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.
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 Boatyards – There 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 Pollution – While 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 Roofing – An 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?
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.