Help Keep Our Water Clean!

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The City of Sammamish is committed to keeping our water clean!

And you can help ...

To spread awareness and engage our community in helping to Keep Sammamish Clean, we are continuing the rainwater pollution prevention campaign. Together, we can protect Lake Sammamish, our local mascot “the little red fish” – kokanee salmon, and other native species! You can help to Keep Sammamish Clean by taking part in community challenges or activities, encouraging others to participate, and adopting new techniques for rainwater pollution prevention.

Yard Care and Car Washing Best Management Practices

As summer approaches, we are sharing a few reminders for best practices when it comes to yard care and car washing. It is easy to protect local waterways and kokanee salmon by taking a few simple steps! Thank you for helping us protect the Little Red Fish and remember…ONLY RAIN DOWN THE STORM DRAIN! Visit the City of Sammamish website to learn more about how to keep our stormwater clean.

Yard Care Best Management Practices

We know that some people like to keep a plush lawn and some let their lawn brown in the heat of the summer. No matter what you decide to do, you can practice environmentally friendly, natural yard care. King County has some great natural yard care information and here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Approach yard care preventatively, consider the health of the soil, choose a type of grass that will thrive in your climate, and water deeply but infrequently.
  • If possible, avoid applying fertilizer at all or at minimum avoid using prior to rain. Always follow the instructions on the fertilizer container and choose a slow-release or organic product.
  • Mow high! Keeping your grass a bit longer can limit pest problems and help the grass survive drought by shading the soil and allowing it to retain moisture. It can also help to leave short grass clippings on the lawn to promote nutrient cycling.
  • Leave your grass clippings on the lawn – these can add nutrients to your yard.
  • Do you know what a thatch layer is? This is the layer of dead plant materials between the blades of grass and the soil. If it gets too thick, it can limit water and nutrient absorption. You can rake or spread a bit of topsoil on your yard to help maintain a good thatch layer.
  • Avoid using weed and feed products on your yard. Pull weeds by hand or use tools. Never use pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides near streams, lakes, and wetlands.

Sources:

Healthy Lawn, Healthy Environment Caring for Your Lawn in an Environmentally Friendly Way

County Natural Yard Care

City of Sammamish Yard and Garden Care

Car Washing Best Management Practices

Only rain should ever go down a storm drain. Use a commercial car wash to prevent soap, grease, and dirt out of our streams. If you must wash your car at home always wash on vegetation. Dirty, polluted water does not get cleaned at all before it flows back into local waterways. Runoff from washing your car contains pollutants like soap, detergent, heavy metals from rust, motor oils, residue from exhaust fumes, and gasoline. The City of Sammamish has some great tips on car washing and there are a few more below.

To help limit the negative impacts of car washing:

  • Plan to go to a commercial car wash – these places are obligated to send the polluted water to the sewer system which means it goes through water quality treatment in wastewater treatment plants.
  • If you must wash at home:
    1. Wash your car on a spot that absorbs water like grass or gravel. Try to avoid washing on asphalt or concrete unless those areas drain into grassy or gravelly spots.
    2. Empty your wash buckets and dirty water into a sink or toilet. This water is cleaned in the wastewater treatment plant.
    3. Consider damming your driveway or work on capturing wastewater. Another technique diverting the water to vegetated areas. Dirty runoff should not leave your property to flow into the storm drains.
  • Use waterless car wash products, available at auto parts stores, supermarkets, and online. These products can save water too!

Car Washing Illegal?
No! Washing your vehicle is not illegal. But the discharge of the soapy, dirty wash water into the storm drain is technically a violation of federal, state, and City regulations. City storm drains are not filtered and lead through our waterways directly to Lake Sammamish.

What About Soaps?
All soaps, including biodegradable ones, can harm our waterways. Soaps break the surface tension of water, lowering the oxygen level which is harmful to fish and other aquatic life. The worst soaps contain phosphates, which can cause unwanted algae blooms in surface waters. And don’t forget — car wash water is a mixture or soap, oil, grease, and heavy metals. travel into the storm drain.

Source: City of Sammamish Car Care

Remember Only Rain Down the Storm Drain!


The City of Sammamish is committed to keeping our water clean!

And you can help ...

To spread awareness and engage our community in helping to Keep Sammamish Clean, we are continuing the rainwater pollution prevention campaign. Together, we can protect Lake Sammamish, our local mascot “the little red fish” – kokanee salmon, and other native species! You can help to Keep Sammamish Clean by taking part in community challenges or activities, encouraging others to participate, and adopting new techniques for rainwater pollution prevention.

Yard Care and Car Washing Best Management Practices

As summer approaches, we are sharing a few reminders for best practices when it comes to yard care and car washing. It is easy to protect local waterways and kokanee salmon by taking a few simple steps! Thank you for helping us protect the Little Red Fish and remember…ONLY RAIN DOWN THE STORM DRAIN! Visit the City of Sammamish website to learn more about how to keep our stormwater clean.

Yard Care Best Management Practices

We know that some people like to keep a plush lawn and some let their lawn brown in the heat of the summer. No matter what you decide to do, you can practice environmentally friendly, natural yard care. King County has some great natural yard care information and here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Approach yard care preventatively, consider the health of the soil, choose a type of grass that will thrive in your climate, and water deeply but infrequently.
  • If possible, avoid applying fertilizer at all or at minimum avoid using prior to rain. Always follow the instructions on the fertilizer container and choose a slow-release or organic product.
  • Mow high! Keeping your grass a bit longer can limit pest problems and help the grass survive drought by shading the soil and allowing it to retain moisture. It can also help to leave short grass clippings on the lawn to promote nutrient cycling.
  • Leave your grass clippings on the lawn – these can add nutrients to your yard.
  • Do you know what a thatch layer is? This is the layer of dead plant materials between the blades of grass and the soil. If it gets too thick, it can limit water and nutrient absorption. You can rake or spread a bit of topsoil on your yard to help maintain a good thatch layer.
  • Avoid using weed and feed products on your yard. Pull weeds by hand or use tools. Never use pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides near streams, lakes, and wetlands.

Sources:

Healthy Lawn, Healthy Environment Caring for Your Lawn in an Environmentally Friendly Way

County Natural Yard Care

City of Sammamish Yard and Garden Care

Car Washing Best Management Practices

Only rain should ever go down a storm drain. Use a commercial car wash to prevent soap, grease, and dirt out of our streams. If you must wash your car at home always wash on vegetation. Dirty, polluted water does not get cleaned at all before it flows back into local waterways. Runoff from washing your car contains pollutants like soap, detergent, heavy metals from rust, motor oils, residue from exhaust fumes, and gasoline. The City of Sammamish has some great tips on car washing and there are a few more below.

To help limit the negative impacts of car washing:

  • Plan to go to a commercial car wash – these places are obligated to send the polluted water to the sewer system which means it goes through water quality treatment in wastewater treatment plants.
  • If you must wash at home:
    1. Wash your car on a spot that absorbs water like grass or gravel. Try to avoid washing on asphalt or concrete unless those areas drain into grassy or gravelly spots.
    2. Empty your wash buckets and dirty water into a sink or toilet. This water is cleaned in the wastewater treatment plant.
    3. Consider damming your driveway or work on capturing wastewater. Another technique diverting the water to vegetated areas. Dirty runoff should not leave your property to flow into the storm drains.
  • Use waterless car wash products, available at auto parts stores, supermarkets, and online. These products can save water too!

Car Washing Illegal?
No! Washing your vehicle is not illegal. But the discharge of the soapy, dirty wash water into the storm drain is technically a violation of federal, state, and City regulations. City storm drains are not filtered and lead through our waterways directly to Lake Sammamish.

What About Soaps?
All soaps, including biodegradable ones, can harm our waterways. Soaps break the surface tension of water, lowering the oxygen level which is harmful to fish and other aquatic life. The worst soaps contain phosphates, which can cause unwanted algae blooms in surface waters. And don’t forget — car wash water is a mixture or soap, oil, grease, and heavy metals. travel into the storm drain.

Source: City of Sammamish Car Care

Remember Only Rain Down the Storm Drain!

  • Car Care and Leak Prevention

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    Car Care and Leak Prevention

    It can be hard to tell if that leak under your car is from your vehicle, just the rain, or from someone else’s vehicle. As we head into fall and winter, now is a great time to prepare your vehicle by getting any leaks checked out and repaired. This simple action helps to protect our local waterways from harmful car fluids. The City of Sammamish reminds you to not Drip & Drive!


    Tips for Car Care and Leak Prevention

    • If you are not sure what is leaking and want to try to diagnose your leak before seeing a mechanic, look at this guide from fixcarleaks.org – here you use the location of the leak, the color, and the texture to sleuth out the issue.




    • Attend a FREE Auto Leaks workshop if you live in the Puget Sound area. This workshop is run by experts from the Certified Automotive Training Centers at various locations. At the workshop you will:
      • Learn from local, certified automotive instructors.
      • Receive a 2-hour class about basic automotive systems, how to care for vehicles and more information on the impacts of leaks in vehicles.
      • Have the opportunity to stay after the class and have your vehicle inspected.

    Watch the video below for more information and reviews from workshop attendees!

    Free Auto Leaks Workshop: Participants feedback in their own words


    Remember: Only Rain Down the Storm Drain!

  • Best Management Practices for Car Washing and Pressure Washing

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    Is Car Washing Illegal?
    No. Washing your vehicle is not illegal. But the discharge of the soapy, dirty wash water into the storm drain is technically a violation of federal, state, and City regulations. City storm drains are not filtered and lead through our waterways directly to Lake Sammamish!


    What About Soaps?
    All soaps, including biodegradable ones, can harm our waterways. Soaps break the surface tension of water, lowering the oxygen level which is harmful to our Kokanee salmon and other aquatic life. The worst soaps contain phosphates, which can cause unwanted algae blooms in surface waters. And don’t forget — car wash water is a mixture or soap, oil, grease, and heavy metals – all of which are harmful to the Lake Sammamish ecosystem.


    What’s the story with pressure washing?

    Pressure washing can be harmful to Lake Sammamish too. Those same heavy metals, chemicals and oils that are on your car are also on your driveway. To prevent water pollution from pressure washing, steps must be taken to collect and dispose of wastewater properly.


    So What Can You Do To Keep Our Waters Clean?

    • Take your car to a commercial car wash facility that discharges its wash water to the sewer system, where it is treated or recycled.
    • When washing your car at home, wash it on the lawn (or other vegetated area) to keep the water out of the storm drain. Mild, soapy water will not hurt your lawn; it will actually water it!
    • Wash your car on an area that drains to your lawn/vegetated area.
    • Use waterless car wash products, available at auto parts stores, supermarkets, and online. This saves water too!
    • Divert dirty water to vegetation when pressure washing OR collect dirty water and have a wastewater collection company pick it up for safe treatment.
  • Yard care and pet waste best practices

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    With many of us spending more time where we live, our pets and plants are reaping the benefits. The summer is a great time to make choices that minimize rainwater pollution while enjoying time outside. Pollutants can be picked up by rainwater as it flows across the surface of the Earth. Pollutants include chemicals from yards or gardens and even pet waste! These pollutants are NOT removed from rainwater before it goes into storm drains. This means kokanee salmon and other aquatic life can be harmed since storm drains lead to local creeks, wetlands, and lakes, including Lake Sammamish.

    When we take our furry friends for a walk, spend time tending a garden, or luxuriate in the feel of grass on our feet, we can protect our local waterways. Check out our easy rainwater pollution prevention tips below!

    Best Management Practices for Pet Waste and Yard Care



    Pet Waste

    Did you know… that a single gram of pet waste contains, on average, 23 million fecal coliform bacteria? Pet waste also includes harmful organisms like Giardia and roundworms that can be transmitted to people if not properly cleaned up and placed into a trash container. When pet waste is washed into local waterways by rainwater, the local aquatic life is at risk—including our friend the kokanee salmon!

    How can we… keep pet waste out of the rainwater and local waterways? If you need a little inspiration, check out this Dog Doogity music video featuring Martin Luther. Generally, cleaning up and disposing of pet waste properly is the best method of prevention.

    Tips for Managing Pet Waste:

    1. Scoop it, bag it, trash it! Let this simple saying inspire you to prevent millions of harmful bacteria from entering Lake Sammamish. Remember to always tie the bag off and place it into a trash container! If you are not sure where there might be a trash container, consider walking around your neighborhood or local park to locate containers when you are not with your pet.
    2. Pick up your pet’s waste, even in your own yard. Rainwater gathers pollutants from all over the watershed as it travels to the nearest storm drain or body of water, this includes your yard.
    3. Remember your bags. Reuse plastic bags from bread or newspapers. You can tie bags to your pet’s leash if you do not have another way to carry them while walking. If you happen to forget your bags, look around for pet waste stations.


    Yard and Garden Care

    Yards and gardens provide a peaceful release for some and delicious food for others. No matter how you interact with your landscape, practicing natural yard and garden care can prevent rainwater pollution. Harmful yard and garden products end up in local waterways via rainwater and can negatively impact wildlife. Fortunately, yard care that works for you and the environment exists! Learn more from the tips and resources below.

    Tips and Resources for Yard and Garden Care:

    1. Consider planting native species that are better equipped to resist pests and disease reducing the need for pesticides. Check out the Northwest Native Plant Guide!
    2. Pull weeds by hand or with tools rather than using a weed and feed product on your whole yard. If you do decide to use a weed killer, wear gloves and spray just the weed when it is not windy or expected to rain. Not sure if you have a weed? Check out the Noxious Weeds in King County webpage for help.
    3. Want to do something but not sure where to start? Connect with the Garden Hotline—they offer FREE services to home gardeners and landscape professionals throughout King County. They can help answer questions about safer yard and garden practices.
Page last updated: 24 Jun 2022, 02:58 PM