Summer 2013
pssh bannerMaybe you saw the Puget Sound Starts Here banner stretched across 5th Avenue, or along the fence at the Francis Anderson Center. Or maybe you noticed the logo on one of the City vehicles driving around town. Perhaps you know that Puget Sound Starts Hereis a campaign that’s spreading the word about how stormwater is polluting Puget Sound (including small streams from Edmonds that empty into the Sound), and that’s suggesting some little things we as individuals can do to protect, and clean-up, Puget Sound. But Puget Sound Starts Here is more than just a list of things we shouldn’t do anymore; it’s regional support for local recovery efforts that reminds us how important and amazing Puget Sound is, and shares relevant messages about the actions we 4.5-million residents can take to help clean up the Sound.

car wash green croppedThe Puget Sound Starts Here campaign is focused on four common behaviors that most residents can easily change to reduce the amount of pollutants entering the Sound:

Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on your lawn, and don’t let wash or rinse water containing pollutants such as oils and brake pad dust (heavy metals) enter the storm drain;

Fix vehicle leaks of oil, transmission fluid or antifreeze or place cardboard under the car in the short term to catch leaking fluids;

Use compost – instead of fertilizers or pesticides – to grow a healthy lawn and garden;

Pick up pet waste with a bag – both in the yard and in public places – and place it in the trash.

pssh beach com
Puget Sound
Starts Here just launched a revamped web site (www.pugetsoundstartshere.org) that has new material celebrating Puget Sound and everything it has to offer. Videos, articles, and pictures tie together the idea that we are all connected by and to Puget Sound – by our love of being outdoors, by the thriving industry, and by its natural beauty. Starting with “Walking the Sound” in May, each month in 2013 will have a theme that explores the connection of Puget Sound and the people that live here. So check it out, and while you’re there, take a look at some of the suggestions we all can incorporate into our daily activities that will help us take action to clean up stormwater runoff and Puget Sound.

stream 2 compSo back to our banner - what does “Only Rain Down Our Storm Drains” really mean? It all starts with stormwater runoff, which is the main source of pollution in Puget Sound. As you know, stormwater runoff is rain and snow melt that isn’t absorbed into the ground, but instead flows over impervious (nonporous) streets, parking lots, and rooftops. As it flows, it picks up pollutants including oil and metal particles from cars; dirt and chemicals from yards; and bacteria from pet waste, and carries the pollutants into nearby storm drains. Since storm drains don’t flow to treatment plants, stormwater runoff is discharged, untreated, directly to our lakes and streams, and eventually to Puget Sound. These pollutants can harm fish and wildlife populations and native vegetation, and make recreational areas unsafe and unpleasant. It can also affect the seafood we eat and even our jobs and livelihood.

To close, here are some facts to remember about stormwater, our storm drainage system, and some of those things we can do to limit stormwater pollution:

Nearly all stormwater pollution is the result of individual human activity, not industrial practices.

Stormwater runoff is the leading cause of pollution in Puget Sound, and our rivers, lakes, and streams.

Yard waste, such as lawn clippings and leaves, is considered pollution.

An illicit discharge is anything that enters the storm drain other than stormwater.

Wash water from biodegradable soap should not be discharged to storm drains (traditional and biodegradable soaps wash dirt, oil, and other pollutants off your car and into the storm drain).

Mulching lawn mowers reduce the need to fertilize lawns (and reduce the amount of clippings generated).

Storm drains in Edmonds are not connected to the sanitary sewer and stormwater is not treated before it’s discharged to surface waters.

Moss killers are an herbicide, and should not find their way to a storm drain.

To report an illicit discharge or spill, call the spill hotline at 425.771.0235.

Puget Sound Starts HereQuestions or comments? Contact Mike Cawrse, City of Edmonds Stormwater Technician, at 425.771.0220 x 1322 or michael.cawrse@edmondswa.gov.

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