Stormwater Quality Management Committee
Clark County Regional Flood Control District
600 S. Grand Central Pkwy. Las Vegas, NV 89106

The Storm Drain System


In the Las Vegas Valley, there are two systems of drainage. The Sanitary Sewer or Wastewater System, and the Storm Drain System. The Wastewater Sewage System takes household wastewater (such as water waste from sinks, toilets, washers,etc.) and carries it through a home's plumbing and into an underground sewer pipe.

On the other hand, and as seen in the graphic below, the Storm Drain System carries discharge off of city streets and routes it into curb side catch basins. From there, it also enters another underground, but completely separate system.

Household
Wastewater enters
the Sanitary Sewer System

Street surface runoff enters the underground storm drain system.

The Problem

Illegal dumping in the streets and in the storm drain system is one of the largest contributors to water pollution in the country. The exposed open flood control channels and tunnels are often easy targets for illegal dumping and convenient trash disposal.

Soiled diapers, shopping carts, yard waste and used oil containers are just some of the many items tossed into the channels from above. When it rains, water runoff will carry these items through the storm drain system and eventually make its way into the Las Vegas Wash.

Click here to learn how to recognize potential illegal/illicit discharges into the storm drain system.

Pollution Control Efforts

The responsibility for cleaning and maintaining the storm drain system throughout the Las Vegas Valley is shared by all of the governmental entities within their respective jurisdictions. The City's of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, and Mesquite along with stewardship of Clark County develop work plans and budgets each year to maintain the system. Each catch basin and control channel is routinely cleaned and maintained to help keep them free of debris and trash.

During 1999, approximately 250 miles of channel were inspected and/or maintained throughout the service area of the District, along with several major storm drains, and 49 detention basins. Although the effort to remove illegally dumped debris inside the storm drain system will continue, citizens can help us by reporting illegal dumpers by contacting the Southern Nevada Health District
at 702-759-1000.

Past Flooding in the Las Vegas Valley

The recorded reports of flooding in the Las Vegas Valley date back almost one hundred years. From 1905 to 1975, 184 different flooding events resulted in damages to private property and public facilities. Since 1960, the area has experienced at least eight "million dollar floods." In that same period, 25 lives were lost in twelve separate flash flood events.

In July 1999, torrential rains produced severe, and in some cases, unprecedented flash-flooding across the Las Vegas Valley. The resulting runoff from these rains caused widespread street flooding and record flows in normally dry washes and flood control detention basins (Sutko,1999). The floods caused over $20,000,000 in property damage and took two lives. Ultimately the storm forced millions of gallons of runoff to enter Lake Mead by way of Las Vegas Wash.

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