Stormwater pollution prevention:
What WSU Pullman is doing
Polluted stormwater can contaminate our local streams and rivers. Washington State University (WSU) Facilities Operations, Capital Planning and Development, Housing and Dining Services, Parking and Transportation Services, and Environmental Health and Safety coordinate efforts to improve the quality of the stormwater discharged from campus.
Changes to operations on campus...Some of the more significant changes to operations on campus to improve stormwater discharges to protect water quality include:
- Use of a “Vac-Con” truck to clean out debris from storm drains and minimize contaminates entering the stormwater system. It is also instrumental in detecting damaged stormwater lines so that repairs to those lines can be made in a timely and efficient manner.
- Creation of a computerized mapping system detailing the location of all existing catch basins and stormwater lines on campus for continued maintenance and repair.
- Regular street sweeping (at least weekly) to reduce contaminants entering the stormwater system; WSU utilizes a street sweeper that perates with minimal amounts of water.
- Application of washed gravel that does not have fine dust particles for traction material on roads and sidewalks in snowy or icy weather. The snow is removed and stockpiled in one location with a detention pond to minimize pollutants from entering storm drains.
- Using minimal amounts of fertilizers and pesticides by landscaping staff and selecting native plant to reduce irrigation and excess run-off.
- Implemented an aggressive vehicle fluid leak detection program and replaces vehicles more frequently to reduce the chance of leaks; the purchase of hybrid vehicles promotes WSU’s sustainability initiative.
- Operation of a covered car wash that drains to the sanitary sewer after discharging into an oil-water separator, thereby preventing contaminated water from entering storm drains.
- Installation of markers on all stormwater catch basins to alert people not to pour hazardous materials down drains.
Changes to construction on campus...With the recent growth on the WSU campus, changes have also been made to improve stormwater discharges associated with construction projects. Some of the significant changes include:
- Reducing erosion associated with construction projects by using Best Management Practices (BMP), such as silt fences, In addition, a number of WSU employees are certified as Construction Erosion and Sediment Control Leads in order to assist contractors with using best management practices.
- Establishing a stormwater pollution prevention plan during the design stage of each new construction project. The plan is implemented throughout the project and is modified as necessary when site conditions change.
- Upgrading outdated stormwater utilities as outlined in WSU’s campus-wide 20-Year Master Plan.
- Designing buildings to meet requirements for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDs), including stormwater management.
- Constructing wetlands to regulate flow and clean stormwater before it discharges to the river, and to provide a natural habitat for native plants and wildlife.
How can I help?Please do your part to assist WSU with keepinig our stormwater and surface waters clean by not releasing harmful materials into catch basins.
- Keep your vehicles maintained so that they don’t leak fluids onto roads or parking areas.
- Do not wash vehicles in driveways, streets, or parking lots.
- Avoid over-watering lawns and landscaping.
- Apply fertilizers and pesticides in moderation and according to label instructions.
- Pick up your pet’s waste on lawns, sidewalks, and other paved areas and dispose of it in the trash.
- Notify EH&S immediately of any hazardous material spills on campus.
- See "Stormwater Pollution Prevention: What You Can Do" for more information and tips for improving stormwater quality.
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.