Curb inlets or grates let road runoff go into catch basins that connect to drain pipes. People seldom realize the pipes don’t go to wastewater plants, and the dirty runoff is dumped directly into local waters that we enjoy for swimming and fishing.
A quarter of the dirt and debris in road runoff stays in the catch basin sump, which traps up to several hundred pounds of sediment a year. The city or town cleans thousands of catch basins and removes tons of pollutants that would harm brooks and ponds. Catch basin cleaning also prevents clogging that can flood streets and be a nuisance to people and businesses.
Local residents and businesses can help keep catch basins working well. While cleaning the sidewalk or driveway, put waste in trash bins rather than sweeping or washing into the street. And as everyone should know, it is wrong to put motor oil or pet waste into catch basins.
If leaves and natural debris are blocking a catch basin, removing and composting these materials is helpful. During the winter months, clearing away snow or ice from catch basin inlets will lessen street flooding.