Summer 2012
by Michael Cawrse, Stormwater Engineering Technician

The City of Edmonds is a member of a coalition of Puget Sound cities, counties, businesses and environmental and stewardship groups involved in a public-education campaign to clean up Puget Sound. The campaign, called Puget Sound Starts Here, explains how residents of the Puget Sound region can contribute to pollution in the Sound and describes how small changes in our everyday actions can reduce the amount of pollution reaching the Sound. 


drainLed by the Puget Sound Partnership and S.T.O.R.M. (Stormwater Outreach for Regional Municipalities), and with support from the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology), the Puget Sound Starts Here campaign is focusing on cleaning up stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is rain and snow that isn’t absorbed into the ground, but flows over impervious (nonporous) streets, parking lots, and rooftops where it can pick up pollutants such as oil and metal particles from cars; dirt and chemicals from yards; and bacteria from pet waste. Storm drains don’t flow to treatment plants, so untreated stormwater is discharged directly to our lakes and streams, and eventually to Puget Sound. Pollutants carried in stormwater can harm fish and wildlife populations and native vegetation, and make recreational areas unsafe and unpleasant.

pathwayIn addition, impervious surfaces such as roads, parking lots, roofs, and sidewalks prevent rainfall from naturally soaking into the ground. This rainfall becomes runoff that can cause flooding of our homes, erosion of stream banks and property, and destruction of aquatic habitat.

Puget Sound Starts Here focuses on four common behaviors that most residents can easily adopt to reduce the amount of pollutants entering the Sound:

creek
  • Use a commercial car wash or wash your car on your lawn, and fix vehicle leaks of oil, transmission fluid or antifreeze or place cardboard under the car in the short term to catch leaking fluids;
  • Use natural yard care techniques to grow a healthy lawn and garden by using compost, instead of fertilizers or pesticides, and use plants that are suited to your soil type and sun conditions;
  • In your home, use natural cleaning products whenever possible, and avoid the use of products that say “Poison” or “Danger”;
  • Pick up pet waste with a bag – both in the yard and in public places – and place it in the trash.

logsEach behavior supports the Puget Sound Starts Here message that Puget Sound’s problems start in our own backyard. Ecology estimates that the majority of the pollutants entering the Sound are carried by stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff is the leading cause of the poor water quality and/or habitat found in City of Edmonds’ water bodies, which include Shell, Shellabarger, Willow, Hindley, Northstream, and Perrinville Creeks (all of which flow into Puget Sound ), and Hall Creek, which flows into Lake Ballinger (and then Lake Washington to Puget Sound). To locate which watershed (area of land that drains to a water body) you live in, go to outreach.edmondswa.gov and click on the Watersheds link to view the City’s watershed map. For more information on things you can do to reduce your impact, or to find educational opportunities to learn how we can clean-up Puget Sound and our local waterways, go to the Puget Sound Starts Here website at www.pugetsoundstartshere.org.

pathwayWant to learn more about how stormwater affects our environment, or what the City of Edmonds is doing to keep our watersheds clean? Send us your comments, questions, and ideas and we’ll discuss them in upcoming newsletters. Contact Mike Cawrse, City of Edmonds Stormwater Technician, at (425) 771-0220 x1322 or michael.cawrse@edmondswa.gov.

Puget Sound Starts Here

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