Maintaining and managing our storm water system
Storm water management is essential in reducing localized flooding, and it improves water quality in our streams and lakes. Public Utilities has built and maintains an intricate storm drain system throughout the City. We routinely clean these drains and monitor for storm drain pollution from contaminated runoff from streets, sidewalks, businesses, yards and gutters.
We also educate the public on keeping toxic and hazardous materials from running into storm drains and ultimately harming our water. It’s a fact: We all live downstream.
Flood control is directly linked to stormwater management. Clogged storm drains can lead to localized flooding. We work together with federal, state and county agencies on flood control, including educating and assisting the public in the event of flooding.
The following sites and documentation may assist you:
Salt Lake City Code Chapter 18.68 supports certain floodplain regulations. Note that specifics in the City code may trump the general regulations found in the federal code. While the City code may have requirements more stringent, it may not be more lenient than the federal code. As a general rule, the code which is more strict will govern.
Information at Salt Lake County Flood Control may also be helpful.
Emergency Management and Assistance (LINK) The FEMA website for the regulations regarding Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). Sections 60.1 through 60.3 are the general areas of interest. Note that SLC Code (Chp 18.68) does not allow the Variances as discussed in Section 60.6.
Effective stormwater management serves multiple functions. It can reduce the risk of localized flooding; improve water quality in surface streams and lakes; and provide a source of secondary water. Public Utilities constructs and manages an intricate storm drain system throughout the City. The Department strives to maintain all inlets in functioning order and prevent contamination due to unclean discharges to the storm drain. A storm drain master plan is in place to construct additions to the storm drain system to enhance the ability to safely convey storm water away from residents and business owners.
Stormwater run-off occurs when water from rain, snowmelt, or sprinklers flows over the ground. Hard surfaces such as driveways, streets, and sidewalks prevent the stormwater from soaking into the ground. Stormwater run-off picks up trash, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants which are then carried in the gutter into the stormdrain system, and then into our streams, rivers, and lakes. Another problem comes when gutters and stormdrain inlets become clogged with trash, leaves, and other garden debris. This can result in localized flooding.
There is much that we can all do as individuals and home owners to improve stormwater run-off quality and to reduce debris in the stormdrain system. Follow these simple steps to help improve stormwater quality and to lessen the chance of localized flooding:
• Use fertilizers sparingly and sweep up driveways, sidewalks and gutters
• Never dump anything down storm drains or in streams
• Compost your yard waste
• Clean trash and debris out of the curb area
• Use least toxic pesticides, follow labels, and learn how to prevent pest problems without pesticides
• Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces; consider directing it towards your garden
• Take your car to the car wash instead of washing it in the driveway
• Check your car for leaks and recycle your automotive fluids
• Clean up after your pet
To report any spills or illegal dumping into any storm drains, rivers, streams or water bodies please contact our 24 hour dispatch at 801 483-6700.
For any information regarding the City’s storm drain system or Storm Water Master Plan (SWMP) should be directed to Bernard Mo firstname.lastname@example.org or 801-483-6735.
The Wasatch Front feeds seven beautiful, natural streams into the valley. Of those streams, four—Little Cottonwood, Big Cottonwood, Parleys, and City Creek—are used for drinking water supply. Emigration, Red Butte, and Millcreek are not currently being used for drinking water. The quality of the water in these streams is critical to maintaining the quality of life in the valley.
Several regulatory groups—the Forest Service, State DDEQ, Salt Lake Valley Health, and Salt Lake City—have cooperatively protected the streams by developing rules and regulations for their use and for the use of the property that drains to them, the watershed. Our diligence in protecting this resource has made it possible to provide high quality drinking water at an affordable price to the community. Avoiding pollution in these streams makes treatment more cost effective and helps to assure consistent drinking water quality. It is easier and less expensive to keep the water clean than it is to remove contaminants.
The streams below the treatment plants that flow through the City have many benefits for the community and for the wildlife that inhabit them. Recognizing this long overlooked resource led to the development of the Riparian Corridor Overlay Ordinance 21A.34.130. This ordinance recommends practices that will protect the streams, their value to the community, and the natural habitat. The stream riparian corridors provide a habitat for fish, birds, and mammals. They shade and cool the water in the stream, improving aesthetics and providing recreational opportunities. They limit flood damage and provide connectivity for wildlife. The riparian corridors filter sediment and pollutants from runoff, and stabilize the stream bank. The City recognizes the great community value of these corridors and through the development of the ordinance hope to retain the remaining open segments.
Another aspect of stream protection is the Riparian Corridor Study (Link) , initiated in 2008. In conjunction with the Riparian Corridor Overlay Ordinance, the City Council allocated funding for an intensive scientific study of the inner-city stream corridors of City, Red Butte, Emigration, and Parleys Creeks. Public Utilities is directed to manage the study and facilitate the public processes related to the multi-year study.
The streams in the watershed are also of critical importance, and the “Keep it Pure” campaign helps educated visitors to our critical watersheds of good stewardship practices. There are rules that are important to know when you are recreating in the watershed; for more information, visit “Keep it Pure.”
We need you to be a partner with us to ensure that our streams remain as clean and viable as possible, from the mountains and watersheds, to the creeks that run through our neighborhoods, to the Jordan River and the Great Salt Lake. Please visit www.keepitpure.com or the Riparian Corridor Study Report to learn how you can help.