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Reminder to residents: only rain in the storm drain

July 13, 2021 9:50 AM
(Red Deer, Alberta)

As residents work in their yards and gardens over the summer, they’re reminded that what goes on their lawns – or spills off them – will end up in the Red Deer River, untreated.

As rainfall runoff flows across sidewalks, driveways, grass and asphalt, it picks up pollutants and carries them into the storm drain. Hazardous substances spilled, dumped, or left on the ground are washed into the stormwater collection system and the river. These materials harm our environment and pollute our source of drinking water. They also add to the need to treat our drinking water during Spring Run-off.

Everything that enters a storm drain goes directly into the Red Deer River, untreated by the Wastewater Treatment Plant. Anything other than rain or snow can pollute our watershed, harm aquatic habitat, create a potential public health concern or generate unpleasant odours after entering a storm drain (also called a catch basin).

“Many people don’t realize that the actions they take to care for their yards can affect our river and harm the environment,” said Lauren Maris, Environmental Programs Specialist. “There are many small changes residents can make that will impact the cost and difficulty in treating our source of drinking water.”

Residents can play their part in protecting the environment and our source of drinking water by:

  • Picking up litter
  • Cleaning up pet waste
  • Preventing leaves and grass clippings from entering storm drains
  • Avoiding fertilizers and pesticides
  • Washing vehicles at a car wash instead of at home
  • Ensuring vehicles do not leak fluids
  • Draining pools and hot tubs with a hose leading to a basement floor drain or bathtub, rather than into your yard, back lane or storm drains
  • Reporting spills: call Environmental Services at 403-342-8750 if you know any of the following materials have ended up in storm drains:
    • Hazardous materials, including fuel, chemicals and paint
    • Tile grout or concrete wash water from driveways

Learn more about Red Deer’s stormwater system at

­For more information, please contact:

Communications & Strategic Planning
The City of Red Deer

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