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Urban Waters Initiative photo identifier

Urban Waters Initiative

Source Control and How It Works

Source control prevents contamination or re-contamination of urban waters. Source control is a big job that requires coordination among Ecology’s varied programs and also with other agencies and organizations.

Part of the challenge of cleaning and protecting urban waters is the large number of pollution sources. The diagram below shows some of the many ways that pollution gets into an urban waterway.

Ecology and its partners working in an urban waters area will share information, divide up workloads, and make sure that trouble spots get attention. Working as a team, these agencies approach source control from the beginning to the end of industrial processes.

Inspectors who are specialists in source control are in the field visiting industrial, commercial and residential sites. Source control inspectors provide the following services in the Urban Waters Initiative areas:

  • Identify potential sources of contamination.
  • Advise facilities on any permits that they may require, help them get the permits they need and make sure that they are in compliance with their permits.
  • Assist in the development of needed source control measures.
  • Provide assistance on ways to reduce toxics and prevent pollution.
  • Assist the ability of local agencies to work with businesses and households to safely manage and reduce toxics.
Source control specialists work closely with businesses to stop pollution problems. In those cases where businesses are, after repeated assistance and warnings, unable or unwilling to comply with regulations, Ecology and its partners use enforcement as a last resort.

For a look at what the Urban Water Initiative is doing in those areas selected for special attention, follow the links below: