There are two sewer systems in Salt Lake County: the sanitary sewer system and the storm sewer system.
The sanitary sewer takes wastewater from your sinks, toilets, showers, dishwashers, and washing machines to the water treatment plant. There, the pollutants in the water are either removed or reduced to acceptable levels and then the treated water is discharged into the river.
The storm sewer drains rainwater and snowmelt off the streets, parking lots, driveways, etc. This water goes directly into the nearest stream, river, pond, lake or canal without any treatment whatsoever, so dumping something into the gutter is no different than dumping it into the nearest creek.
The Salt Lake County Health Department is a member of the Stormwater Coalition .
What You Can Do
We all live downstream. Each of us can do our part to help ensure our natural waterways stay free of dangerous contaminants that hurt our health and our environments. Some things you can do:
- Wash your car on the lawn or at a commercial car wash.
- Pick up pet waste; bag and put it in the trash or flush it in the toilet.
- Mulch grass clippings and leave them on the lawn or compost them.
- Don’t spray off your driveway or sidewalk; sweep dirt into the lawn and pick up debris and put it into the trash. If you do choose to spray, use only clean water (no soaps or degreasers) and divert the runoff onto a landscaped area.
- Target fertilizers and pesticides to the lawn and garden.
- Dispose of paint, yard chemicals, automotive fluids, etc. through the household hazardous waste program—never dump them down the drain or gutter!
- Report illegal dumping (see next tab).
Dumping anything other than pure, clean water into the storm drain system is illegal.
If you see someone dumping into a storm drain or gutter, call the health department right away! Our emergency number is 385-468-8888 (option 8) and we answer environmental emergency calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Please be ready to give us important details like:
- the address of the incident
- descriptions of the person or vehicle involved
- the time of the incident
- your name and contact information (all reports are confidential and you can remain anonymous if you wish)
- If it's safe for you to do so, taking photographs of the incident can be especially helpful
Depending on the situation, the on-call inspector may respond to the dumping site immediately.