Close Subscribe

Get the Weekly Recap!!

Get recaps, exclusive offers, stories and discounts. We’ll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time, we promise.
Eco-Explainer: What can go down a storm drain? Short answer – Nothing.
Water

Eco-Explainer: What can go down a storm drain? Short answer – Nothing.

Philadelphia’s pollution problem affects the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers. Here’s what can’t go down the city’s storm drains.

Due to a combined sewer system, the streets often experiences overflow. That means local waterways are especially sensitive to pollution, which can be harmful to human health and wildlife. 

The City of Philadelphia has been hard at work in recent years building green stormwater infrastructure to aid in the problem of flooding and pollution through their Green City, Clean Waters program.

So what can go down a storm drain?

Nothing should be going down Philadelphia’s storm drains besides storm water. Many people make the mistake of putting trash and pet waste in the drains, which can be extremely damaging and can end up in our drinking water and even in the streets during an overflow event. 

There are other types of waste as well that should be avoided at all costs, including any type of lawn and garden, or construction waste. 

Dead leaves can be a huge cause of flooding in a drain system as they collect and stop water from being able to freely flow through the drain. 

The City of Philadelphia recommends avoiding treating your lawn or garden with any chemicals before rain and letting grass clippings lie to allow them to be a natural fertilizer and avoid the need to dispose of them. 

Winter de-icing salt is also extremely dangerous. It should be avoided unless absolutely necessary and swept up and disposed of properly when no longer needed. 

It is also very important to avoid letting any pesticides or fertilizers enter storm drains. Any tainted water in general with soap or contaminants in it should also be kept out of storm drains. 

Dump soapy water down a sink rather than on the street if you are washing your car. Try switching to non-phosphate detergents that are less harmful to the waterways. 

Homeowners can also use green stormwater infrastructure. Installing rain barrels, rain gardens, or permeable pavement are ways to take part in avoiding overflow and keep dangerous pollution out of storm drains. 


Become a Supporter!

If you love what we do you can support our mission with a one-time or monthly contribution.
array(4) {
  [0]=>
  object(WP_Term)#5885 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(584)
    ["name"]=>
    string(12) "Philadelphia"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(12) "philadelphia"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(587)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(169)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
  [1]=>
  object(WP_Term)#5886 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(3848)
    ["name"]=>
    string(9) "pollution"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(9) "pollution"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(3856)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(3)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
  [2]=>
  object(WP_Term)#5720 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(3986)
    ["name"]=>
    string(12) "storm drains"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(12) "storm-drains"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(3994)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(2)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
  [3]=>
  object(WP_Term)#5899 (10) {
    ["term_id"]=>
    int(1848)
    ["name"]=>
    string(21) "Where Can I Wednesday"
    ["slug"]=>
    string(21) "where-can-i-wednesday"
    ["term_group"]=>
    int(0)
    ["term_taxonomy_id"]=>
    int(1858)
    ["taxonomy"]=>
    string(8) "post_tag"
    ["description"]=>
    string(0) ""
    ["parent"]=>
    int(0)
    ["count"]=>
    int(217)
    ["filter"]=>
    string(3) "raw"
  }
}
Sophia Healy is an editorial intern with Green Philly. She is a writer and environmentalist from South Philadelphia and a graduate of Temple University. She enjoys exploring the nature of Philly and discovering the many opportunities the city has to offer. View all posts by Sophia Healy

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Green Philly

Featured
In These
Great Spots: