Where Does Storm Water End Up?

By: Elizabeth Schilder Email
By: Elizabeth Schilder Email
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With the chance of more rain in the forecast and rivers already raging, you have to wonder where is all that water going to go. While common sense dictates that whatever is not absorbed into the ground will go down the drain, what happens after may surprise you.

Sediment and trash carried away by the melting snow and spring rain is dumped directly into our waterways.

"Basically whatever gets washed down the street gets washed out into the river," the Director of Public Works and Utilities for the City of Wausau Brad Marquardt explained.

The City of Wausau alone has more than 200 miles of storm mains, all converging into one big pipe that dumps polluted water into the Wisconsin River. That's a huge problem. One that the City of Wausau is working to clean up.

"In our newer subdivisions we have detention ponds in those so everything that gets collected in the street, the storm sewer system, empties into the detention ponds where it gets a chance for sediment to settle out," Marquardt told NewsChannel 7.

In addition, replacing storm drains with new more efficient ones is now part of any road constructions project.

"They have a sump on the bottom so there's about a 2 foot section before the pipe goes out to the storm sewer and that gives a chance for sediment to be collected in the storm inlets," Marquardt said.

Contrary to popular belief, storm mains and sewer mains are separate, meaning any water that goes through storm mains is not treated.

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