Storm Water and You - MAKE the CONNECTION

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What is Storm Water?

Storm water is a term used to describe water that originates during precipitation (rain or snow) events. Storm water that does not soak into the ground becomes surface runoff, which either flows into surface waterways or is channeled into storm drains.

What is Storm Water Pollution?

Storm water pollution occurs when storm water runoff comes in contact with contaminants before reaching the Santa Maria River or Pacific Ocean. Contaminants can be automotive fluids, sediment, detergents, animal waste, pesticides, fertilizers, chemicals, trash, oils, food processing waste, and many more substances.

What is a Storm Drain System?

The City's storm drain system is designed to route all untreated runoff from impervious surfaces including roofs, parking lots, roads, sidewalks, and other hardened surfaces to the Santa Maria River and eventually to the Pacific Ocean. The system is supplied by storm drains that can be seen on City roads, parking lots, and freeways and highways.

The City's storm drain system is also made up of numerous basins which receive untreated runoff and help to control flooding within the City. These basins, which can be as large as a football field, not only prevent flooding but they also promote the recharge of underlying aquifers. Due to their size, the City has many multi-use basins managed by the Department of Recreation and Parks which are used for recreation during the summer and for flood control during the winter. CLICK HERE for a map of the City's storm drain system, flood control basins, and outfalls to the Santa Maria River, is utilized by City departments for operations, maintenance, and emergency response.

What are Storm Drain Basins?

What is a Sewer System?

From plumbing fixtures and appliances, from homes and businesses such as toilets, showers and bath tubs, clothes washers, dish washers, and garbage disposals. Domestic wastewater is discharged from plumbing fixtures and appliances and then flows into the domestic wastewater sewer. The domestic wastewater sewer system is made up of many sewer lines extending from individual lots of land. The line from each lot connects to the sewer line. The city maintains sewer lines located under public streets or alleys that connect to a "trunk sewer". The main trunks of the sewer end at the City of Santa Maria Wastewater Treatment Plant. All water entering the treatment plant is treated so that approximately 90 percent of the impurities are removed. The rest of the impurities are removed when the treated water is returned back to the groundwater basin through percolation.

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