Protect wildlife habitat by preventing pollution in campus stormwater


Stormwater drains on the UW campuses empty directly into local waterways, which can carry pollution that harms wildlife, such as birds and fish. Campus activities can put the surrounding natural areas at risk when garbage, oils, chemicals and other potentially harmful substances are allowed to flow into stormwater drains.

stormwater drain
Stormwater drain on a UW campus

The Environmental Health & Safety Department (EH&S) responds to spills, releases and discharges of substances that could cause environmental damage on UW campuses. We rely on students, faculty and staff to help keep pollutants out of stormwater drains and report spills.

Keep pollution out of stormwater drains

Protect our waterways by doing the following:

  1. Do not pour into (or near) a stormwater drain: soaps, cleaners, chemicals, grease, oil or paint
  2. Do not litter (e.g., put cigarette butts in a designated receptacle).
  3. Ensure that your car does not leak oil and consider alternatives to driving.

EH&S is available to help UW students, faculty and staff dispose of potentially harmful substances.

Contact us at or 206.543.0467 if you will be doing any of the following activities on a UW campus:

  • Painting or staining
  • Pressure washing
  • Washing a vehicle or changing oil
  • Landscaping work (e.g., moving dirt, removing vegetation, or applying fertilizer, pesticides or herbicides)
  • Cleaning up after an outdoor event where food and beverages were served
  • Spreading confetti, glitter or powdered pigments

Mud, food waste, soapy water and water-based paint may seem harmless but these substances can pollute our surface water, harm aquatic life, damage underground pipes and pose a risk to workers. If it’s not rainwater, assume it’s not allowed in the stormwater drain.

Report spills

A spill is a release of a substance that may cause harm to the natural environment. The sooner a spill is reported, the quicker it can be addressed, resulting in less harm.

  • If you see a spill on a University campus, take a photo and send it to or call 206.543.0467.
  • Anyone can anonymously report spills through the Report a Concern form on the EH&S website.

EH&S will respond to and investigate reports in accordance with applicable regulations and policies. There is no penalty for reporting a spill.

Visit the Stormwater webpage for more information about Stormwater Pollution Prevention and the University’s Stormwater Management Program.