Stormwater pollution prevention:
What you can do
As precipitation flows across parking lots, streets, and sidewalks, it flushes motor oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, trash, pet waste, pesticides, cleaners and other pollutants into storm drains and catch basins. Then, without any treatment, this contaminated stormwater flows directly into local creeks and rivers.
These pollutants affect water quality and impact wildlife. For example, excess lawn fertilizer increases the growth of algae in streams, which reduces the oxygen that aquatic life requires for survival. In addition, the high-energy, short duration flows of storms erode stream banks and destroy wildlife habitats.
The goal of this brochure is to educate students, faculty, staff, and visitors at WSU Spokane that dumping litter or other hazardous materials is harmful to our water quality and environment.
WSU’s stormwater system
Storm drains and catch basins are located throughout the WSU campus to remove excess water from parking lots, streets, and other impervious surfaces during rain and snow events.
To reduce the impact on the stormwater system:
- Reuse and recycle where possible.
- Keep pollutants off streets, sidewalks, yards, and parks; encourage friends and relatives to do the same.
- Sweep up debris and put it in the trash instead of flushing it into the street with a hose.
- Apply fertilizers and pesticides per label instructions.
- Fix faulty irrigation systems and do not overwater lawns.
- Properly dispose of chemicals, oil, paint, antifreeze and other toxic materials.
- Wash vehicles, boats, lawn furniture, etc. on surfaces that seep into the ground or at a commercial car wash that filters and recycles wash and rinse water. Do not wash them in the street or in your driveway.
- Use decorative rock and plants to reduce soil erosion in landscaped areas.
Automotive maintenance & cleaning
Fluids such as oil, antifreeze and brake fluid are harmful to the environment and wildlife. One quart of used motor oil can contaminate 250,000 gallons of water.
- Use public transportation when possible, or ride a bicycle.
- If you drive a car, keep your vehicles well maintained and fix leaks promptly.
- Use a drip pan or absorbent materials like kitty litter to clean up spills and dispose of them in the trash.
- Service your vehicles at an auto repair shop that properly disposes of used oil and fluids.
- If you service your own vehicle, collect and dispose of the fluids at a local household hazardous waste drop off station.
Trash and debris left on roadways can get into storm drains and clog lines, causing flooding and harm to wildlife.
- Cigarette butts are the most common form of litter.
- One cigarette butt left in one gallon of water for one day killed 80% of aquatic life.
- Always pick up garbage and trash and recycle or dispose of it properly.
Pet waste is a major source of harmful disease-causing organisms and water pollution, so pick up your pet’s waste regularly in your yard and always clean up after your pet on sidewalks and in parks.
- If your house is on a public sewer you can flush dog waste down the toilet or bag it and toss it out with your trash.
- In public areas use a plastic bag, or pooper-scoop, to clean up after your pet and dispose of it in the garbage. Per Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 504-36-020, this disposal method is required on WSU campuses.
More information about WSU’s stormwater management program is available on the EH&S website; or you can call EH&S staff at the following loations: WSU Pullman at 509-335-3041, WSU Wenatchee TFREC at 509-663-8181, WSU Tri-Cities at 509-372-7163, WSU Vancouver at 360-546-9706, or WSU Spokane at 509-368-6699.