Puget Sound Starts Here!
It starts in our yards and neighborhood parks...
It starts in our driveways....
It starts at the storm drain in our streets or cul de sacs...
It starts in our ditches, lakes, wetlands and creeks...
Puget Sound starts anywhere rain water can flow into our drainage system.
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is rainwater or snow melt that doesn't seep into the ground, but instead runs across lawns, driveways and streets, before flowing into our storm drains and natural waterways. A common misconception is that stormwater that flows into these storm drains flow into the sewer system and receive treatment. The fact is, stormwater flows into natural waterway with little to no treatment.
Stormwater carries the pollutants left in yards, parks, streets and parking lots into our stormwater drainage system which eventually flows into the Puget Sound. Pollutants carried by stormwater include soaps, fertilizers, pesticides, automotive oil, and other toxins. Approximately 75% of all toxic chemicals in the Puget Sound come from stormwater pollution.
Certain Things Don't Mix with Stormwater (Videos)
Stormwater Impacts on Salmon in Urban Streams
Pollutants carried by stormwater can have detrimental impacts on salmon. These impacts are most significant in our streams that collect urban runoff, like Miller Walker and Des Moines Creek, especially during our Fall salmon spawning runs. For example, stream steward volunteers reported a 75% pre-spawn mortality rate among Coho salmon returning to Miller Creek in the Fall of 2015. Sadly this high of a pre-spawn mortality is not uncommon in our urban streams. For more information on stormwater impacts on salmon, see this article on Miller Creek.
How Can You Make a Difference? With just a few changes, you can help preserve the Puget Sound.
Report Spills and Water Quality Issues
Report spills, illicit discharges and other water quality concerns to the Spill Hotline at 206.973.4770. The City's Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) program actively investigates illicit discharges or connections to the City stormwater drainage system in an effort to protect and improve water quality in our natural waterways. For more information on the IDDE program, please see the IDDE Program Brochure or callPublic Works at 206-973-4720.
The City of SeaTac has a number of volunteer opportunities where individuals or groups can help to make a difference in our watershed For more information about the different volunteer opportunities available, click here.
Adopt Fish Friendly Practices
By changing a few of the things you do in your yard, with your car, with your dog and in your home, you can become a part of the effort to protect and restore our streams, lakes and the Puget Sound.
Wash Car on Lawn or at Commercial Car Wash
Don't wash your car in your driveway or on the street where the soapy runoff will flow down a storm drain. Car wash runoff is toxic to fish and aquatic life. Wash your car on your lawn or take it to a commercial car wash to keep the soapy runoff out of our lakes, streams and the Puget Sound. For more information on fish friendly car washes, see SeaTac's car wash flyer.
Use Car Wash Kits for Fundraisers
Car Wash Kits are available for fundraising car wash events in SeaTac for free! By checking out a car wash kit from the City, fund-raising groups can help keep harmful soaps and other toxins from running into storm drains and then to the Puget Sound. The kits are designed to divert dirty, soapy water to the sanitary sewer system or grassy area where it belongs. Call 206.973.4753 to reserve a kit.
Install Rain Barrels
Catch the rain from your roof and use it to water your garden, while also managing stormwater runoff from your property! SeaTac residents can purchase rain barrels at a deep discount at some City resource conservation events. Visit the Public Works Garbage and Recycling webpage periodically to check on when rain barrels are available.
Stormwater runoff can contain pollutants like sediment, oil, grease and bacteria. The water collected in a rain barrel would normally flow through the downspout, onto a paved surface, into a storm drain, and eventually into a nearby waterway. Collecting rain water and using is to water your lawn or garden helps to minimize the pollution entering into the stormwater system.
Build a Rain Garden
A rain garden is a landscape depression designed to capture and soak up stormwater runoff from roofs or other impervious areas around your home like driveways, walkways, and compacted lawns. Rain gardens can also be used as buffers to shoreline areas by capturing runoff from the landscape before it enters a lake or waterway, allowing the runoff to infiltrate into the ground. For more information on rain gardens, see the Rain Garden Handbook for Western Washington Home Owners.
Doo the Right Thing - clean up after your pet
Dog waste can contain fecal coliform bacteria, one of the leading causes of bacterial contamination in streams and lakes. Cleaning up after your pet is as simple as 1,2,3 - Scoop It, Bag It, then Trash It. Remember to scoop up after your dog, both in the yard and in public places. For more information on the detrimental impacts of unmanaged pet waste, see the City of SeaTac's Pet Waste Brochure. For a colorful and humorous reminder watch the Dog Doogity music video.
Small Business Inspection/Spill Kit Program
The City regularly partners with the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle (ECOSS.org) on the Puget Sound Spill Kit Program. Through this partnership ECOSS provides free inspections to small businesses within the City, educating them on proper water disposal and best management practices which help to prevent stormwater pollution. In addition, these businesses are also provided with emergency spill kits and training on how to properly use them. Call 206.973.4722 to request a free small business inspection.
To get involved in SeaTac or for more information, please contact Public Works at 206-973-4720.