain inlets right before a storm?
There are too many for City crews to clean in a short period of time.† Storm drain inlets are maintained on a year-round schedule.
Why doesnít the City install filters or screens in front of drain inlets?
It sounds like a good idea, but during a rainstorm, trash is quickly swept into drain inlets.† Any screen or filtration device placed in front of the drain inlet would cause trash to accumulate and clog the grate, preventing proper drainage and potentially creating a flood hazard.† City maintenance crews would be unable to keep up with cleaning these devices potentially creating flooding hazards.† However, there are new technologies being developed in the form of filtration or screening devices to be installed and inserted inside catch basins.† The Stormwater Program Engineering groups are always evaluating these new technologies for possible future use.
What types of pollutants are found in the storm drain system?
Heavy metals, paint thinner
and paint products, motor oil, pesticides, fertilizers, human and animal feces,
antifreeze, and dead animals Ė are but a few examples of the pollutants
typically found in the storm drain system.††
These pollutants can eventually find their way to our basin parks, the
What should I do if I see a neighbor, or know someone whoís throwing trash into a storm drain?
drains are designed for catching rain water only.† Dumping trash or other pollutants down storm
drain inlets is illegal and is a violation of the Federal Clean Water Act of
1972 as well as the City of
used oil into the storm drain system is illegal.† One gallon of motor oil can pollute 250,000
gallons of drinking water.† All city residents
can recycle up to two gallons at a time of used, uncontaminated motor oil free
by taking it to Central Valley Waste Services at