Washington State University (WSU) Environmental Health and Safety and Facilities Services continually looks for ways to minimize stormwater contamination through technological advances and training. We also work with the City of Pullman and Department of Ecology to ensure our techniques and procedures are aligned.
Storm drains and catch basins are located throughout the WSU campus to collect and remove excess stormwater runoff from parking lots and roadways during wet weather. Low impact development (LID) such as bioswales and permeable concrete have also be constructed to help remove potential contaminants from stormwater coming from impermeable surfaces prior to entering the storm drains. EH&S and Facilities Services Capital Development work with contractors to ensure best management practices (BMPs) are used to prevent sediment erosion and other pollutants from contaminating stormwater. BMPs include erosion control devices such as silt fences, wattles, and berms, and cleaning up sidewalks and roads after work shifts.
Stormwater is precipitation which flows across a variety of surfaces before reaching a body of water such as a river, lake, or ocean. If the stormwater passes over impermeable surfaces it can become contaminated from vehicle fluids, fertilizers, pesticides, cleaners, garbage, or pet wastes. Since a majority of stormwater is untreated this contamination reaches larger bodies of water. This water pollution can potentially impair water bodies minimizing future uses and impacting fish and wildlife.
It is not only WSU that needs to improve habits, you can also make a positive impact on water quality
- Decrease the amount of hard surfaces, such as concrete and asphalt around your home. This reduces the amount of runoff into storm drains and streams, which could contain chemical, hydrocarbon, and particulate residual that can have negative impacts on water quality.
- Be “green” when washing your car. Make sure to use biodegradable soaps and turn off the water when not using the hose.
- Eliminate the use of fertilizers and pesticides on lawn. If you do apply fertilizer and pesticide follow manufacture instructions to minimize excess material application.