Storm Drain Marking

What is a storm drain?

Storm drains are used to collect the rainwater that flows off of roads, parking lots and driveways. 

After water enters a storm drain in Chilliwack, it either:

  1. flows into streams or ditches, or
  2. percolates through the ground and recharges groundwater resources.

Why should residents be concerned?

Water that enters a storm drain is not treated or filtered for pollutants before it is released to the environment!  Therefore, any pollutants or chemicals that enter storm drains are released directly to the environment, into streams, ditches, and groundwater.

As rainwater flows over roads, parking lots and driveways, it can collect litter, car wash detergent, oil, gas, fertilizer, pesticides and anything else that will float or dissolve in the water.  These substances can affect drinking water quality and harm the environment.

NEVER dump any substance in or around a storm drain!  This includes paint, antifreeze, soapy water and oil.  The only substance that should be allowed to enter a storm drain is pure rainwater.  Report any dumping of substances in and around storm drains to the City of Chilliwack at (604) 793-2907.

Storm Drain Marking Program

Volunteers and non-profit groups can help raise public awareness about the impacts of polluting storm drains by participating in the Storm Drain Marking Program.  In Chilliwack, there is a dual process for storm drain marking:

Storm Drain Marking with blue faucets
In some areas of the city, particularly south of Highway 1, storm drains flow into the ground, where the water percolates through the soil and into the groundwater.  Since Chilliwack's drinking water comes from a groundwater source, the Sardis-Vedder Aquifer, contaminated stormwater could affect the quality of our drinking awater.  In this part of the City, storm drains are being marked with a blue faucet symbol.

The City of Chilliwack organizes storm drain marking with blue faucets, and has free Storm Drain Marking kits available for non-profit groups interested in the program.  If you are interested in participating, please contact the City's Engineering Department at (604) 793-2907.

Storm Drain Marking with yellow fish
In some areas of the city, storm drains flow into streams and can impact fish and fish habitat.  In this part of the city, storm drains are being marked with a yellow fish symbol.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans organizes storm drain marking with yellow fish and has a system of volunteer coordinators in place. For more information please contact the coordinator for Chilliwack, David Blair at 604.793.2781.

Storm Drain Marking with Red and Yellow Squares
There are some storm drains in the city marked with red and yellow squares. The red and yellow markers tell firefighters and flushing crews that chlorine can go down that drain. If there is a fire and there is no marking (only one in 10 have this) they must cover the basin as chlorine cannot go into the river.

What can residents do to protect Chilliwack's water resources?

There are many ways that you can help protect our water resources:

  • Wash your car at a car wash instead of at home.  If you must wash your car at home, do it on your lawn.  This will prevent soapy water and cleaners from flowing into a storm drain.
  • Properly dispose of household chemicals and hazardous wastes, including paint, oil, antifreeze and cleaners.  For disposal options, click here.
  • Use kitty litter to clean up any spills that occur on your driveway to prevent the spilled material from entering a storm drain.
  • Immediately report illegal dumping of substances into storm drains to the City of Chilliwack Engineering Department at (604) 793-2907.