According to Pierce County officials, every day an estimated 140,000 pounds of toxic chemicals are carried by streams and rivers into Puget Sound. It’s not coming from some illegal dumper or large manufacturing plant, but in small increments from thousands of ordinary households and populated urban areas. Pierce County and the cities of Tacoma, Puyallup, Gig Harbor and Lakewood are among a coalition of more than 300 organizations that are part of “Puget Sound Starts Here,” a public education campaign aimed at helping people curb their contributions to the daily flow of pollution.
An estimated 75 percent of Puget Sound’s chemical pollution comes from yards, cars, pets and homes. Puget Sound Starts Here focuses on these four aspects of daily life where people can make a difference. Small changes in these areas can produce large improvements in water quality, and ultimately, in the health of Puget Sound and our regional water supplies.
“This unprecedented regional effort will help residents and businesses understand how everyday activities are contributing to the decline of Puget Sound,” said Pierce County Public Works and Utilities Director Brian Ziegler. “Everyone who lives in Pierce County can do things that will make our waters safer and cleaner.”
Simple things, like using compost for lawn fertilizer, taking your car to a commercial car wash, and putting pet waste in the trash keeps pollution out of local waterways. When it rains, excess garden chemicals, spilled automotive fluids, and harmful bacteria from pet waste and manure are washed down the street and into storm drains. The storm drains do not lead to treatment plants, but discharge directly into natural waterways such as lakes, rivers, streams, and Puget Sound.
Visit http://www.piercecountywa.org/pssh for pollution-prevention information, including links to city programs money-saving coupons for compost, pet waste bags, and car washes.