Stormwater FAQs

Raindrops photo


What is Stormwater? 
"Stormwater" is water that flows across the land — and it is not limited to what falls from the sky. It includes water that runs off any hard surface, from roads to roofs, or even sun-baked fields. This runoff is NOT treated before it enters the storm drainage system, which leads directly to nearby waterways. That means any pollution collected by the runoff is carried into local streams, creeks, and rivers, causing trouble for marine life, plant life, wildlife, and people — in short, ALL life is impacted by stormwater pollution.  

How Does Stormwater Affect Eugene's Water Quality?

In eastern Eugene, storm drains empty into the Mill Race and the Willamette River. In west Eugene, storm drains flow into Amazon Creek which leads north to Fern Ridge Reservoir, to the Long Tom River, and ultimately to the Willamette River. The stormwater collection system includes all publicly maintained pipes, culverts, gutters, catch basins, ditches, channels, ponds, wetlands and related waterways. 

Problems occur when water flows across the land, picks up pollutants and carries them into local waterways via a stormwater system. In Eugene, storm drains flow directly–untreated–to local creeks, ponds, wetlands and rivers. And because these pollutants can come right back to us through the water cycle (evaporation, transpiration, storage, precipitation), when we protect Eugene's stormwater, we also protect the overall quality of water for Oregon and the nation! Read more in the most recent issue of Clean Water Connections.

Do your home projects affect local water quality?

Yes! Stormwater picks up pollutants from your roof, lawn and driveway and carries them into the storm drainage system, which leads to nearby waterways. Learn how you can prevent pollution on our Stormwater Information page.