Storm Water Pollution Prevention

Storm Drains

A storm drain is a pipe and culvert system that collects and carries rainwater from streets, yards, parking lots and rooftops and discharges it untreated into creeks, streams and lakes.

Many people believe that storm drains are connected to sanitary sewer systems and that storm water is treated at sewage treatment plants. This is not true! Storm water is not treated.

Everything that goes into storm drains, such as trash, pesticides, paint, chemicals, motor oil, grease, leaves, soil deposits, and any other solids or liquids are transported by water to our creeks, streams, and lakes. These pollutants pose a significant threat to birds, fish and other aquatic life. This problem is ranked as the highest ecological risk that impacts our region! Help keep our creeks, streams and lakes pollution free!


Widespread water pollution comes from many sources, such as:

  • Automobiles leaking oil and grease, vehicles exhaust and brake lining residue
  • Trash and litter, leaves, lawn clippings and organic matter
  • Household cleaners and solvents
  • Lawn and garden care products, such as pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers

Non-point source pollution is ranked as the highest ecological risk that impacts our region. Many pollutants like motor oil, pesticides and paint are carelessly dumped into storm drains by people.

Non-point source pollution poses a significant threat to the birds, fish and other aquatic life that live in our local creeks, streams and lakes. 

What You Can Do to Help

Recycle used motor oil and antifreeze. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that each year 180 million gallons of used motor oil gets dumped into storm drains or into the ground.

  • Use a shutoff nozzle when washing your car
  • Use water and cleaners sparingly
  • Utilize biodegradable products
  • Use pesticides and fertilizers carefully, following instructions for use, storage and disposal
  • Make a habit of recycling reusable materials
  • Buy products labeled "non-toxic." Never put unwanted hazardous materials in a trashcan. Take them to a local collection site for safe disposal

Who to Contact

The Village of Olympia Fields Department of Public Works at 708 503-8200 to report misuse of storm drains or a spill or discharge into a storm drain.

Call the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association at 708-206-1155 for information on dates and locations of household hazardous waste collection sites for safe disposal of paint, pesticides and other hazardous products.

Call your private scavenger service for information on recycling of cans, paper and plastics. Additional information