Where does stormwater go after it enters storm drains?

Our storm drains do not connect to water treatment facilities, but rather drain untreated into local waterways.  As a result, contaminated stormwater runoff is a major source of pollution to our local waterways. Excessive contamination of runoff causes sedimentation of our streams, water quality degradation, and unhealthy water conditions for humans and wildlife. 

Stormwater in Charlottesville flows from smaller creeks such as Rock Creek, Schenks Branch, Lodge Creek, and Pollocks Branch, into larger creeks like Moores Creek and Meadow Creek, and eventually into the Rivanna River.  

View a map of the City’s local waterways, of which there are over 45 miles. From the Rivanna River, water flows into the Middle James, or Piedmont Region, of the James River.  The James River then takes our water to the Chesapeake Bay. Finally, the water from the Bay ends up in the Atlantic Ocean.

View a Public Service Announcement the City created to illustrate stormwater’s journey.

Only Rain down the Storm Drain

Show All Answers

1. What is stormwater, and why is it important?
2. Where does stormwater go after it enters storm drains?
3. What are impervious surfaces, and how do they affect stormwater?
4. Why is sedimentation a problem for waterways?
5. What is green stormwater infrastructure?
6. What is a watershed?