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Stormwater is a dirty word!

Stormwater runoff is rainwater that flows over land and directly into waterways. Stormwater runoff is not treated and is the #1 source of surface water pollution. Everything that finds its way into the drainage system - pet waste, grass clippings, fertilizer, pesticides, litter, heavy metals. - flows straight into our creeks, river, and ocean. Stormwater pollution impacts where we fish, where we swim, and what we drink. Remember, you are the solution to stormwater pollution!


Where does our water go? 

The drinking water treatment system treats and transports clean, potable, drinking water to homes and businesses.

The wastewater treatment system (also known as the sanitary sewer system) carries sewage and wastewater from homes and businesses, to the wastewater treatment plant. Wastewater is treated and cleaned before it is discharged into the Cape Fear River. Think of this as the "brush and flush" system.

The storm drainage system carries stormwater runoff from streets and property directly into waterways. The storm drainage system includes streets, storm drains, drainage ditches, pipes, culverts, retention ponds, wetlands, creeks, etc.  Remember, stormwater runoff is not treated!  

Which Watershed Do I Live in?

Everyone lives, works, and plays in a watershed. In fact, everywhere you go, you're in a watershed!  A watershed is an area of land that drains to a specific creek, lake or waterway.  Watersheds drain water from the highest point to the lowest point.  In Wilmington, watersheds drain into the Cape Fear River or Intracoastal Waterway.  These ultimately drain into the Atlantic Ocean. 


For example, if you live in the Hewletts Creek Watershed, stormwater runoff from your property will drain into Hewletts Creek first, then eventually into the Intracoastal Waterway, and then the Atlantic Ocean.


If you live in the Smith Creek Watershed, runoff from your property will drain into Smith Creek first, then into the Cape Fear River, and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean.


To find your watershed, click on the map and type in your address or just zoom in.








On a larger scale, Wilmington's Watersheds lie in both the Cape Fear River Basin and the White Oak River Basin. Howe, Bradley, Hewletts, and Whiskey Creek Watersheds are considered to be in the White Oak River Basin, although they don't flow into the White Oak River. These tidal creek watersheds drain directly into the Intracoastal Waterway. 



Randall Rain Garden

What is a Stormwater Solution?

A "stormwater solution" (also known as a BMP or SCM) is a personal action or on-the-ground practice that reduces polluted runoff flowing into waterways. Visit the Stormwater Demonstration Site located in Anne McCrary Park off Randall Parkway to view and learn about on-the-ground stormwater solutions.  You can also learn about stormwater solutions in our Citizen's Guide to Protecting Wilmington's Waterways.



On-the-Ground Stormwater Solutions:

  • Rain Barrel (Monthly Sale Info)
  • Rain Garden
  • Shoreline Buffer
  • Native Plants
  • Backyard Wetland
  • Pervious Pavement

Personal Actions/Solutions:

  • Picking up after your pet
  • Washing your car on the grass
  • Getting a soil test
  • Disposing of yard debris properly
  • Disposing of paint and chemicals properly
  • Not littering

Learn more about Stormwater Solutions:

Watershed Handout

Randall Rain Garden

Randall Rain Garden

Randall Rain Garden

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