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What is stormwater?

water cycle

It is water from precipitation (rain, snow melt, etc.) that accumulates on the surface.  As it flows, it collects and transports pollutants (soil, pet waste, salt, pesticides, fertilizer, oil and grease, leaves, litter, etc.). Stormwater is part of the water cycle.

A portion of the stormwater gets absorbed into the soil, which is called infiltration. The excess water that flows across a surface is called runoff. Impermeable surfaces (roofs, concrete, pavement, etc.) do not allow water to infiltrate into the soil and contributes to the amount of runoff.

Where does our stormwater go?

Runoff enters into the storm system before finally flowing untreated into Bear Creek. This runoff will eventually make its way north to the Arctic Ocean. See watershed for more information. 

How does stormwater get to Bear Creek?

Stormwater gets collected and transported through Grande Prairie's inter-connected storm system. It consists of:

  • Open waterways, channels
  • Ditches, grass swales
  • Streets, gutters, concrete swales, catch basins, manholes
  • Underground sewers
  • Stormwater ponds
  • Outfall structures

Why is stormwater managed?

Historically we tried to get rid of stormwater as quick as possible. However water is a resource that needs to be managed in sustainable manner. Stormwater is managed for two main reasons.

  • Volume - to prevent flooding
  • Quality - to reduce pollutants and enhance the environment

How does the Province of Alberta manage stormwater?alberta logo

Alberta Environment and Water has many programs and services that address our water. 

  • Legislation
    • Water Act
    • Environmental Protection & Enhancement Act
    • Fisheries Act
  • Protection
  • Standards and guidelines (Best Management Practices)
  • Performance assurance
  • Knowledge and awareness

How does the City of Grande Prairie manage stormwater?gp logo

  • Bylaws
  • Planning
  • Maintenance
    • Street sweeping
    • Catch basin cleaning
    • Clearing debris from inlets
  • Public education & awareness
    • this website
    • pamphlets
      • Storm drains are for rain
    • campaigns, etc.

What can I do on my property to help stormwater?

The best way to handle stormwater is to:

  • store it
  • spread it
  • sink it

Depending on your land-use, there are a variety of Best Management Practices (BMPs) that designers, engineers and landscapers can utilize to manage stormwater on your property. The BMPs are categorized as follows:

  • Source control
  • Lot level
  • Conveyance
  • End-of-pipe
  • Low impact development



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Last updated: 1/5/2012 10:53:11 AM