Before 1795, Boston residents obtained their water from local wells, rain barrels, and a spring on the Boston Common.
Storm drains, also known as catch basins, are the gateway to the stormwater system beneath our streets. Boston Water and Sewer Commissionís (BWSC) stormwater system is a separate system that collects rain water and snowmelt from rooftops and pavement and discharges this runoff, without treatment, into the nearest receiving water. As stormwater runs over the ground, it picks up pollutants and debris that have been carelessly or illegally deposited onto our streets or directly into the storm drains. These pollutants include used motor oil, gasoline, antifreeze, cleaning agents, pesticides or fertilizers and paint. Debris commonly found in storm drains include pet waste, cigarette butts, yard clippings and sand. In addition, car washing and lawn watering can also contribute to pollution of the waterways. Here are some things you can do to prevent pollutants from entering the storm drains:
The City of Boston provides for household hazardous waste drop-off days throughout the year. The City also has a paint swap shop. Check out their website for more info at cityofboston.gov.
The dumping of any material into a storm drain is illegal and carries a fine of up to $5,000 per day of violation! If you observe someone dumping into a storm drain, report it immediately to BWSC at 617-989-7000.