Pittsburgh’s streets have more than 25,000 storm drains, to catch stormwater and direct it into the sewer systems. Unfortunately, rainstorms often overwhelm the sewer system, and untreated sewage overflows into our streams and rivers.
That rainwater carries anything on the street — from leaves, pet waste and motor oil to deicing salt, fertilizer or other pollutants — with it. This harms local water quality, fish and wildlife, and recreation.
“The unassuming storm drains in your neighborhood are not trash cans — what goes into them can end up in our three rivers,” says Will Pickering, executive director of the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA). “By taking simple actions every day to protect storm drains, we all can make a big difference for our streams and rivers.”
Sewer pipes carry stormwater directly to our streams and rivers in some places. In others, the stormwater enters sewer pipes and mixes with sewage on the way to the wastewater treatment plant. Rainstorms often inundate the combined sewer system, causing stormwater and untreated sewage to overflow into local streams and rivers.
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