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What is Stormwater?

  SW_Urban CityStormwater refers to rainwater or snowmelt that travels over impervious land surfaces as runoff. Stormwater pollution results when this runoff picks up, carries and transports various pollutants (oil, grease, chemicals, sediment, nutrients, pathogens) along streets, drains, open channels, and storm sewer systems. This runoff is eventually discharged untreated into nearby water bodies. However, in combined sewer systems, stormwater flows with sewage to a wastewater treatment plant.

In urban areas, stormwater management is especially important due to decreases in natural land cover and the expansion of impervious surfaces, such as rooftops, sidewalks and roadways. These surfaces exacerbate runoff because they change the permeability of the landscape—preventing rainwater from soaking in or infiltrating the soil. Some of the impacts of stormwater include flooding, sewer overflows, and nonpoint source pollution.

Stormwater is managed using storm sewers as well as stormwater controls, which include green infrastructure and low impact development.

Join the discussion about stormwater issues on WEF's LinkedIn Stormwater Group.  


Latest WEF Stormwater News 

For the latest in stormwater news, check out the Stormwater Report website or follow us on Twitter @WEFstormwater.

 SWR header 



Recent Stormwater Report Features

Water and Wellness: Green Infrastructure for Health Co-Benefits  
Social Scientist Kathleen Wolf describes the additional health and wellness benefits provided by urban green spaces associated with stormwater management.
All the Way to the Ocean 
The children’s book All the Way to the Ocean, a tale about stormwater pollution and its effects on marine life, is making it cool for kids to pick up trash.
Colorado’s “Taupe Infrastructure”  
Colorado is a headwaters state with pristine water quality from mountain streams. Low impact development (LID) is viewed as an option for maintaining those healthy waters and meeting high goals for receiving waters.
Relabeling Extreme Rainfall Events To Improve Public Understanding  
The 100-year rain storm is understood poorly by the public. Author Thomas Grisa describes a rating system measuring a storm’s severity rather than its rarity.
Residual Designated Authority – Friend or Foe to the Public Sector?  
Residual Designated Authority, a little known Clean Water Act provision, could address existing unregulated discharges and improve equitable cost distribution among dischargers. Yet there may be unintended consequences.

 Read more features 


Stormwater Congress

2014 Stormwater Congress
New Orleans Morial Convention Center
September 27 - October 1
Register Now!  

 View more events 

Note: Proceedings from WEF events prior to 2011 are available to members at no cost on IngentaConnect. Proceedings from more recent events, including the 2013 Stormwater Congress and 2012 Stormwater Symposium, are available for sale at  E-WEF

 World Water stormwater logo 

  WorldWater Stormwater Cover     

 Countries throughout the world have made strides in stormwater control, however the market remains underdeveloped – yet poised for major growth. World Water: Stormwater Management will cover this emerging global market.  A quarterly international magazine by the Water Environment Federation Publishing UK Ltd. The magazine is dedicated to all topics stormwater, from research to policy to technology solutions. Subscribe to the print version or find complimentary copies online.



A workgroup dedicated to the investigation of a national stormwater testing and evaluation program.  Learn more about the effort, and check out the white paper, "Investigation into the Feasibility of a National Testing and Evaluation Program for Stormwater Products and Practices."




 Video iconWEF collected the videos on StormTV through the Stormwater Call for Media, an effort to share innovative stormwater projects through pictures and video. WEF does not endorse the services, products, or projects featured in the listed videos. Watch these and a growing list of videos on the stormwater playlist featured on the Water Environment Federation’s YouTube channel.



Select Stormwater Resources


User-Fee-Funded Stormwater Programs  
A must-read for agencies and public works departments interested in developing charge systems for stormwater programs based on fee structures.
Design of Urban Stormwater Controls (MOP 23)
Developed by WEF and ASCE, this MOP focuses on consolidating technologies under a comprehensive view of stormwater management in an attempt to foster a convergence between traditional stormwater controls and green infrastructure.


More books 


Another 100-Year Storm Modern Rainfall Patterns and Management Strategies   
Green Infrastructure: Economic, Social, Technical, and Policy Overview From the Regulatory, Academic, and Consulting Viewpoint  


More Courses 


Webcast Recordings 

A Roadmap to Developing a LID Design Competition 
Investigation of a National Program to Test and Evaluate Stormwater Products and Practices 
User-Fee Funded Stormwater Utilities: Update to the 1994 WEF Manual 


More webcasts 

For members - download webcasts older than one year in the WEFCOM Webcasts & Online Courses community


More Resources to Share 

Click here to see the most recent in reports published in the stormwater sector.


Opportunities for Involvement: WEF Committees 

Apply Online  WEFCOM logo    

 Visit these committees on WEFCOM! > Get Instructions here  


Stormwater Committee 

Stormwater Committee 
WEF staff contact: Seth Brown
Tel:    703-684-2423  
WEFCOM Stormwater Community 


 Watershed Committee  

Watershed Management Committee 
WEF staff contact: Seth Brown
Tel:    703-684-2423 
WEFCOM Watersheds Community 


Groundwater committee 

Groundwater Committee
WEF staff contact:  Theresa Mixon
Tel: 703-684-2400 ext 7214  
WEFCOM Groundwater Community 


 Collection systems committee 

 Collection Systems Committee
WEF staff contact: Christine Radke
703-684-2400 x 7013
 WEFCOM Collection Systems Community