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
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
the Sanitary Sewer System
surface runoff enters the underground storm drain system.
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
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
Flooding in the Las Vegas Valley
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.