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Public Works > Stormwater Pollution Prevention

Stormwater Pollution Prevention

Rain and snow that falls within the City runs off rooftops, paved streets, and parking lots where it eventually goes into our local streams and Liberty Bay. This precipitation, called stormwater, is untreated and can carry pollutants like oil, trash, gas, and soil into Liberty Bay. Stormwater runoff is the leading threat to water quality throughout the Puget Sound. The City of Poulsbo has a stormwater permit with the Washington Department of Ecology that outlines requirements that the City must follow to prevent pollutants from entering stormwater. It is up to all those who live and work in the City of Poulsbo to help protect our natural resources because the water quality of Liberty Bay is directly tied to our livelihood and history.

The City is developing a program that requires businesses and publicly owned sites to take measures that prevents pollutants from entering the stormwater system. Polluted runoff from commercial, industrial, and other activities that is collected and discharged to waterways has negative impacts on water quality. It is much easier and cost effective to stop pollution before it enters the stormwater system than to try to remove it from stormwater.  The City is required to implement this program under our stormwater permit with the Department of Ecology.

How does this program work?

The Department of Ecology has identified activities and land uses that generate pollutants onsite. Some of the activities most commonly found in Poulsbo include food service, automotive repair, fertilizer and pesticide use, and outdoor material storage. Publicly and privately owned sites that conduct applicable activities are subject to this requirement.

Poulsbo staff will visit businesses and publicly owned sites to review onsite activities and identify potential stormwater pollutants. We will provide recommendations on actions your site can take to manage pollution sources, called Best Management Practices (BMPs). The Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program is focused first on providing education and technical assistance. Many BMPs are operational and can be implemented by taking simple steps like making sure dumpster lids remain closed, good housekeeping, covering outdoor stockpiles, or storing hazardous materials inside.  Structural and/or treatment BMPs will only be required if operational changes do not prevent illicit discharges to the storm drainage system or sufficiently control pollutants.

What’s next?

This webpage will be updated as we implement the new program. The City of Poulsbo is currently working to update PMC 13.18 in preparation for the source control program. The code update will be brought to City Council on November 2nd, 2022. In December, letters will be sent to sites that apply under this new program. Starting in 2023, city staff will contact owners and managers of these sites to schedule inspections.