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Stormwater Pollution Prevention

The Motivation

photo_street storm drain_cropped_squarishIn 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.

Current Projects

In August 2014, we completed a series of resources (below) to help businesses prevent zinc pollution in stormwater.

  •  Video: “Zinc in Stormwater: Galvanizing Business Solutions”Provides context to the widespread issue of zinc pollution. Because zinc comes from so many places, no one solution is likely to suffice for any business. Businesses need to carefully 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 – on the ground, on rooftops, and everywhere in between.

 Emerging Best Management Practices in Stormwater (pdf documents)

  • 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 BoatyardsThere over 55 boatyards in the general Puget Sound area. Many of these boatyards have zinc in their stormwater above permit levels. What cost-effective solutions have boatyards employed to to control their zinc sources?
  • Street and Surface Sweeping to Reduce Stormwater PollutionWhile sweeping is a simple idea, things get complicated fast 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 RoofingAn often over-looked, or maybe under-looked, aspect of controlling zinc is coating bare or corroded galvanized roofs. Can coating roofs act as an effective method of reducing zinc pollution? What best management practices for effective painting should businesses know?


Additional Resources

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:


Jane Thomas. From IAN

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