Test Your Stormwater Knowledge

[Answers are at the bottom of the page.]

What makes up the storm drain system?

See if you can identify which elements are part of the storm drain system in this quiz.

True or False, the following (numbers 1 through 10) are part of the storm drain system:

  1. A ditch or swale
  2. A fire hydrant
  3. A roadway inlet
  4. A puddle
  5. A roof gutter
  6. A culvert outlet
  7. A toilet
  8. A green roof
  9. A septic tank
  10. A basement floor drain
  11. Approximately how many miles of storm drains does the University own at the University Park Campus?
    1. 17 miles
    2. 46 miles
    3. 75 miles
    4. 250 miles
  12. How many regulated dams does the University own?

    1. none

    2. 2

    3. 6

    4. 13

  13. What major watershed does the University Park Campus drain to?

  14. True or False: Nutrients from pet waste are beneficial to our water bodies.

  15. Where is the best place to wash your car?

    1. The street

    2. The lawn

    3. in a parking lot

    4. a commercial car wash

  16. Which of the following are impacts from stormwater pollution?

    1. cloudy water

    2. algae blooms

    3. fisk kills

    4. beach closures

    5. All of the above

  17. Where does the University get its potable water from, streams or groundwater?

  18. Who contributes to stormwater pollution?

    1. you

    2. your neighbor

    3. pets

    4. All of the above

  19. What’s the best advice when using fertilizers?

    1. apply right before a heavy rain

    2. apply more than the manufacturer recommends because more is always better

    3. apply according to the results of a soil test

  20. A single quart of oil poured down a storm inlet can cause how large of an oil slick?

    1. 50 square feet

    2. 1/2 acre

    3. 2 acres

    4. 10 acres

  21. True or False: Industry is the largest source of water pollution in the United States.

  22. True or False: What we do at University Park doesn’t have any effect on the Chesapeake Bay.

  23. What percentage of waterways in the United States are not clean enough for fishing and/or swimming?

    1. 2%

    2. 27%

    3. 40%

    4. 65%

  24. True or False: Soil and sediment together represent the largest source of water pollution.

  25. True or False: Water from a pool or spa can be drained into a storm inlet without treating.

  26. True or False: The Water Quality in Spring Creek in better now than at any time in the recent past.



  1. True - A ditch or swale is part of the storm drain system. Storm drains don’t just include underground pipes and inlets, but it also includes anything that conveys runoff to a water body.

  2. False - a fire hydrant is part of the potable water system. Even when utility crews flush a hydrant the water needs to be dechlorinated.

  3. True- A roadway inlet is part of the storm drain system and is an entry point for runoff to enter the underground storm drain pipes.  At University Park, many steam tunnel vents look like storm inlets.

  4. True - A puddle, is an integral part of the stormwater system.  While puddles in the sidewalk are unplanned and inconvenient, at University Park, large natural closed depressions, which create puddles are protected because the water either infiltrates or evaporates instead of going directly to a water body.

  5. True - A roof gutter is part of the storm drain system and is an entry point for runoff to enter the underground storm drain pipes.  At University Park, some roof leaders are directed into drywells (stone vaults) where the water enters the soil or groundwater instead of going directly to a water body.

  6. True - A culvert outlet is part of the storm drain system and is the outlet point for runoff that enters a ditch, swale, or other water body.  Of the four major drainage basins at University Park Campus, only two of the watersheds discharge to water bodies.   The other two effectively infiltrate all surface runoff on University property for all but the most extreme runoff events.

  7. False - A toilet is not part of the storm drain system, but instead is part of the wastewater system.  University Park campus is unique in that 100% of the wastewater is recycled.

  8. True - A green roof is part of the storm drain system.  It is one of many types of best management practices (BMP) that the University uses to control stormwater quality and quantity. Twelve buildings at University Park have green roofs with several more in the planning phase.

  9. False - A septic tank is not part of the storm drain system, but instead is part of the wastewater system.  Properties outside of a wastewater service area use septic systems to manage wastewater on-site.  Improperly maintained septic systems can leak and contribute pollutants to the storm drain system and water bodies.

  10. False - A basement floor drain is not part of the storm drain system, but instead is part of the wastewater system.   In some older buildings, floor drains may be cross-connected into the storm drain system; and therefore, no pollutants or chemicals should ever be placed down them.

  11. 3, the University owns approximately 73 miles of storm drains from 6” to 72” in diameter.  This does not include sport field under drains, or foundation drains.

  12. 3, the University owns six dams ( Bathgate, Airport 1A, Airport 4A, Shaver's, the Duck Pond, the Hershey Medical Center dam).

  13. The University Park Campus drains to Spring Creek, the Bald Eagle Creek, the Susquehanna River, and then to the Chesapeake Bay.

  14. False - pet wastes contain millions of fecal coliforms and should be disposed of best in the trash.

  15. 4, while washing your car on a lawn is better than in the street or other impervious area, it's best to use a commercial car wash that treats and reuses its water.

  16. 5, all of these can be caused by stormwater pollution.

  17. 100% of the University’s potable water is supplied from ground water sources.

  18. 4, all of us contribute pollution.

  19. 3, apply according to the results of a soil test.  The Penn State analytical water lab conducts quick and inexpensive soil tests.

  20. 3, 2 acres.

  21. False - non-point pollution sources represent the largest source.

  22. False - while the impact from our region may be small, excess pollutants from the area do contribute to the Bay’s total load.

  23. 3, 40%.  However, a large portion of this is from past industrial activities, which is even true in the Spring Creek Watershed.

  24. True - sediment from construction sites and stream bed and bank erosion contribute the largest source.

  25. False - pool water may not be discharged into the storm system even if dechlorinated.

  26. True - Spring Creek is known to have better water quality now than at any time in the last 100 years and possibly the last 200 years.  Significant improvements have been made in the region.