What is the difference between a storm drain and a sanitary sewer?
When it comes to sanitary sewers and storm drains it’s important to know they are in fact very different. At a glance, you may not be able to tell the difference but it is important to know the difference. To begin with, storm drains are generally located outside while sanitary drains are located inside.
The sanitary system is a system composed of underground pipes responsible for carrying sewage from bathrooms, kitchens and other inside components to a wastewater treatment plant. Then the raw sewage is filtered, treated and discharged.
Storm drains on the other hand are designed to drain excess rain water and groundwater from streets and parking lots. The runoff is then carried in underground pipes or open ditches and discharges untreated into local streams, rivers and other bodies of water. Storm drains are typically located on curbs and low-lying outdoor areas. It is not designed to carry sewage or other hazardous waste. In fact, the disposal of hazardous substances or chemicals into the storm sewer system damages the environment. Materials such as oil, cleaners and other household items can at times poison wildlife by getting into their water supply.