Stormwater Pollution Prevention

Oils in stormwater near drain

What is stormwater pollution?

Stormwater is a major cause of water pollution, yet it is the hardest to control because pollution comes from so many different places.

Rainfall makes contact with a wide variety of harmful pollutants on the ground. From there it carries those pollutants into the stormwater system and eventually into our local waterways.

The choices you make everyday can make a big difference! You have the power to help reduce pollution from cars, yard chemicals, pet waste, septic and more. Simple changes in your lifestyle will contribute to a cleaner Puget Sound and healthier plant and wild life.

Incentives & tips: Helping you help the environment

Dog waste is not “fertilizer” but a raw sewage loaded with harmful bacteria. Left on the ground it can make its way into our waterways, harming plant and aquatic life and lead to shellfish harvesting and swimming closures.

We offer free Pet Waste Pick-up Stations to neighborhoods, businesses, schools, and anywhere there is a problem with pet waste on the ground. The kit includes a "Stop & Scoop" sign, heavy-duty bag dispenser, and the first set of bags.

This handy "Pick Up for Puget Sound" waste bag holder conveniently attaches to your dog’s leash, so when your dog is ready to go, you are prepared.

Pick one up from Olympia City Hall, Thurston County Animal Services or at any Stream Team event. Name and address required for this giveaway.

Lawn aeration removes plugs of soil, which allows air and water to move more easily into the soil. This not only helps rainwater soak in, reducing stormwater runoff, it also helps improve the health of the lawn.

In order to encourage aeration, we will pay for a one-day rental of a lawn aerator when three or more neighbors agree to use it. City of Olympia Utility customers only.

  • Download the Application & Waiver Form  to get started!

Rain gardens look similar to a landscaped garden on the surface, but are strategically designed to collect and manage stormwater, preventing pollution from runoff.

  • Learn more and find out how you can receive a $400 reimbursement for building your own on our Rain Gardens page.

Fluids leaking from your vehicle contain toxic pollutants. When drip spots fall on roads and parking lots, they eventually get washed to local streams and Puget Sound through the stormwater system.

To protect our local waterways (and your vehicle) you should periodically do a "paper test" to identify what, if anything is leaking from your vehicle. Here's how:

  1. Place a large piece of paper or cardboard under your engine while it is still warm and leave for several hours (preferably overnight).
  2. If drip spots are present, compare their color to this color chart to identify the fluid.
  3. Bring your vehicle, along with the spotted paper, to a nearby mechanic to have the leak repaired.
  4. If you cannot get the leak repaired right away, put paper, cardboard, or a drip pan under the leak while your vehicle is parked, until you can get the leak repaired.

City staff protecting storm drain from spill

Spill prevention, reporting and response

Witness a spill or suspicious discharge? Call our spills hotline anytime at 360.753.8333. You can choose to remain anonymous.

Header of Stream Team News magazine

Stream Team

Stream Team is a partnership between the cities of Olympia, Lacey, Tumwater, and Thurston County. It provides people the opportunity to learn about and participate in restoring and protecting area streams, shorelines, and wetlands for a cleaner Puget Sound. Stream Team holds a variety of educational programs and hands-on action events throughout the year.

Screenshot of lawnmowing in Natural Yard Care video series

Natural Yard Care

Natural lawn care practices not only breed healthier, more beautiful lawns, but also help protect the environment, conserve water and save you money! Small changes in the way you plant, fertilize, water and mow can make a BIG difference.

Youth in forest participating in South Sound Green program

Education opportunities for local schools

The City partners with South Sound GREEN to provide watershed education opportunities to teachers and students (grades 4-college) in local public, private and home-schools. They provide classroom presentations, hands-on field activities, and other development programs.