Storm drains in Calgary
Storm drains (or catch basins) are the main way stormwater gets into our underground pipes called the stormwater management system.
There are about 60,000 storm drains in Calgary which capture water off sidewalks, streets and roads.
The metal grates that can be seen at the edge of the road are only a portion of the catch basin structure.
Under the sidewalk is a barrel that collects the water. The barrel is attached to a pipe that allows the water to be whisked away into our rivers.
Snow and ice plugging your storm drain
Follow these steps if it's safe and possible to do:
- Clear snow, ice or debris like leaves and sticks away from the drain.
- Create a channel to help water flow
Do not attempt to clean a storm drain if:
- there is significant accumulation of ice,
- it’s submerged in water,
- or if the drain is full of debris or if the grate is damaged.
Remember, water entering our storm drains eventually travels to Calgary’s rivers and streams without water treatment. Never dump chemicals or use ice salt on storm drains.
Pooled water on your street
In some areas, The City installs inlet control devices in the storm drains to manage how fast water flows into the pipes from the storm drain.
These devices are designed to keep extra water on the road until the stormwater system can accept the extra water. This prevents the system from becoming overwhelmed with stormwater, avoiding water backups into basements or flooding into houses, garages and businesses.
If the water on the road or street has not drained after 90-120 minutes, please contact 311 or fill out the online service request below.
Protecting your home
- Maintain positive drainage on your lot - away from structures without adverse effect to neighbours or public property
- Conduct regular maintenance and clear debris in eavestroughs and downspouts.
- Ensure downspouts discharge a minimum of 2 metres from public infrastructure (sidewalks & pathways), 1-2 m from any building foundations, and are directed towards the street, lane or swale, while not impacting your neighbours or public property.
- Keep any grassed or concrete swales on your property free from debris, ice or obstructions.
- Regularly inspect grading around your foundation and fill any settling or depressions.
- Conduct regular maintenance on sump pumps. Ensure sump pumps discharge away from 1-2 m from building foundations, while not impacting your neighbour or public infrastructure.