Environmental Health and Safety
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.
Illicit discharges and Spill Hotline
An illicit discharge is defined as any discharge that is not stormwater, including but not limited to: soil erosion from construction sites, including street cleaning; spilling, dumping or otherwise improperly disposing of hazardous materials; discharges from lawn watering and other irrigation runoff; street and sidewalk wash water used to control dust and routine external building washdown; car washing activities.
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 (M-F, 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 can help 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.
- 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 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.
Everyone plays a part in improving stormwater quality, and Washington State University is committed to the development and implementation of stormwater pollution monitoring, control, and outreach efforts on its campuses.
To learn more, visit the Department of Ecology website and the Environmental Protection Agency website.
WSU Spokane Environmental Health & Safety
WSU Pullman Environmental Health & Safety
EWU Environmental Health & Safety