Stormwater Pollution

About StormWater Pollution

Most of our rainwater travels through gutters, storm drains, channels, washes and eventually into, Decker Lake, Jordan River or The Great Salt Lake. The largest source of stormwater pollution in Utah results from every day activities. The most common pollutants are:

  • Trash: fast-food wrappers, cigarette butts, Styrofoam cups, etc.
  • Toxins: 
    • Antifreeze
    • Fertilizer
    • Pesticides
    • Pet waste
    • Sewage overflow
    • Used motor oil
    • Etc.

These pollutants are picked up as water (from rain, hoses, sprinklers, etc.) drains from streets, parking lots, driveways and lawns and enters the City's catch basins. From there, this "toxic soup" flows through a massive system of pipes and open channels straight to water bodies, such as Decker Lake, untreated.

Basically, anything dumped or dropped on the ground or in the gutter contributes to stormwater pollution.

Stormwater Treatment

During a storm event, water runoff is carried by the city's storm drain system, which drains to Decker Lake. Contaminated stormwater receives no treatment because of the sheer volume of runoff. The cost of treating West Valley City's stormwater would be so high that it would exceed available resources.

Difference Between a Storm Sewer & a Sanitary Sewer

Yes. The sanitary sewer and the storm sewer are two completely separate drainage systems.

The sewer system, or sanitary wastewater system, takes all household wastewater from toilets, showers and sinks, and routes it through your plumbing system into a water treatment facility. Once there, it receives 3 levels of filtration treatment before being discharged.

The stormwater system, on the other hand, was intended to route rainwater quickly off the streets during a heavy storm, but unfortunately takes all urban runoff along with it. Chemicals, trash and debris from lawns, parking lots and streets, either intentionally or accidentally spilled, goes straight into storm water drainage system, which eventually ends up in Decker Lake and the Great Salt Lake.

Effects of Stormwater Pollution

  • Health: Stormwater pollution can pose a serious health risk to people due to pesticides, bacteria, and chemicals that is washed from our city streets and into the stormwater.
  • Environment: Plants and animals living along Decker Lake may become sick or die from contact with stormwater pollution.
  • Neighborhoods: Clogged catch basins significantly decrease the quality of life in many neighborhoods throughout Salt Lake County. These "nests" of trash and debris can attract rats and cockroaches, create foul odors, and clog the storm drain system affecting neighborhood aesthetics and property values, and may cause local flooding.