PugetSoundStartsHere_10-01-15_Tab - page 6

Stormwater and you:
How to prevent pollution at home
Car washing:
If your family washes your car at home in the
driveway, soap, oil and other pollutants in the wash water
flow into the storm drain and into our waterways. These
pollutants are harmful to fish and can destroy their protective
mucous coating, making them more susceptible to diseases,
injuring them or even killing them and their eggs. Even
biodegradable soap pollutes water unless it passes through
enough soil for it to break down first.
Your job?
Encourage your family to take your car to a
commercial car wash, which is required to filter the dirty
water and send it to a wastewater treatment plant.
Vehicle leaks:
If your car is leaking oil, you may be damaging
your engine and harming Puget Sound. Oil leaks can flow into
our waterways and harm the environment. Don’t drip and
Your job?
Help an adult family member check your vehicle for
leaks. When the car is turned off but still warm — and
safely parked — slide a big sheet of paper or cardboard
underneath the engine area and leave it for an hour or
overnight. If you see any spots when you pull it back out, visit
to diagnose the color of your drip and get tips
for vehicle maintenance. Your family can learn more about
free vehicle inspections at
Pet waste:
Pet waste carries harmful bacteria and diseases
that can make people very sick. If pet waste is left on the
ground and it rains, the waste dissolves into our stormwater.
This polluted stormwater then flows to nearby storm drains
and into streams, lakes and Puget Sound. Sometimes beaches
are even closed due to harmful bacteria, making the water
unsafe for swimming.
Your job?
Pick up after your pets and put pet waste in the
trash. Don’t forget to bring bags with you when you walk
your dog!
Natural yard care and chemicals:
Chemical pesticides and
fertilizers can be dangerous. Pesticides may not only kill
unwanted plants and bugs in your yard but they also kill
the beneficial bugs. In addition, the fish and wildlife in our
lakes and streams can be harmed when yard chemicals in
stormwater runoff flow into these waterways.
Your job?
Ask your family to use chemicals only when
absolutely necessary. Store and dispose of hazardous
materials according to the instruction on the label. Use
compost and mulch to build healthy soil. Weed your lawn
and garden by hand. Add to the beauty of your lawn and the
planet by planting native plants and trees that soak up the
rain and slow the flow of runoff. Visit
for the least hazardous pest management options.
Volunteers can help restore natural areas by
planting native plants and removing invasive weeds.
Your job?
Dig in! Look online for a volunteer opportunity near
you. Have fun working outside with your friends and family to
improve natural habitat and protect water quality.
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