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Stormwater Pollution Prevention

We are all connected
Stormwater Pollution Prevention

Stormwater Pollution

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We Are All Connected

In Boston, we are all connected through our water. People, who live, work in, or visit the city all enjoy our harbor, rivers, brooks, and ponds – our waterways – and keeping them pollution-free is a priority. When it rains or snows, the water that flows down our streets and sidewalks, called stormwater, picks up materials along the way.

Stormwater flows through our neighborhoods, into catch basins, then into streams, rivers, and eventually into Boston Harbor. Catch basins are the grates on our streets, which collect the stormwater runoff and anything unintentionally placed or purposefully dumped on the street. Catch basins connect to the storm drain system, which moves the water and everything in the water, into the Charles, Neponset, and Mystic Rivers and into the harbor. The storm drain system is not connected to the sewer system, so the stormwater runs directly into waterways and the harbor.

2 underground systems


What Is Stormwater Pollution?

Discarded items, including trash and pet waste, and hazardous materials, such as pesticides, fertilizers, automotive fluids, motor oil, and paint on the ground are picked up by stormwater and can flow into the storm drain system. These pollutants can be harmful to water quality and the environment. By properly disposing of these items and keeping them from entering the storm drain system, you can help prevent pollution in Boston’s waterways.

What Can We Do?

We Are All Connected! Learn what you can do to prevent stormwater pollution.

Boston’s storm drain system connects directly to local waterways. You can help prevent pollution!