Stormwater is water runoff from roads, driveways, roofs and other surfaces that can either be collected or returned to the natural environment.
Stormwater is currently collected through the use of stormwater drains and rainwater tanks in Western Australia.
Water which has runoff driveways and roads is collected by using constructed drains and is then returned to oceans and waterways or directed into compensating basins.
Compensating basins are sandy basins where collected stormwater can be stored for a short time before it soaks back into the ground to recharge underwater aquifers.
Water can also be collected from roofs and other surface areas. It's then channeled into rain water tanks where it can be stored for use by households and businesses. The water collected in rainwater tanks is not connected to the local water supply.
Unlike wastewater, stormwater that is collected in drains is not treated before it is returned to the environment and is often contaminated with things such as:
- garden waste
- engine oil and petrol
- pesticides and insecticides
- dirt and soil
Some of these materials will break down as they enter into the ground and waterways. Most of these pollutants don't break down and can have negative effects when they come in contact with plant and animal life. It is because of this that it is very important that stormwater is free from pollutants in order to protect the natural environment.
Test your knowledge with our stormwater e-learning games!
Stormwater pollution – upper primary
Stormwater pollution – high school