Storm Water Division

Department of Public Works Engineering Division is currently working on implementing its Stormwater Management Program for the requirements of the MS4 and NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) regulations.
The Town of Reading’s Stormwater Management Program consists of Public Education, Illicit Discharge Detection, Mapping, Outfall Inspections, Construction Site Runoff Control, and Good House Keeping Practices. All of these components will ensure clean stormwater in the Town of Reading and a cleaner environment as a whole for our future.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is storm water?
Storm Water is water that falls from the sky as rain, hail, or melting snow and drains into the municipal drain system, such as catch basins or drainage swales that eventually lead to a wetland or body of water, such a as lake, stream, river or ocean.

What is a storm drainage system?
The Storm Drainage System is a series of catch basins, and drainage ditches that collect and channel run off from streets, driveways, sidewalks, parking lots, and vegetated land surfaces. This network of pipes and ditches flow into bodies of water such as lakes, streams, rivers and oceans. The Town of Reading’s storm drainage system flows into three drainage areas,  the Ipswich, Aberjona, and Saugus River basins.  Reading is situated at the headwaters of these three rivers which, after flowing through several communities, eventually discharge into the Atlantic Ocean.

Why should we not pollute our storm drains?
Since the storm drains collect all the storm water that flow into Ipswich, Aberjona, and Saugus river basins, polluting our catch basins means we are directly polluting river basins and eventually the oceans. These pollutants can impact our groundwater, wetlands and waterways and contaminate our drinking water endangering people, fish, and wildlife. By keeping our catch basins and drainage swales uncontaminated we keep the environment of Town of Reading clean.

How to indentify any possible pollutants into storm drainage system?
Just Remember C.O.P.



White, Orange (Rust Color), Soap Suds, Oil Sheen, Paint or any unusual colors

Any odors such as Ammonia, Sulfur (Rotten Egg), Gasoline, Paint Solvents, Sewerage, Chlorine, or Fertilizers emitting from catch basins, drainage ditches, outfalls or waterways

Trash, Motor Oils, Antifreeze, Household Chemicals, Paints, Chlorine, Detergents, Soaps, Grass Clippings, Leaves, Sweeping, Construction Materials, Pet Excrement, or Insecticides

If you identify any pollution call the 24 Hour Stormwater Hotline

What Can a Home Owner Do?
Remove debris such as trash, leaves and grass clipping away from catch basins, drainage ditches and waterways.

Whenever possible use environmentally friendly, biodegradable products when cleaning outside.

Do not dump household waste such as paint, cleaning products, motor oils, antifreeze, pet excrement, yard waste or any other hazardous material into catch basins, drainage ditches and waterways.

Dispose of hazardous waste properly with the town’s Household Hazardous Materials Collection Program.

Minimize the use of fertilizers near catch basins, drainage ditches and waterways.

Dispose of pet waste in the trash.

Do not drain chemically treated swimming pools into catch basins or drainage ditches. Pool water should be held until chlorine levels are acceptable enough to discharge to catch basins or drainage ditches.

Do not dump anything into a storm drain.

If you must wash your car at home, wash it on the lawn to encourage infiltration and use low-phosphate detergents.

Public Awareness Materials (Click link to download - pdf format):

Stormwater Checklist

Pet Waste Flyer

Clean Catchbasins Flyer

Fall Cleanup Flyer

Car Washing Flyer


Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission


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