Stormwater is rain water that runs across hard surfaces such as roads, parking lots, and rooftops and discharges into streams, lakes, and marine waters. Stormwater can pick up oil, dirt, fertilizers, pesticides, soaps, and other pollutants before entering the storm drains to flow untreated into local waterways. Stormwater pollution negatively impacts natural habitats, recreational activities, and harvesting of fish and shellfish. According to Washington State Department of Ecology, approximately 75% of the toxic chemicals entering Puget Sound come from stormwater. The closure of local beaches to shellfish harvesting is a sign of pollution problems in Puget Sound.
Bremerton's Stormwater Program
The City of Bremerton Stormwater Program is a comprehensive approach to identifying and implementing solutions to water quality problems. The goals of the program include protecting public health and natural resources by supporting stormwater pollution control programs, meeting regulatory requirements, coordinating efforts with other agencies and programs, and raising public awareness of stormwater pollution. Elements of the program include capital improvements, operations and maintenance, planning, public education and involvement, and water quality monitoring.
Only Rain Down the Drain - Report Pollution
To report a spill or other water quality concern in the City of Bremerton, please call Bremerton Customer Response at 360-473-5920, or the Kitsap 1 Water Pollution Hotline at 360-337-5777 or 800-825-4940. Call 911 for emergencies.
Tips for Around the House
Each of us contribute to stormwater pollution, and the combined effects of all Bremerton residents influence the water quality of Puget Sound. Bremerton will be a better place to live if we work together to control stormwater pollution by following the tips below.
Fix vehicle leaks
If repair is not possible immediately, put a drip tray under the car and recycle the collected oil. Oil leaking from cars is a major cause of water pollution. Remember, most of the water from your driveway and sidewalk flows directly into local water bodies without treatment. Dispose of automotive fluids at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility at 5551 SW Imperial Way, Bremerton WA; 360-337-5777.
Keep Suds Out of Storm Drains
Use a commercial car wash. Water from commercial car washes flows into the sanitary sewer system and is treated by a wastewater treatment plant before entering local waterways. If you choose to wash your car at home, wash your car on the lawn rather than the driveway. Never dump detergents or cleaning products into local waterways.
If You Have an On-Site Septic System, Maintain it Properly
Runoff from failing systems can contaminate beaches, making shellfish unsafe to eat and waters unsafe for wading and swimming. Inspect and maintain your system. Alternative systems may need more frequent maintenance than traditional systems. If you notice signs of a failing system (water pooling in your yard, foul odors, dark grey or black stains in drainfield soil, backed-up toilets), contact a septic professional for advice. See the Kitsap Public Health District's Homeowner's Guide to On-site Sewage Systems (PDF).
Pave your driveway with lattice block pavers or permeable concrete or asphalt instead of traditional concrete or asphalt. Permeable pavement allows stormwater to seep into the ground. Learn more about low impact development at the Puget Sound Partnership's website.
Sweep walkways and driveways and place the debris in the garbage rather than hosing debris into storm drains.
Hot Tubs & Pools
Drain hot tubs and swimming pools into the sanitary sewer system. Chlorinated water is deadly to fish and aquatic life. Do not drain chlorinated water into storm drains or waterways.
Retain natural ground cover and existing trees and shrubs wherever possible. Removing vegetation or covering the ground with pavement and buildings prevents water from soaking into the soil. When clearing is necessary, stabilize areas of bare soil with vegetation as soon as possible after grading.
Trees & Shrubs
Plant additional trees and shrubs. They capture and hold a lot of rain, even before it reaches the ground.
Natural Yard Care
Practice natural yard care by limiting fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Pesticides are toxic to fish and can contaminate drinking water. Chemical and organic fertilizers can cause excessive plant growth in water. When these plants die, they rob the water of oxygen and this can kill fish. Never spray pesticides or fertilizers near ditches, lakes, or bays.
Compost your yard waste. Use compost to improve your soil, which will help absorb and filter stormwater. Keep grass clippings out of ravines and waterways, where they become unwanted fertilizer. Find information and guides on backyard composting from Kitsap County Public Works.
Dispose of lawn and garden chemicals carefully. Follow instructions on the container. Never dump them down drains or near water. They can "upset" the sewage treatment plant. Dispose of unused pesticides at the Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility at:
5551 SW Imperial Way
Use Native Plants
Garden with native plants. Native plants are especially adapted to rainy northwest winters and dry summers. Native plants require little additional water after they become established. They are more disease resistant, requiring less fertilizer and pesticides. Order native plants from the Kitsap Conservation District's annual plant sale. Call 360-337-7171 for information.
Use Drought-Tolerant Plants
Garden with drought-tolerant plants. There are hundreds of beautiful plants that thrive in the Pacific Northwest on little or no additional water after they are established. Learn more from Kitsap County Master Gardeners.
Seek non-chemical solutions to plant pest problems. Some chemicals remain in the environment for many years, accumulating to cause damage to aquatic life. Additionally, chemicals may pose a human health risk. Encourage insect-eating birds by providing tree cover and food during winter.
Direct water from downspouts over lawns or into a rain garden. Consider installing rain barrels to collect water from your roof for later use on your garden. Check out the Rain Garden Handbook for Western Washington (PDF) by Washington State University Extension, Washington State Department of Ecology, and Kitsap County. Learn about rain gardens from WSU Kitsap County Extension.