Did You Know? All About the Stormwater System

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

What is stormwater?

Stormwater is rain, snow melt, and other precipitation that collects on the ground surface. It runs off roofs, streets and other land surfaces and gets absorbed by plants or soils. Surfaces that restrict the natural infiltration or flow of water into the ground (known as impervious surfaces) such as roads, buildings and parking lots increases the amount of stormwater that forms as runoff.

The stormwater system is important to make sure runoff travels away from homes and buildings. This protects private and public properties from flooding during rainfall, spring melt, and other precipitation events.

How is stormwater maintained?

The City of Grande Prairie maintains a stormwater system that helps direct runoff water underground and above ground through various types of infrastructure and drains untreated into the Bear Creek and other natural water bodies. The system consists of:

A big part of the above ground stormwater system is roadways. The City designs roads so that water flows towards catch basins and enters the underground stormwater system. To prevent overwhelming the system, underground infrastructure is designed to allow manageable amounts of water in at one time. This may result in some ponding during storms, but the water will eventually make its way down into the catch basin and to the Bear Creek.

How is stormwater managed?

Stormwater is managed through bylaws, planning and maintenance and best management practices. Bylaws include:

  • Lot Grading: ensures water drains away from homes and buildings
  • Drainage: prohibits materials from being released into the storm system
  • Animal Control: requires owners to dispose of animal waste in a sanitary manner

Planning and maintenance includes:

  • Standards, guidelines and design criteria for new development
  • Identification of required upgrades to the stormwater system
  • Street sweeping, catch basin cleaning and cleaning debris from inlets

Best management practices includes:

  • Spreading it with stormwater reuse, rain gardens, downspouts/sump hoses directed to permeable surfaces
  • Storing it with rain barrels and green roofs
  • Sinking it with permeable pavers and surfaces and by limiting the amount of hardscaping (concrete patios and driveways)

What happens to stormwater that doesn't get absorbed?

Excess runoff that doesn't soak into the ground picks up pollutants such as pet waste, salt, pesticides, fertilizer, leaves, litter, oil and grease. These pollutants flow into the City's open waterways, ditches, gutters, underground sewers, outfalls and other stormwater structures and negatively affects the health of our streams, rivers, wildlife and fish. Excess runoff can also cause higher and faster water flow during storms, which may result in flooding and property damage.

Grande Prairie has over 64,000 people, and new growth and development has covered much of the prairie landscape with impervious surfaces. As new development and re-development of existing areas continues, the amount of impervious surface increases, meaning more excess runoff. This adds to the pollutants and higher flows during storm events, requiring upgrades be made to the stormwater system to ensure continued management.

Everything outside your home drains untreated into the Bear Creek and other natural water bodies, which is why we all have a shared responsibility to ensure water draining into the system is clean. Learn more about what is permitted in the drainage system by reviewing the drainage bylaw.

How can residents help?

  • Cleaning up litter
  • Using biodegradable fertilizers that contain no harmful chemicals
  • Using a slow-release natural fertilizer for your lawn
  • Allowing plants and trees to grow in their natural and original habitats, such as those found near creeks and streams
  • Disposing toxic products at hazardous waste centres
  • Capturing stormwater through rain barrels or rain gardens

Did you know?

The Mountview residential neighbourhood had previously been subject to flooding during heavy rainfalls, due to an outdated storm system. In 2020, the City began upgrading the neighbourhood’s storm system to meet todays current standards, which included the installation of:

  • 32 new storm structures
  • Almost half a kilometre of new storm pipe
  • Two underground stormwater chambers
  • One outfall structure

Investing in the Mountview storm system reduced the chances of ponding on roads and prevented property owners from being largely impacted by storms.





What is stormwater?

Stormwater is rain, snow melt, and other precipitation that collects on the ground surface. It runs off roofs, streets and other land surfaces and gets absorbed by plants or soils. Surfaces that restrict the natural infiltration or flow of water into the ground (known as impervious surfaces) such as roads, buildings and parking lots increases the amount of stormwater that forms as runoff.

The stormwater system is important to make sure runoff travels away from homes and buildings. This protects private and public properties from flooding during rainfall, spring melt, and other precipitation events.

How is stormwater maintained?

The City of Grande Prairie maintains a stormwater system that helps direct runoff water underground and above ground through various types of infrastructure and drains untreated into the Bear Creek and other natural water bodies. The system consists of:

A big part of the above ground stormwater system is roadways. The City designs roads so that water flows towards catch basins and enters the underground stormwater system. To prevent overwhelming the system, underground infrastructure is designed to allow manageable amounts of water in at one time. This may result in some ponding during storms, but the water will eventually make its way down into the catch basin and to the Bear Creek.

How is stormwater managed?

Stormwater is managed through bylaws, planning and maintenance and best management practices. Bylaws include:

  • Lot Grading: ensures water drains away from homes and buildings
  • Drainage: prohibits materials from being released into the storm system
  • Animal Control: requires owners to dispose of animal waste in a sanitary manner

Planning and maintenance includes:

  • Standards, guidelines and design criteria for new development
  • Identification of required upgrades to the stormwater system
  • Street sweeping, catch basin cleaning and cleaning debris from inlets

Best management practices includes:

  • Spreading it with stormwater reuse, rain gardens, downspouts/sump hoses directed to permeable surfaces
  • Storing it with rain barrels and green roofs
  • Sinking it with permeable pavers and surfaces and by limiting the amount of hardscaping (concrete patios and driveways)

What happens to stormwater that doesn't get absorbed?

Excess runoff that doesn't soak into the ground picks up pollutants such as pet waste, salt, pesticides, fertilizer, leaves, litter, oil and grease. These pollutants flow into the City's open waterways, ditches, gutters, underground sewers, outfalls and other stormwater structures and negatively affects the health of our streams, rivers, wildlife and fish. Excess runoff can also cause higher and faster water flow during storms, which may result in flooding and property damage.

Grande Prairie has over 64,000 people, and new growth and development has covered much of the prairie landscape with impervious surfaces. As new development and re-development of existing areas continues, the amount of impervious surface increases, meaning more excess runoff. This adds to the pollutants and higher flows during storm events, requiring upgrades be made to the stormwater system to ensure continued management.

Everything outside your home drains untreated into the Bear Creek and other natural water bodies, which is why we all have a shared responsibility to ensure water draining into the system is clean. Learn more about what is permitted in the drainage system by reviewing the drainage bylaw.

How can residents help?

  • Cleaning up litter
  • Using biodegradable fertilizers that contain no harmful chemicals
  • Using a slow-release natural fertilizer for your lawn
  • Allowing plants and trees to grow in their natural and original habitats, such as those found near creeks and streams
  • Disposing toxic products at hazardous waste centres
  • Capturing stormwater through rain barrels or rain gardens

Did you know?

The Mountview residential neighbourhood had previously been subject to flooding during heavy rainfalls, due to an outdated storm system. In 2020, the City began upgrading the neighbourhood’s storm system to meet todays current standards, which included the installation of:

  • 32 new storm structures
  • Almost half a kilometre of new storm pipe
  • Two underground stormwater chambers
  • One outfall structure

Investing in the Mountview storm system reduced the chances of ponding on roads and prevented property owners from being largely impacted by storms.





Ask an Expert

Have a question about the City's stormwater system? Submit your question below. 

loader image
Didn't receive confirmation?
Seems like you are already registered, please provide the password. Forgot your password? Create a new one now.
  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Can water pollution detected in a creek or river be traced to a particular source? To what degree of accuracy can this be done if so?

    Greggry asked 7 months ago

    Depending on the pollutant, the City may be able to track a contaminant to a potential source. Visual indicators and water quality testing may be utilized in an effort to backtrack to a source, with a general area identified based on which outfall the pollutant was found at/in/near.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    What is going to happen to the Bear Creek reservoir? It seems to be going to seed and when reflooded, it will have a real problem with rotting vegetation that sprang up last summer.

    duff asked 7 months ago

    The vegetation, which grew last summer and will be below the spring water level, does not impact the capacity or function of the reservoir. The vegetation will naturally decompose, releasing nutrients into the water, through normal processes. This occurrence is comparable to the annual cycle seen at most natural waterbodies in our region.

  • Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    I would like to learn more about the storm water system in Lakeland. We have an excess amount of water that pools in our backyard during the springtime and storms

    Jaymee1649 asked 7 months ago

    The Lakeland area utilizes a variety of storm systems including public underground systems as well as public and private surface drainage systems. Please contact us directly by dialing 311 to discuss any specific concerns on private property.

Page last updated: 30 Mar 2022, 11:30 AM