What is "the Wash"?
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What is the Wash?
4 Flow Components

Urban Runoff

Urban runoff contributes a significant portion of the annual flows in the Wash. Urban runoff is considered a non-point source of pollution and is generally attributed to excess water used in the urban landscape, draining pools to streets, washing vehicles in streets, and hosing down driveways.


Urban runoff is a concern because it can pick up various pollutants, such as bacteria, oil, grease, pesticides, herbicides, and nutrients from fertilizers, as it flows along streets and flood channels. Often times these pollutants make their way to the streets because of us, humans. The storm drains than send this water directly to the Las Vegas Wash, not to a treatment facility. Urban runoff is NOT treated, which is why it is important for all of us to be aware of how we may be contributing to urban runoff.

Some improper uses of water include the overwatering of lawns, washing cars at your home (this does not include car wash facilities, which have the ability to reclaim water before it is lost in the streets and flood channels), or hosing down driveways. Also, make sure that you dispose of used oil, antifreeze, paints and other household chemicals appropriately. That means, take it to a recycling facility like a local automotive supply retail store. Soil erosion from yards also contributes to urban runoff, as well as, pet waste, livestock waste, overuse of fertilizers, emptying pools into the gutters, and faulty septic tanks.

There are on-going campaigns aimed at educating the public about urban runoff. One such program is Plaque Attack. Through this program, plaques are put on stormdrains to remind people that stormdrains are intended for stormwater only. The Las Vegas Valley Stormwater Quality Management Committee is releasing PSAs (public service announcements) to remind people of the harmful effects of our daily activities.

Las Vegas Wash Project Coordination Team • 100 City Parkway, Suite 700 • Las Vegas, NV 89106 • (702) 822-3300