Differences Between Sanitary & Storm Sewers

When Tucker Paving, Inc., was launched right around Thanksgiving in 1994, our bread-and-butter service was paving — road and street paving, parking lot paving, and related jobs — and our focus was on being the very best locally in that line of construction.

Now, a month into our 25th year in business, we are pleased to be able to list on our website a very broad scope of construction services. Those services include, but aren’t limited to, the following: 

  • Underground utilities, including water, sewer, storm, fire line, and infiltration/ex-filtration systems
  • Construction layout and as-builts
  • Site clearing and demolition
  • Asphalt base and pavement
  • Concrete curbing, paving, sidewalks, foundations, and slabs
  • Site excavation
  • Hauling of aggregate materials
  • Facility maintenance, including asphalt patching, resurfacing, and sealing; existing water/sewer/storm pipe maintenance; and maintenance pertaining to regulations established by the Southwest Florida Water Management District (Swiftmud)

You might have noticed in list of services the references to underground utilities and pipe maintenance. This work involves the really large and high-capacity pipes — often made of concrete — that you might see going in underground beneath or alongside a new or existing roadway. This is really interesting work for Team Tucker Paving and quite often, but not always, involves a local government project on behalf of the taxpayers. One piping job might involve potable (drinking) water supply, another might involve stormwater runoff, another might involve sewage discharge, and still another might involve a combination of two or all three of the pipes mentioned.

Stormwater pipes and sewage (wastewater) pipes are part of water collection systems, each designed — for obvious reasons — for complete separation from the safe drinking water supply.  The goal of these two collection systems — whether operated by a local government, county government, or private water company — is to maintain a safe, sanitary, and pleasant environment for local residents.

Public sewer collection systems consist of pumping stations and a maze of pipes – ranging in diameter from mere inches to a few feet – that usually run under or alongside public streets, roads, and highways. The systems collect wastewater (from bathrooms, restrooms, kitchen sinks, and laundry facilities) and transport it to wastewater treatment plants.

Some of the wastewater pipes move sewage with gravity; other pipes, called “force mains,” are helped by pressure to move the wastewater.

At a wastewater plant, sewage is treated in a highly regulated system established by the state of Florida and other government bodies. Whenever possible, feasible, and cost effective, treated wastewater is used for agricultural, commercial, and residential irrigation, for “spray fields,” and for purposes that don’t involve human consumption (drinking, cooking, bathing, etc.) or even consumption by pets and farm animals.

By contrast and by design, rainwater or stormwater collection systems are separate from sanitary sewer systems. Stormwater pipes, gutters, and inlets help with flood control and water disbursement on roadways, parking lots, and low-lying property and help to replenish local lakes and the Florida Aquifer, the Sunshine State’s primary public water source.

In years past, most of the area’s stormwater runoff went directly into the lakes. Today, an increasing percentage of rainwater and stormwater is channeled to or captured by engineered retention ponds and other drainage basins of various sizes. These ponds and basins, which typically are created along with residential and commercial development, act as natural filtration systems for excess precipitation and help maintain and even boost the quality local lake water.