Citizen's Guide to Protecting Our Waters

Protecting our water resources starts with each person, home, building, and work site. Our stormwater systems do not treat the water, they are simply a series of pipes and ditches that channel that water directly to our streams, creeks, and river.

Read how illegal discharges and polluted stormwater affect our waterways, and ways you can help reduce this pollution by disconnecting from the stormwater system, properly draining your pool or hot tub, not feeding ducks at the park, and practicing Fish-Friendly Car Washing!

Click through the links to the left to learn about more ways to be stormwater-conscious and how to make a difference in our community, streams, and river.

How Can I Improve Water Quality?

Knowledge is power! What is stormwater management to citizens? It is knowing what stormwater is, and how your actions affect our community, streams, and river. Here are some things to keep in mind as you watch the rain fall (all too often) in our city of Puyallup.
  • Know where your storm drains are: Watch where the runoff goes from the rain, and you will see where the drain is. Usual places are near intersections and curbs, but they can be located in parking lots as well. Some drains have the words "Drains to Stream" imprinted in the metal and many Puyallup drains have our Only Rain Down the Drain markers. Eventually, most stormwater enters our waterways.
Only Rain Down the Drain Logo
  • Pick up debris and trash: This helps prevent any litter from entering the storm drains. It will also prevent clogging, which can lead to streets covered in water, and possible contamination.
  • Get your permits: If constructing a new development or improving your house, make sure you have the proper permits. There are checklists that can help you make sure you are complying with local, state, and federal laws. If you have questions, our staff can usually direct you to a person who can further assist you. Give us a call at 253-841-4321!
  • BMPs: When working on a project, make sure to implement Best Management Practices (BMPs). Erosion control, excessive water, and runoff can cause unpredicted problems if not planned for. You should know what you are required to do, so you will not violate any City, State, or Federal regulations or policies.
  • Garden naturally: Try to reduce the use of chemicals in your yard and garden. There are many organic products available today as well as alternative way to garden naturally. Read about natural yard care.
  • Report Violators: Be aware of possible violators and report them. You are our best resource in making sure everyone complies with our laws. Some people illegally dump waste (like oil and chemicals) down storm drains (especially after regular City office hours). We cannot stop contamination from entering the rivers, streams, and creeks if we are unaware of problems. Please call 911 to report the incident, so they can determine what actions need to be taken.
  • Recycle: Nearly anything can be recycled - even used motor oil! You can contact your local auto parts dealer for more information about recycling. Reducing or reusing our waste is great for our environment and future generations.
  • Illegal discharge: An illegal discharge to the stormwater system is anything other than....stormwater! So what is stormwater? Stormwater is rainwater or snowmelt that does not soak into the ground, but instead runs off our streets, rooftops, lawns, and other impervious surfaces. Illegal discharges are harmful whether or not they are intended. Knowing what is supposed to go down the storm drain, is powerful knowledge!
  1. Paul Marrinan P.E.

    Senior Civil Engineer