I think it depends on the type of gutter, where it is located and where the water it collects is flowing to. The standard method of rainwater disposal on residential houses in the United States is the use of rain gutters which feed to downspouts. Until fairly recently, most downspouts have usually fed directly into storm drains and the sewer systems in municipal areas. This has been a problem because the rainwater runoff is usually clean, and huge influxes of clean wastewater have overburdened water treatment systems and storm drainage systems unnecessarily. Portland, Oregon is an example of a city that had this problem, and so in addition to building a new wastewater channel (called the “Big Pipe”) it instituted a volunteer program called “Downspout Disconnect,” where teams of volunteers went out and literally sawed off the downspouts on people’s homes, connecting them instead to hoses that would discharge rainwater into gardens, on lawns or other permeable surfaces where the clean water can soak back down into the groundwater. The program was fabulously successful and reduced the amount of water flowing through Portland’s drainage systems by over 50%.
In general, though, I think gutters are probably a good idea, but as the above example illustrates, it’s more about where the water goes after it’s collected in the gutters than it is about the gutters themselves.
These tips to help reduce stormwater runoff from yard:
• Straight downspouts and gutters onto your plant beds and lawn, or into rain barrels, cisterns or containment areas.• Remove wastage from street gutters before it gets rinsed into storm drains
Ajax Street Sweeping
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