Good water quality is important for our health, environment and economy. Preventing pollution is the first step. The number one cause of water pollution in Puget Sound today is from polluted rain runoff that has picked up oil and gas, fertilizers, livestock and pet waste and carried it into our waterways. You can help prevent and filter stormwater at home and on the farm.
Preventing Water Pollution at Home
- A Home Gardener’s Guide to Soils and Fertilizers – Detailed information on soil structure and fertility. How irrigation works in the soil. Discusses organic and synthetic fertilizers and creating and using compost.
- Biochar – A Gardener’s Primer – Learn what biochar is and how it can enhance soil fertility and filter water pollutants.
- Hortsense – Website with fact sheets on all types of home gardening pest or disease problems.
- Iron in Drinking Water – How to test and treat for iron in drinking water.
- Low Impact Development (LID) – Series of useful links to learn more about LID water filtering techniques that can help reduce pollution in stormwater.
- Phosphorus and Home Lawns: Quick Facts and Recommendations – How to apply lawn fertilizers to avoid causing water pollution.
- Rain Garden Handbook for Western Washington – Guide for the design, installation and maintenance of rain gardens. 96 pages (19 MB).
On the Farm and Ranch
- Fertilizing with Manure – A publication for the small to mid-sized crop producer to assist in more efficiently managing nutrients from manures. Focus is on crop growth but addresses water quality contamination concerns.
- Field Flooding for Controlling Soilborne Plant Pathogens in Western Washington – The Nature Conservancy of Washington’s Farming for Wildlife project, in cooperation with WSU, has been testing a novel concept of creating habitat for shorebirds on potato fields by employing field flooding.
- High Residue Farming Under Irrigation: What and Why – Explains cropping systems in which less tillage is used in order to keep crop residue on the surface of a field which provides benefits to soils and crops and conserves water.
- Livestock Management and Water Quality – Bulletin on how to address water quality problems for the safety of livestock and the environment.
- Pasture and Grazing Management in the Northwest – 208 page book (5 MB)covering all aspects of pasture management [not specific to water quality]. Also may order for $18.
- Water Quality Self Assessment Guide for Small Acreages – Checklist for assessing water in your home and farm.
- Soil Testing: A Guide for Farms with Diverse Vegetable Crops – Presents a comprehensive and affordable procedure for implementing an annual soil-testing program for farms with diverse vegetable crops. (5MB)
- Using Biodegradable Plastics as Agricultural Mulches – Fact sheet discussing the current research on the suitability of biodegradable plastic mulches for agricultural uses.
- WSU Integrated Pest Management and Pesticide Safety – Workshops, training and recertification website.
To Report an Oil Spill
- First call the National Response Center: 1-800-424-8802
- Then contact the Washington State Emergency Management Division: 1-800-258-5990
- If the spill is in the Pacific States or British Columbia also call: 1-800-OILS-911 (1-800-645-7911)
Where to get more information
Many agencies and organizations work on water quality issues. See our Links and Partners page for more.