Preventing Pollution

Car Care

Reduce vehicle contaminants that make their way into Puget Sound. These small actions help care for your car and protect Puget Sound and the iconic animals that call it home.

  • Make sure tires are inflated. This leads to less tire breakdown, and less release of a toxic chemical that kills coho salmon. 
  • Regular car check-ups to prevent leaks.
  • Wash your car at  commercial car washes - which capture and clean dirty wash water.


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Practice Natural Yard Care

The way you care for your yard and garden impacts Snohomish County's environment. Pesticides and chemical fertilizers can wash off lawns and pollute waterways. Prevent problems instead by practicing the five steps to natural yard care.




Scoop the Poop, Bag it & Put it in the trash

Pet waste contains harmful bacteria, which can contaminate water and make people and pets sick. Landfills are designed to safely handle substances such as dog waste and cat litter. Do not place pet waste in yard waste bins or compost piles - these methods do not destroy harmful organisms. Learn more about preventing pollution from pet waste.




Septic System Care

A failing septic system can cost thousands of dollars to repair and can be a serious health risk to your family and pets. You can prevent this by properly caring for your septic system.


Stream-Friendly Car Washing

Most people are surprised to learn that washing a car can pollute their local streams, rivers, lakes, and Puget Sound. Car wash runoff not only contains soap, it's also loaded with the oils, greases, fuel, and road grime that were on the car. In most urban neighborhoods the dirty washwater flows down the driveway, into the street, and within a few feet it drops into a storm drain. After the dirty washwater falls through the slotted storm drain grate, it flows through underground pipes straight to the nearest creek - road runoff does not go to a municipal sewage treatment plant.


The soaps and detergents are harmful to fish and other aquatic organisms (like the insects fish eat) because they contain surfactants. These chemicals are designed to lift and coat the dirt and grime so it doesn't settle back onto your car, but surfactants are also great at coating gills and this prevents fish and aquatic insects from getting the oxygen they need.


The good news is that it is possible to have clean cars and clean streams.