35th Anniversary logo for Friends of Casco Bay

Storm drains are more important than you may think

People walk past storm drains every day without giving them a thought.

Yet, storm drains deserve our attention. Storm drains are designed to help prevent flooding by diverting rainwater from our streets and parking lots into a natural body of water. But when storm drains are clogged or misused, they deliver unwanted pollution to streams, rivers, and Casco Bay.

Will you help keep pollution out of our storm drains?

It is important to the health of the Bay that storm drains stay clear and free of litter, waste, and chemicals. We can each do our part to help keep storm drains working as they should:

  • Clear leafy debris and other material from the storm drain so water can flow into it.
  • Move your car or other obstructions when your community schedules street sweeping. Municipalities sweep the streets to keep their storm drain systems working properly. Portland has geared up for their fall sweeping, and other communities may be doing so as well.
  • Never put anything down a storm drain. This includes: dog poop whether it is bagged or not, trash, cigarettes, hazardous wastes, such as household cleaners, unused paint, paint thinner, used oil, and lawn care chemicals.
  • Pick up after your pet and toss the waste in the trash.
  • Hang on to your leftover paints and pesticides for municipality-designated household hazardous waste collection days.
  • Don’t dump outdated medicines down a storm drain.
  • Pick up litter so it never makes it to a storm drain.
  • Remember, Casco Bay is downstream from everything in the watershed!

In Portland, street sweepers remove an average of 2,666 tons of grit, trash, and debris each year! A cigarette butt or pet waste thrown into a storm drain may seem like a small thing, but those small items add up.

Thank you for helping reduce stormwater pollution to Casco Bay. Your efforts will complement the work municipalities are doing to reduce the flow of pollutants such as fertilizer, oil, pesticides, dirt, bacteria, and trash to our coastal waters.

These images of dog poop bags and other debris at an outfall (left) and being cleaned out using special equipment (right) are courtesy of City of Portland’s Public Works Department.