Protecting Surface Water

When it rains, water falls on our roofs, roads, driveways, and compacted soils and picks up harmful substances such as oil and metals from cars, lawn chemicals, and pet waste. This combination of rain and runoff, known as stormwater, flows directly into our local waterways – rivers, streams, lakes, and Puget Sound. Studies have shown that much of the pollution found in Puget Sound comes from this urban stormwater runoff. This added volume of water and associated contaminates damage water resources and aquatic life.
What can you do?
  • Control fertilizer use on lawns and gardens, and use natural organic fertilizers when possible. Download our Natural Yard Card Booklet (PDF) or visit us at 3101 Cedar Street in Everett for a copy.
  • Dispose of pet waste by bagging it and placing it in the garbage can.
  • Keep your car in good repair and fix oil leaks as soon as possible.
  • Only rain down the drain. Keep neighborhood storm drains clear of debris, leaves and sediment.
  • Keep toxins such as engine oils, paint thinners, and pesticides out of storm drains. Learn how to  dispose of them safely: Snohomish County Household Hazardous Waste
  • Protect shrubs, vines and other plants that grow along creeks and streams.
  • Use pesticides sparingly on lawns and gardens and consider natural methods of control whenever possible. You can find tips at Grow Smart, Grow Safe.
  •  Wash your car at a commercial car wash where the wash water is treated. If you wash your car at home, try to wash it on the lawn or other pervious surface. If hosting a fundraiser car wash, contact us at 425-257-8992 for a Car Wash Kit (PDF) that helps keep pollutants out of storm drains.

Water from Urban Bodies of Water Is Not Safe for Drinking

The quality of the water draining off streets, yards, and parking lots impacts the health of the fish and other habitats that depend on these water sources for survival. In north Everett, most of the water draining from our streets and parking lots is treated at the Water Pollution Control Facility. However, in other parts of Everett all the water from the neighborhood storm drains is carried directly to creeks, ponds, streams and lakes without the benefit of treatment. The ultimate destination of this untreated water is the Puget Sound.

City personnel routinely monitor and test the water in our creeks, streams, and lakes. When testing indicates a problem area, our staff is trained to detect the source of the problem and address the behavior that is causing the concern. There are 16 different bodies of water that are tested throughout the city. Everett offers a map (PDF) of its municipal watersheds.