Storm Sewer System

Storm sewer pipes carry rain, melting snow, and other clear water (but not wastewater) to streams, ponds, or other water bodies. The runoff is directed to the storm sewer system through storm drains in and under the gutters (catch basins) of the street system. As water moves toward these drains, it picks up pollutants (soil, leaves, grass clippings, pet waste, oil, fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, and litter) and carries them into the storm sewer system. This water is not treated before it is returned to the environment, but devices such as storm water ponds help filter sediment and pollutants before the water reaches natural waterways. Golden Valley proactively manages its water resources to enhance and maintain the quality of surface and ground water.

Maintaining The Storm Sewer System

Golden Valley’s 90 miles of storm sewer pipes are closer to the surface (3 to 15 feet underground) than sanitary sewer or water pipes because the water they handle is continually flowing downhill to the nearest outlet (a pond, lake, river, creek, or wetland). The City's storm sewer system also includes around 1,000 catch basins (storm drains) and multiple storm water ponds.

To keep storm water flowing smoothly, the City:

  • cleans ponds
  • cleans storm water pipes, catch basins (storm drains), and outlets
  • installs and cleans sump catch basins
  • installs and cleans environmental manholes (which catch sediment while allowing storm water to flow through)
  • sweeps streets

Bassett Creek

The City also maintains the flow of Bassett Creek, which flows in from the west and meanders through the City to the east. To prevent flooding, the City checks the creek for debris that will restrict the flow. Certain areas along the creek are in the flood plain and will rise in flood conditions.

Storm Water Management Programs

The City of Golden Valley administers several storm water management programs. The following two programs require the property owner to petition the City in order to implement the project.

Rear Yard Drainage

The City's rear yard drainage policy allows property owners to petition for improvements to correct a problem drainage area. The City will provide property owners with technical assistance regarding the problem; however, the City will not assist with the cost of any improvements, as it is only responsible for the drainage from the roadways and respective right-of-way. All costs associated with any improvements performed as a City project are assessed to each property contributing flow to the problem area.

How Property Owners Can Help

If the gutter in front of your property becomes clogged with leaves or debris, clear it out. Such efforts can prevent a significant amount of run-off from entering the storm sewer system and ending up in Bassett Creek, Sweeney Lake, or the Mississippi River. If you have a catch basin on your street or live near a lake, pond, or stream with an outlet basin, consider participating in one of the City's storm drain adoption programs.

You can also help by maintaining healthy lawns and not leaving debris or possible pollutants on lawns, driveways, or streets.

Winter Storm Water Management

Road salt and deicing chemicals contain chemicals toxic to fish and plants. Melted snow and ice carry these harmful substances through sewers, leading to streams, rivers, and lakes. Limit your salt use by shoveling and snow blowing often during storms, knowing when to salt and how much to use, and by sweeping up leftover salt. Click here for more information.

Sump Pumps

Sump pump systems are designed to capture surface or ground water that enters basements or crawl spaces and pump it away from the house. If you have a sump pump, make sure the discharge is directed outside your house and NOT into the sanitary sewer system. That’s called a cross connection, is a leading cause of inflow and infiltration, and results in higher sanitary sewer charges.