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Keep it clean, because we are all downstream!

Post Date:09/10/2019 4:46 PM

Storm drainAs long as it works properly, the vast system of pipes crisscrossing the ground below our feet is mostly out of sight and out of mind. But what happens to the water – and everything else – that gets washed down the drain? The answer depends on the type of drain.

The drains in kitchens, bathrooms, and other plumbing in buildings within the city are connected to the sanitary sewer system, which is managed by South Adams County Water and Sanitation District (SACWSD). This water ends up at the district’s wastewater treatment plant in Henderson, where it undergoes a series of processes to filter and disinfect the water before it is released into the South Platte River.

Water that flows into storm drains, typically located along streets, in parking lots or in parks, undergoes no such treatment process. Storm sewers are designed strictly to drain rainwater and other runoff away from buildings, roadways, and other areas to prevent flooding. This untreated water then travels directly into detention/retention ponds, streams, and rivers. That means any contaminants picked up along the way are deposited in the environment.
Stormwater that contains pollutants like motor oil, fertilizer, pet waste, trash, or even leaves and grass clippings can negatively impact the ecosystem. The effects can harm fish and wildlife populations, healthy vegetation, recreational areas, and even the drinking water supply.

To learn more about stormwater management, visit

Tips for Keeping Stormwater Clean

  • Dispose of solid waste appropriately: keep trash, yard waste, pet waste, and debris out of street gutters.
  • Clean up spills: properly dispose of automotive fluids, chemicals, and other harmful substances – do not just hose them into the street.
  • Read the label: avoid overuse of chemical pesticides and fertilizers or consider natural alternatives.
  • Store it away: Keep household chemicals and other hazardous materials out of the rain.

The Veolia Colorado Recycling Center located at 9131 E. 96th Avenue, holds household chemical drop-offs for Adams County residents on Wednesdays and Saturdays by appointment, fees apply. Veolia will hold two discounted drop-off days on Wednesday, September 25, and Saturday, September 28. Learn more and schedule an appointment at 303-526-8155.

If You See a Serious Violation – Report It!

Call the city’s Stormwater Quality Hotline (303-227-8801) if you see an illegal discharge of pollutants (such as motor oil, grease or chemicals) into the city’s storm sewers.

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