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 nc Storm Water Pollution Prevention Nature Center

Basic Guide

arrow Stormwater Drainage System vs. Sanitary Sewer System
arrow What is storm water pollution?
arrow What makes up the Stormwater Drainage System?

Stormwater Drainage System vs. Sanitary Sewer System

DrainThe stormwater drainage system is NOT connected to the sanitary sewer system. It is important to understand this distinction because many people think that waste dumped into storm drains will receive water treatment like sewage. This is not true!

Anything that rain or irrigation water washes into our street gutters goes directly into our waterways running through our parks, golf courses, walking paths, and other recreational areas, and directly to San Diego Bay. Trash or chemicals that are dumped or washed into storm drains will destroy wildlife and pollute our waterways.

Stormwater drainage systems are used to prevent flooding, and consist of gutters, underground pipes, and concrete channels that are designed to carry rainwater away from our streets and into natural waterways.

Sewer systems consist of underground pipes that connect home sewer lines to sewage treatment plants where used water from sinks, showers and toilets is treated.

Making the distinction between storm water drainage systems and sewer systems, will help you to better understand what causes storm water pollution and how to help prevent it.

What is storm water pollution?

What is storm water pollution?Chula Vista sits on beautiful San Diego Bay, which hosts an abundance of wildlife including sea turtles and a number of migratory birds and fishes.  Chula Vista is also home to the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge and the San Diego Bay Wildlife Refuge, making up the most significant portions of protected areas within the Bay.  

When it rains, pollutants found on our streets, sidewalks, parking lots and even our own yards wash down storm drains, and into the nearest body of water. Storm drains do not filter water or debris, nor are they connected to the sewer system, so any pollutant that flows into the storm drain leads to our waterways, then directly to the Bay.

Storm water pollution can come from many different sources such as leaking cars, pet waste, yard and garden chemicals, building materials, yard waste, soil erosion, and litter just to name a few.

However, there are a number of choices you can make to curb storm water pollution before it even has a chance to hit the curb!

How can you prevent storm water pollution?
It's Your Community. Your Environment. Your Choice. We hope you’ll choose wisely, and help to preserve Chula Vista’s natural beauty.

How Does the Pollution Get Into Our Local Waterways?
Trash in drainPollution gets into the storm drain system and into local water bodies during periods of both wet AND dry weather.

During rainy weather, pollutants found on our streets, driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, and even in our own yards are washed into the storm drain system, into local waterways, and ultimately into the San Diego Bay.

During dry weather periods, pollutants are washed into storm drains through sprinklers, car washing, pool drainage, and other day-to-day activities.  As a result, pollutants are consistently washed into Chula Vista’s storm drain system waterways, and end up flowing into local creeks, rivers, and the San Diego Bay.  

Even something as simple as hosing down your driveway or sidewalk can send dangerous pollutants into the storm drainage system.

Keeping our streets, yards and other areas free of trash is one way to help prevent pollutants from entering the stormwater drainage system.  Please do your part to clean up litter and debris, and we’ll all be able to enjoy a cleaner San Diego Bay.

What makes up the Stormwater Drainage System?

runoffThe stormwater drainage system is made up of a network of curbs, gutters, inlets, underground pipes, open channels, concrete channels, and ditches that run throughout the entire City of Chula Vista. 

The Stormwater drainage system collects water underground and above ground through waterways in our parks, along walking trails, and through golf courses and other recreational areas on the way to the San Diego Bay.

And remember, all water that drains off our streets, parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks flows through the stormwater drainage system ends up in our local waterways.

City Of Chula Vista



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