Sponsored by the Clean Water Partners

In the Pacific Northwest, we have treasures that are worth protecting. Today, the main source of pollution in our local waterways comes from everyday activities that leave pollutants behind and get picked up in storm runoff and carried to our streams and waterways. However, there are many ways to help keep our water clean. Watch the videos below to learn how you can help protect the waters we love.

Clean Water, It’s Our Future - and it starts in your neighborhood.

What Drips Off Your Car Goes Into Our Local Waterways

  • Safest:

    Take your car to a commercial car wash. Their soaps are specialized so they won’t harm your paint. Their systems capture and treat water and the harsh chemicals needed to clean your chrome, etc. Their system conserves more water than washing your car at home.

  • Safe DIY:

    • For light dirt, use a waterless product and microfiber towels to save water.

    OR

    • Use a bucket, phosphate-free soap, spray nozzle and several old towels. Roll the towels like a long burrito across your driveway to divert the soap and contaminants coming off your car into your landscaping. These pollutants filter out in the soil, but are harmful to our water if they flow into street drains.

    – Make the towel roll slope down towards the lawn, rather than a straight line which will help water flow into the grass. Rinse soap into the lawn after you are finished.

    – Pour the unused soapy water under a shrub or into your home sink or bathtub.

    OR

    • Wash your car on the lawn. Pollutants will filter our in the soil and your grass can use the water.

  • Keeping the lawn free of weeds involves many choices—some methods are hazardous to our families, pets, and waterways.

  • Safest:

    Annually aerate, de-thatch and over-seed bare spots. This will keep the lawn dense and healthy, which keeps out weeds. Use an upright dandelion removal tool for easy manual weed removal. Fertilize only in fall with a slow release fertilizer, if needed.

  • Next Best:

    If you choose a weed or insect control product, look for the OMRI label which helps identify less hazardous chemicals. Always follow the label, as even natural/organic products can be harmful to bees. Only apply products when multiple dry days are forecast. Spot spray only the area of concern.

  • Not Recommended:

    Using combination products for insect or weed control combined with fertilizer is more likely to runoff to our waterways. These products contain toxins that harm water quality. Some specific chemicals to stay away from include; glyphosate, 2,4-D, dicamba, triclopyr, mecoprop (MCPP), and bifenthrin.

  • Helpful links to help you take care of your yard without harming our water.

    NACP Love Your Lawn Without Pesticides Fact Sheet


    Natural Yard Care
  • Prepare for Winter - Clear Gutters and Storm Drains

    Regularly clearing your storm drains of leaves and debris helps reduce flooding and property damage while protecting watershed health and the quality of our drinking water. Your Clean Water Partners offer these tips:

  • Be Neighborly: Rake the leaves from the storm drain grates in front of your home or business. Don't remove the grate.
  • Trim Branches away from your home.
  • Place branches and leaves from your gutters, yard, or near your curb-line into your yard waste container or compost bin. Leaves can also be used as winter mulch to protect and nourish perennials.
  • When leaves fall into the street, rake them at least one foot away from the curb so they won't block the path of rainwater. Please do not rake or blow leaves from your yard into the street.
  • Visit your city or county website to find sandbag filling or leaf drop-off locations.
  • Never dump anything into a storm drain. It's against the law.
  • Fall Lawn Tips

    Try these techniques for a strong, healthy lawn that won't harm our local waterways! Fertilizing your lawn in fall gives it a good head start against weeds because grass loves the cool weather.

  • Aerate using a pitchfork, a specialized, affordable tool available at garden stores, or a rented machine.
  • De-thatch with a hard rake or specialized tool.
  • Use a dandelion removal tool to remove weeds by the roots.
  • If you use a weed killer, spot spray only. Avoid combination weed and feed products because they are harmful to our local water.
  • Rake in slow-release fertilizer high in nitrogen, a 3:1:2: ratio or compost. Slow release forms will have words in the ingredients such as: “ureaform,” “sulfur-coated urea,” “milorganite,” and “IBDU.” Avoid fast acting/quick release formulas that can burn your grass and also cause harmful algal blooms.
  • Over-seed bare spots with a PNW sun/shade mix.