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What is Stormwater?​

The water that enters storm drains found along streets is called stormwater. Storm drains are the drainage system that ensures water from heavy rains is diverted away from buildings. Any water that enters the storm drains flows directly from Lethbridge streets into the Oldman River or into storage retention facilities called storm ponds.   

Stormwater Collection System

 The City's stormwater collection system consists of 460 kilometres of sewer, 2,000 catch basins and 26 storm water management facilities. The runoff collected by the system is discharged at 16 outfalls located along the river valley.

Stormwater Pollution

Unfortunately, there are usually other things washed into storm drains that are harmful to the river ecosystem. To protect the Oldman River ecosystem and water quality, the City of
Lethbridge has approved a Drainage Bylaw effective June 29, 2009. The bylaw applies to everyone and regulates what can and cannot be put into the stormwater system. Protecting our fresh water resources is important as they are limited and provide life for humans and other living things.

It is important to know that:

Anything that enters street storm drains goes directly into the Oldman River untreated. In order to protect water quality, and fish and wildlife habitat, only clean water or naturally occurring stormwater should enter the drainage system.

Never allow the following to enter the storm drain system:

          • soil, sediment or other solid  matter (including yard waste)
          • gas, oil, transmission fluid, and antifreeze
          • solvents and paints
          • water from pools and hot tubs
          • industrial waste
          • soaps or detergents (including biodegradable products)
          • pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers
          • cooking oils and grease
          • cement/concrete waste
          • sawdust and construction materials
          • any substance or combination of substances that emit odour that are washed down the storm drains will harm the river environment.


DID YOU KNOW that we have been finding goldfish in our storm​ ponds?  Click here to find out more information and how you can help!

What happens if you don't comply with the Drainage Bylaw?
Failure to comply with the Drainage Bylaw can result in:  
  • fines ranging from $75 to $10,000 and/or   
  • the cost of remedial orders,
    containment and clean up.

Who should I contact to report an incident?

The Bylaw now obligates you to report and mitigate any discharge of prohibited materials whether accidental or intentional. If the release creates an immediate danger to public health and safety, call 9-1-1 for the Fire Department HAZMAT Team to respond.


For other violations and incidents, please report them to City of Lethbridge Public Operations at 403-320-3850.

Stormwater Education

The River Starts Here.......tells a story about how our yard habits can negatively impact our stormwater and Oldman River.
In Lethbridge, stormwater goes into storm drains and back into the Oldman River untreated. It can wash pollutants from our streets and yards into the river. Polluted stormwater can harm fish and wildlife and degrade your water quality.
Click here to view a larger printable The River Starts Here.......


Adopt A Stormdrain in your neighbourhood and keep our Oldman River and neighbourhoods free of debris, healthy and clean. Find out how you can get involved in the Adopt A Stormdrain program.


Yellow Fish Road is a storm drain painting program for youth to help raise awareness about storm drain pollution.  By painting yellow fish next to storm drains and delivering fish-shaped information brochures everyone in the community is reminded that storm water returns to the Oldman River, untreated.  Find out how you can get involved in Yellow Fish Road! 


Gutter Buddy
is a program that encourages residents to keep their storm drains and gutters free of debris.  Find out how you can get involved in the Gutter Buddy program!


 Prairie Urban Gardens. Xeriscaping is the practice of converting conventional turf yards into beautiful, practical and environmentally sustainable areas. By following at least some of the seven principles of xeriscaping, yards and gardens can use less water, and use no fertilizer or pesticides. Less on our yards, means less in our water! 

What do I need to clean out my gutters and stormdrains? Some items to get you started may include:

  • gloves
  • garbage bag (s)
  • small shovel/tool for picking up items
Remember, always be safe when cleaning out your gutters and stormdrains! There can be unsafe items. Always have an adult help and keep your eyes open for unsafe items. If unsafe items are found, call Public Operations at 403-320-3850.