Eli5 where does water go in storm drains?

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Eli5 where does water go in storm drains?

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In the Las Vegas valley? Through the wash and into Lake Mead untreated. That’s why it’s so important to keep chemicals and trash out of the storm drains. I mean oil and other auto related stuff on the road you can’t help, but don’t dump your unused paint and poisons and dump it.

As far as I know it’s still into the pacific ocean in So. Cal. It’s a big deal when people dump their oil, waste or pesticides into them. I just learned my uncle kept gallons of an automotive paint that was banned in CA in the 80’s-90’s and just overall dumped that & everything automotive related into the storm sewer like “outta site, outta mind”.

Depending on the area:

Rural areas and most small towns. The water goes down the pipe under the street and joins other pipes with each join the pipe size gets bigger until it get to a outflow near a stream, large lakes or river. They once use to drain into smaller lakes but now do it up stream or down stream or into a swam from the rather then directly into them to reduce the direct pollution of lakes

In cities the water goes through the pipes getting larger with each additional drain junction. But in alot of cities the water will go to a pimping station that pumps the water to speed up the flow and increase capacity. It may also have some sections that skim off some of the trash and oils.
When low flows are present it may be diverted into the septic treatment.
Finally it gets pumped out to a large river, sedimint pond, lake or ocean. When very high flow is present it may divert away from any treatment centers and dump direct to the closest river, lake or ocean

Suburban areas can be a mix of rural and city systems, they may treat the drain water or they may just send it out to the environment.

In extremely flat land they will usually dump it out to the main land fall feature that is a river or stream during mild rain. It may have a run off or swamp planting.

Also for the amount of drain explorers out there the death toll is high. Don’t go in for a fun look. In major systems industry or distant rain may flow into a system or be drawn into a system from weather pressure difference and drown people on a seemingly sunny day. There are some sections where a person is unable to go backwards and leave themselves trapped or forced to continue into a joint septic flow to escape. There is also the risk of gas poisoning from composting material. Don’t go in them.