Lower Columbia College | Stormwater Management

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Stormwater Management

Contact Us
Campus Services
360.442.2260
Richard Hamilton, Director

360.442.2263
Lower Columbia College is a member of the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE)
More Information
Lower Columbia College Stormwater Management Plan
A Citizens Guide to Clean Runoff
City of Longview Stormwater Information
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

Lower Columbia College participates in a Stormwater Management Plan with the goal to increase awareness of the link between on-campus activities and water quality in streams and lakes in Cowlitz County. See the Stormwater Management Plan for detailed information.

Illicit Discharge Elimination Program

Did you know that anything dumped into a storm drain goes straight to a stream, river or lake?

When contaminants enter storm drains, they pollute our water resources.

Storm water runoff is a major source of surface water pollution. Runoff can pick up contaminants on the ground, including sediment, oil, gas, fertilizer, pet waste, grass clippings, car wash water, etc. By making some simple changes you can help prevent polluted runoff:

  • Fix auto leaks promptly
  • Properly dispose of used motor oil
  • Don’t fertilize before it rains
  • Put trash in its place
  • Never dump anything down a storm drain!

Learn to spot common warning signs and please report illicit discharges:

Report Dry Weather Flow

If a storm drain has flow when it has not rained for at least 72 hours, or if it shows intermittent flow (staining or odor), an illicit discharge or illegal dumping may be present. A team of trained investigators is required to determine the source of dry weather flow. Lower Columbia College has procedures in place to conduct these investigations.

Report Suds

Suds may seem harmless but fish don't enjoy bubble baths like humans do. Suds often enter lakes and streams as a result of illicit car washes or pipes from washing machines. Natural foam also exists but it is very dry and non-slippery and it does not pollute the water or harm aquatic life. You can help by washing vehicles and equipment in designated areas, away from storm drains.

Report Sewage

Sewage pollutes rivers and lakes when people have septic tank overflow pipes or improperly dump travel trailer or porta-potty waste. You can tell when sewage is present—it has a distinct odor. There may also be black staining inside the drainage pipe and visible evidence of sanitary waste such as toilet paper or opaque or gray water.

Report Oil and Gas

If you swirl oil and gas around in the water it will always reattach. Natural sheens secreted from plans will remain separate if swirled. Gas and oil enter water bodies via storm water runoff (when oil or gas drips onto pavement) and illegal dumping. You can help by not topping off when you fill up your tank, keeping your vehicle maintained and properly recycling used motor oil.

Acceptable Discharges

The rule of thumb is: "If you don’t drink it, don’t dump it," but there are a few exceptions to what you can safely and legally discharge into a storm drain, other than stormwater:

  • Lawn and landscape irrigation runoff
  • Foundation and footing drain flow
  • Water from non-commercial car wash
  • Water main flushing
  • Pumped groundwater
  • Diverted Stream Flows
  • Air conditioning condensate
  • Water from crawl space pumps
  • Residual street washing water
  • Discharge from potable water sources
  • Residential, de-chlorinated pool water
  • Flows from fire-fighting activities

What can you do to prevent storm water pollution?

  • Use fertilizers sparingly and sweep up driveways, sidewalks and gutters.
  • Never dump anything down storm drains or in streams.
  • Vegetate bare spots in your yard.
  • Compost your yard waste.
  • Use least toxic pesticides and follow labels.
  • Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces.
  • Take your car to the car wash instead of washing it in the driveway.
  • Check your car for leaks and recycle your motor oil.
  • Pick up after your pet.
  • Have your septic tank pumped and system inspected regularly.

Helpful Definitions

Illicit Discharge

Any discharge of seepage to the separate storm water drainage system that is not entirely composed of storm water or uncontaminated groundwater.

Illicit Connection

A physical connection to a separate storm water drainage system that primarily conveys illicit discharges into the system and/or is not authorized or permitted by local authority.

Point Source

An outfall from a drainage system to waters of the state, or a point where a storm water drainage system discharges into a system operated by another public body.

Storm Water Runoff

Rain or snow melt that falls on impervious surfaces can pick up contaminants as it travels to natural or artificial systems or water bodies.