Stormwater, Wastewater & Water Systems

Stormwater Systems

What is Stormwater?Combination-Storm-Water-Inlet 1

Typical Stormwater found in the City’s storm drain system is water from precipitation that flows across the ground and pavement when it rains, snows or when ice melts. The water seeps into the ground or drains into what we call storm sewers. These are the drains you see at street corners or at low points on the sides of your streets.Collectively, the draining water is called stormwater runoff and is a concern to us in commercial and industrial sites, as well as your neighborhood, because of the pollutants it carries. 
Stormwater is not treated once it enters the city storm sewers, therefore all of the untreated stormwater flows directly into the Yellowstone River.

Yellowstone River Intakes and Outfalls
Stormwater System Map
river 1
According to the 1996 National Water Quality Inventory, stormwater runoff is a leading source of water pollution. Stormwater runoff can harm surface waters such as rivers, lakes, and streams which in turn cause or contribute to water quality standards being exceeded.Stormwater runoff can change natural hydrologic patterns, accelerate stream flows, destroy aquatic habitats, and elevate pollutant concentrations and loadings. Development substantially increases impervious surfaces thereby increasing runoff from city streets, driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks, on which pollutants from human activities settle.
Common pollutants in runoff include pesticides, fertilizers, oils, metals, pathogens, salt, sediment, litter and other debris are transported via stormwater and discharged - untreated - to water resources through storm sewer systems.

  1. Illicit discharge
  2. Permits & Regulations
  3. Shiloh Conservation Area


Pollutants that enter our local waterways through the storm drain system affect water quality, make swimming potentially unsafe, and impair fish habitat. These pollutants can be absorbed by fish possibly making their consumption harmful.  Dumping anything, accidentally or purposely, into a gutter, ditch, or storm drain is illegal and violators can be issued civil penalties.  These illegal actions are known as Illicit Discharges. 

Illicit Discharge Examples drain

  • Dumping household chemicals
  • Dumping leaves and yard waste
  • Dumping motor oil
  • Sanitary waste water (sewage)
  • Car wash waste waters
  • Litter and garbage 
  • Pet waste
  • Sediment from construction sites

What Can you do? 

  • Dispose of paint cleaners and other household chemicals according                to label directions
  • When at home, wash your car so that wastewater drains to grass, not           the  storm drain system
  • Promptly clean up after your pet
  • Recycle used motor oil at participating centers
  • Vegetate bare areas to reduce soil erosion

Illicit Discharge Detection And Elimination (IDDE)

To Improve our water quality and to stay in compliance with state and federal regulations, the City of Billings has adopted an Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) Ordinance.  This ordinance prohibits pollutants from entering our local waters, regulates connections to the storm sewer  systems, and outlines enforcement procedures and penalties.

To report an illicit discharge, please contact: 406-247-8517

Wastewater & Water Systems

Certified operators and laboratory personnel oversee the entire Water and Wastewater Systems and processes 24 hours per day, every day of the year. This steadfast commitment ensures that our systems always exceed the requirements of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) and the Administrative Rules of Montana (ARM).

The Public Works Department staffs a State Certified Laboratory responsible for testing and monitoring the water quality. Testing is performed throughout the entire treatment and reclamation processes, as well as testing while in the distribution system. We perform many hundreds of tests and analysis monthly to ensure that we deliver a superior quality product for your drinking water, and to that the reclaimed water causes no harm to our environment.


Each month, we submit a detailed report to the Montana Department of Environmental Quality documenting our compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act and the Administrative Rules of Montana. We publish a monthly water quality report for the Yellowstone River, which is our water source, and for our finished drinking water product.

Access the current water quality data:

Septic Tank and Grease Trap Waste 

Be sure your waste is being properly and legally disposed, use a licensed area hauler. Appointments for disposal must be made in advance by calling The Wastewater Reclamation Facility at (406) 657-8356.

  1. Fats, Oils & Grease
  2. Ditches & Drains
  3. Meters, Mains & Hydrants
  4. Wastewater Reclamation
  5. Water Treatment

Fats, Oils & Grease (FOG) OverviewFOG 1

All food service establishments that are connected to public sewers must have an approved grease system, such as grease traps, interceptors and other devices that keep fats, oils, grease (FOG) and food debris out of sewer pipes.

FOG is a problem for food service establishments, as FOG can buildup and clog sewer pipes and cause costly overflows and backups within businesses. It is bad for business and bad for public health and the environment.

When fats, oils or grease (FOG) enter the sewer lines, it cools, solidifies and sticks to the insides of the pipes, trapping food particles and other debris. Over time, this mass continues to grow until it obstructs the flow of wastewater and causes sewage to back up.

Additional Information

Additional information is located in the City’s FOG Brochure, below:


Section 26-604 of the Billings Municipal City Code (BMCC) specifies that unless prior written authorization is provided by the city, it is unlawful to discharge or cause to be discharged into the waste disposal station any industrial wastes, radioactive wastes, corrosive wastes, explosive mixtures, unpolluted waters, petroleum oils, mineral oils, non-biodegradable cutting oils, chemical wastes, toxic or poisonous substances, float-able fats, wax and grease.

FOG Survey

fog 2

Kitchen Best Management Practices


  • Clean vent hoods and filters regularly
  • Protect drains with a screen
  • Prevent spills of fats, oils and grease
  • Dry scrape leftovers into a trash bin, not the sink
  • Empty trash bins before they overflow
  • Clean and cover outdoor recycling area
  • Keep records of cleaning, inspections and serviceFOG2
  • Train staff on Best Management Practices to keep FOG out of sewer pipes


  • Don’t connect dishwashers to the grease system
  • Don’t put degreasers in the system (they just push FOG into sewers)
  • Don’t wash kitchen equipment outdoors
  • Don’t allow FOG into storm drains, catch basins, etc.
  • Don’t improperly dispose of fats, oils and grease