Stormwater Pollution Prevention
In the rainy Northwest, stormwater is one of the biggest contributors to polluted urban waterways. Toxic runoff does significant harm to human health and our valuable aquatic ecosystems. Under new stormwater regulations, industries are responsible for their contributions to polluted waterways. The WA Industrial Stormwater General Permit, for example, sets discharge limits on metals, fertilizers, and other indicators of water quality. Increasingly, businesses need a Stormwater Pollution Prevention plan.
What We Do
At PPRC, we focus on addressing stormwater by looking upstream. Instead of focusing on end-of-pipe treatment technologies, we focus on reducing stormwater pollution at its sources – the facilities, processes, and operations that produce the problem. We have recently produced two series of stormwater pollution prevention resources: Preventing Zinc Pollution in Stormwater and Stormwater Pollution Prevention for Sports Facilities.
Preventing Zinc Pollution In Stormwater
In August 2014, we completed a series of resources (below) to help businesses prevent zinc pollution in stormwater.
Video – Zinc in Stormwater: Galavanizing Business Solutions
- “Zinc in Stormwater: Galvanizing Business Solutions” – Provides context to the issue of zinc pollution by showing how the metal leaches into stormwater from many different sources. Because zinc comes from so many places, no one solution is likely to suffice for any business. Businesses need to assess the sources of the metal and then implement a variety of appropriate solutions. This video highlights a number of successful solutions that businesses are using now – in the ground, on rooftops, and everywhere in between.. View the video HERE.
PDFs – Emerging Best Management Practices in Stormwater
- Biochar as Filtration Media – Biochar is a promising, versatile, and affordable filtration material. Why is it so effective? How widely is it being used in the Northwest? What do we know and not know about its ability to filter pollutants, especially heavy metals?
- Mitigating Zinc in Boatyards – There are over 55 boatyards in the general Puget Sound area. Many of these boatyards have stormwater zinc above permit levels. What cost-effective solutions have boatyards employed to to control their zinc sources?
- Street and Surface Sweeping to Reduce Stormwater Pollution – While sweeping is a simple idea, it gets complicated when you’re faced with preparing a specific plan and budget. After all, what is Vacuum Sweeping? How about Regenerative Sweeping? Do you do things differently in the “wet” versus the “dry” season? And how often should you sweep?
- Addressing Galvanized Roofing – One zinc source that often gets over-looked, or under looked, is galvanized roofs. Because galvanized roofs typically leach high concentrations of zinc, coating or painting roofs with non-zinc materials can dramatically reduce a businesses’ zinc runoff. Learn more about coatings, and other best management practices – simple and complex – that businesses can use to control zinc from galvanized surfaces.
* The above resources were made possible by a grant generously provided by The Russell Family Foundation.
Stormwater Pollution Prevention for Sports Facilities
Sports facilities often maintain lots of hard surfaces – parking lots, sidewalks, stadiums, and even fields. These surfaces collect pollutants that precipitation runoff carries directly into our waterways.
We created a manual to help sports facilities reduce their impacts on surrounding water bodies:
- Stormwater Pollution Prevention Manual: Non-Structural Best Management Practices for Sports Facilities
As part of the above manual, Individual Best Management Practices (BMPs) address different aspects of managing stormwater. Individual BMP Topics can be found here:
- Topic 1: Best Management Practices for Parking & Paved Areas
- Topic 2: Best Management Practices for Outdoor Seating Cleanup
- Topic 3: Best Management Practices for Storm Drains and Catch Basins
The Northwest region is a hotbed of research and action in stormwater pollution prevention. Here is an unoffical list of other local organizations and resources that address stormwater issues:
- Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation – Stormwater.
- Idaho Department of Environmental Quality – Stormwater.
- King Country Stormwater Services. Info for the public and businesses on all things stormwater.
- Oregon Department of Environmental Quality – Stormwater Discharge Permits. Guides businesses through National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting process.
- Philadelphia Water Department website on Stormwater Management. Not the Northwest, but an excellent source for stormwater info.
- Sightline Daily Posts on Stormwater. Useful and clear info on stormwater solutions and issues.
- Washington Department of Ecology – Stormwater Program. The regulating body for stormwater compliance. Provides a host of good info on the issue, permits, and stormwater management tips.
- Washington Stormwater Center. Serves as the central resource in Washington for integrated NPDES education, permit technical assistance, stormwater management and new technology research, development, and evaluation.