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Washington Waters  Ours to Protect

business What you can do...

Only Rain Down the Drain

Keep dirt and grime
from washing into storm drains.

Keeping Washington’s water clean is good business

One of the most common types of pollution from businesses is contaminated water runoff, usually from cleaning and maintenance activities. Many common products used at your business contain toxic chemicals. Even products you might think of as safe — such as soaps, detergents, and other cleaners (even those sold as ‘biodegradable’) — can be harmful if they escape into Washington’s waterways.

Water runoff picks up harmful substances from parking lots, roofs, streets, and sidewalks. These pollutants flow directly into our creeks, rivers, and lakes without any treatment. They can contaminate drinking water, foul waterways and beaches, close shellfish beds, kill fish and other animals.

Take actions to protect the waters in your community

Simple best management practices (BMPs) can prevent stormwater pollution, and prevention is good business. It helps keep our water and beaches clean, and shows your customers you care about your community. Washington will be a much cleaner and better place to live and work.

Your business can do its part to minimize contributions to stormwater pollution by applying the following common sense practices.

Find your street drain and keep it pollution free

Your drain should be easy to spot next to the curb on the street running by or near your business. Or just watch where the water goes next time it rains or the snow melts.

Manage your hazardous products and wastes to keep them out of your storm drain:

  • Cover: Store hazardous products and wastes in sturdy, leak-proof containers with tight-fitting lids.
  • Label: Label clearly what is in every container. Do not mix different chemicals in the same container.
  • Contain: If containers are kept outside, place them under cover and keep them off the ground (example: set on a pallet).
  • Repair: As you do your daily cleanup, look for drips and leaks; immediately repair faulty connectors, hoses, valves, etc.
  • Clean: Dry sweep your parking lot and outside storage areas weekly.
  • Prepare: Have and use a spill kit. What is in your spill kit usually depends on what kind of chemicals you have and the nature and size of your operation. Typically, spill kit items help contain and soak up spills quickly. Many spill kit supplies can be purchased from general stores. Others can be purchased from industrial supply vendors.

Every business counts

Many people think that most pollution comes from big industries. However, over the years the Department of Ecology has worked with these large businesses and has had great success in controlling the pollution they produce.

Today, smaller businesses like yours also need to do their part to properly manage hazardous substances to keep our water clean.

Spill Kit

Sample list of spill-kit supplies:
  • Sorbent booms
  • Kitty litter
  • Sorbent pads
  • Plastic sheeting (for drain cover)
  • Garbage bags and zip ties
  • Acid/base neutralizer
  • Safety gloves and goggles

Remember: “Only rain down the drain”

 get the Washington Waters logo

Use this postcard to spread the word!


Preventing stormwater pollution is good business. See tips for carpet cleaning & wastewater disposal.
Use this quick tips card to spread the word.


Promoting best practices for small businesses. Nothing but rain down the drain!


Protecting Washington’s Waters from Stormwater Pollution

Working for Washington's Future: Healthy Watersheds, Healthy People


It’s Not Just Water is here to help companies understand how to properly dispose of waste water resulting from their business practices.