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    MANGEMENT
  • ILLICIT
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  • PUBLIC
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    WHAT WSU
    IS DOING
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STORMWATER MANAGEMENT

What is stormwater and why is it regulated?

Stormwater runoff is generated when it rains or snows on impervious surfaces such as roads, walkways, buildings and other areas where it does not infiltrate the soil. The EPA has determined that stormwater in urban areas is the leading cause of surface water pollution (rivers, lakes, oceans). As a result, Federal and State regulations only allow stormwater to be discharged to stormwater systems.

WSU Spokane Stormwater System

Storm drains and catch basins are located throughout the WSU Spokane campus to collect and remove excess runoff from parking lots and roadways during wet weather. Stormwater is not treated to remove pollutants before entering surface waters.

Purpose

In order to meet the national standards WSU Spokane is responsible for protecting the stormwater system at the campus. 

Goals

The goal of the WSU Spokane stormwater management program is to ensure that stormwater generated on University property does not adversely impact surface and ground water. This website is intended to assist the WSU community in understanding how the University's stormwater system operates, what the law requires, and what you can do to reduce contamination of stormwater.

ILLICIT DISCHARGE

Sprill Hotline

An illicit discharge is defined as any discharge that is not stormwater, including but not limited to:

  • potable water sources (water line and fire hydrant flushing, pipeline hydrostatic test water, unless the discharge is dechlorinated and volumetrically and velocity controlled to prevent re-suspension of sediments);
  • discharges from lawn watering and other irrigation runoff;
  • street and sidewalk wash water, water used to control dust and routine external building washdown;
  • car washing activities;
  • soil erosion from construction sites, including street cleaning;
  • illicit connections such as sanitary sewers tied into storm sewers;
  • spilling, dumping or otherwise improperly disposing of hazardous materials, pet waste, and litter.

Reporting System

If you see a spill on campus and it looks like it will reach a storm drain or if you observe someone dumping anything into a storm drain, please call:

  • (509) 368-6699 During regular business hours (MF;8-5)
  • (509) 358-7995 After regular business hours
  • 911 If the spill or activity represents an immediate threat to human health or the environment

If you observe a situation on campus that could likely cause a spill or discharge in the future, please call (509) 368-6699 during regular business hours. We appreciate your help with identifying problems that may impact the WSU Spokane storm sewer system and surface waters. Calls can be made anonymously.

PUBLIC EDUCATION AND OUTREACH/PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

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 Spokane campus to remove excess water from parking lots, streets, and other impervious surfaces during rain and snow events. Water from storm drains discharges through collection pipes and drains.  Storm drains are not part of your household wastewater treatment system, so they carry pollutants directly to the nearest creek, river, or lake.

Minimize Pollutants

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.

Litter

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

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.

Getting Assistance

Everyone plays a part in improving stormwater quality, and Washington State University (WSU) is committed to the development and implementation of stormwater pollution monitoring, control, and outreach efforts on its campuses (see “Stormwater Pollution Prevention: What WSU is Doing” (pdf)).

More information about WSU stormwater management programs (pdf) is available on the EH&S website.

Visit the Department of Ecology website and the Environmental Protection Agency website.

You can also call EH&S staff at the following locations: 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.

FACTSHEET:

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" (PDF) for more information and tips for improving stormwater quality.

FACTSHEET:

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. 

Minimize Pollutants

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.

Litter

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

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.

CONTACT US

The WSU Stormwater Management Program is overseen by the Stormwater Committee which is comprised of representatives from EH&S, Facilities Operations, Capital Planning & Development, and Parking & Transporation Services. If you have any comments, concerns or questions please contact EH&S at:

Telephone:
509-368-6699

FAX:
509-368-6990

Email:
bhbaugh@wsu.edu