Five Things

About Five Things

Current five things coverFive Things is a City of Olympia utilities publication that showcases your utility dollars at work.

It highlights recent success stories, important information about our programs and services, helpful tips, and opportunitities for you to make a difference by helping to conserve resources, reduce uneccessary waste, and keep rates low.

Five Things is mailed out to all City utility customers with each bill and is made available online for customers who choose paperless billing.

You may downoad the complete PDF or view the individual articles below.

Five Things Article 1Mayor's Challenge - Pledge to Conserve

City of Olympia Mayor Stephen Buxbaum is joining mayors across the country in asking residents to make a commitment to conserve water. Take part in a national contest aimed at drastically slashing water and energy use across the nation.

As a pledge participant, residents can win a new Toyota Prius Plug-In, water saving fixtures and hundreds of other prizes!

Throughout the month of April waterwise Olympia residents are encouraged to make their pledge to water conservation at – it only takes a few minutes! Help us make Olympia’s already eco-minded community shine by taking the pledge!

Need help conserving? Visit for information on the many tools, incentives and rebates available to City of Olympia water customers.

Water...Did You Know?

  • About 400 billion gallons are used in the US per day.
  • The average American household uses over 100,000 gallons annually.
  • A running toilet can waste up to 200 gallons per day.
  • At a drip per second, a faucet can leak 3,000 gallons per year.
  • More than 25% of bottled water comes from a municipal supply.

Pictured Above: Mayor Stephen H. Buxbaum is joined by Matt Weiner’s 4th/5th grade students at Lincoln Elementary to issue Olympia’s Water Conservation Challenge.

Five Things Article 2Beautiful Nuisances - Escaped Pests

What do these garden plants: butterfly bush, pampas grass, and yellow arch angel have in common? They are non-native invasive plants that wreak havoc in our forests, natural areas and along our streams. Each year billions of dollars are spent...

Each year billions of dollars are spent combating invasive plant species. As invasive species spread, habitat loss and costs to control these species escalate.

Why the concern? Non-native plants and animals can have a devastating impact to the lands and water that native species depend on for survival. This results in a loss of habitat impacting the survival of native fish and wildlife species.

What you can do? Be a good steward, do not plant invasives! Plant native species. Never place invasive plants in the compost or dump into the woods! Consult with Thurston County Noxious Weed Control Agency ( for list of invasive plant species, alternative plant options and the best ways to remove and dispose of invasive plants.

Wild Side of Wildflower Mixes
Wildflower mixes are popular with gardeners. BEWARE! Manufacturers purposefully add non-native invasive plant seeds as they grow faster than native seeds and spread more aggressively. These plants have been spreading like wildfire impacting our woodlands, prairies, stream sides and wetlands. Do not plant commercially-packaged wildflower mixes. Instead, remove invasive plants and plant native species or ornamentals known not to spread.

Five Things Article 3New Wellfield Online - Water Quality Report

A significant milestone was achieved in late November with the City moving its water supply to McAllister Wellfield and retired McAllister Springs. The Wellfield is significantly more protected, more productive, and will meet water supply needs for generations to come.

Though we are now on a more protected water source, the wellfield was not completed by October 1, 2014, an unmovable dea dline set by the federal government. As a result the City incurred a "treatment technique violation." The City is required to notify all customers of this missed deadline. Rest assured, though the deadline was missed, the City continues to provide high quality drinking water to your homes and businesses.

Visit to obtain a complete copy of water quality report. If you do not have access to a computer, please contact program staff to obtain a copy.

What's Inside the Water Quality Report?

  • Public water system information
  • Source information
  • Required statements
  • Definition of terms
  • Test results
  • Compliance with drinking water regulations
  • Required educational information
  • Groundwater Protection Program  
  • Cross Connection Control

Five Things Article 4Celebrating Success in Transportation

All City streetlights have been switched over to LED fixtures, which use less energy and cost less. They also produce a better quality light that lets you see colors more clearly. In 2013, the City switched over roughly 3,200...

In 2013, the City switched over roughly 3,200 City-owned streetlights to LEDs. This year the City worked with Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to convert the remaining 1,200 streetlights that PSE owns. By converting all 4,500 streetlights to LEDs, the City is saving $200,000 a year in energy costs.

The City provides two electric vehicle charging stations: one at City Hall on Cherry Street and the other at the Justice Center. The stations were donated to the City by Nissan as part of a two-year pilot program, which includes adding six electric vehicles to the City’s fleet.

The stations are open to the public and cost $1 per hour. In addition to these stations at City buildings, you can find others at

Stay Off the Line - Give it Time!
The upcoming summer months mean paint striping season on Olympia streets so please:

  • If you’re behind the paint truck, please stay back and give the truck lots of room to work.
  • Don’t drive over the freshly painted lines. The top layer of paint dries within two minutes, but it can take up to 24 hours to completely cure.
  • If you do get paint on your car, wash it off right away with water.

Five Things Article 5Recycling Tips

City of Olympia offers single-stream recycling, which means all recyclables go in one cart! The majority of recyclables are fairly well-known: junk mail, boxes, cans, water bottles. Here are a few helpful tips to help decrease your amount of trash, while recycling right!

  • Tip #1: If the mouth of the container is smaller than the base – Recycle it!
  • Tip #2: Planting spring flowers? Rigid plastic flower pots are recyclable!
  • Tip #3: Moooove over…put your dairy tubs in the recycle bin too!
  • Tip #4: Many types of paper are accepted…including cereal and food boxes.
  • Tip #5: Paper coffee cups are not recyclable because of the plastic lining…but the cardboard sleeve is!
  • Tip #6: Carry your recyclables out in a paper bag…plastic bags belong in the garbage.
  • Tip #7: Forget the plastic number – focus on the shape – bottle, jug, dairy tub, flower pot and buckets.
  • Tip #8: Not all plastics accepted – no clamshell or salad containers please.

The City appreciates your efforts to recycle! Visit for a more complete list of recyclable items.

Saturday Drop-Off Site
Overflow of Recycle? Spring cleaning in your yard? Located at the Maintenance Center, 1401 Eastside St SE, the Saturday Drop-Off Site is open 9am – 2pm from now until November 21st. Bring your recycling and scrap metal for free and your yard waste for a fee. You can visit our website at for more information and specifics on materials and prices.