Only 3% of the water on Earth is freshwater. Of that 3%, only 1% is available as drinking water. The other 2% is frozen in polar ice caps.
Following a rain or snow event, stormwater flows through yards, down driveways, over streets, and into catch basins. Catch basins are the grates on the sides of streets and they connect to the storm drain system, which conveys the water, untreated, into our local waterways, including Boston Harbor and the Charles, Neponset, and Mystic Rivers. The storm drain system is not connected to any treatment system, including the sewer system.
As stormwater travels into the catch basins, it flushes pesticides, fertilizers, pet waste, trash and debris, automotive fluids, motor oil, and other pollutants into the storm drain system. As these pollutants enter local waterways, they can be harmful to water quality and the environment.
All Boston residents play a role in reducing and preventing stormwater pollution. Learn more about how you can help prevent stormwater pollution as residents, business owners, or construction site operators.
Dog owners can help prevent the contamination of stormwater and reduce pollution in local waterways by picking up after their pets and disposing of waste in a trash receptacle. See the Scoop the Poop page for more information.
For more information on the storm drain system or to read about BWSC’s stormwater management practices and reports, go to the Stormwater Management page.