Redmond residents can assist in preventing pollution of our water resources by enacting a few easy steps and habits. Keeping pollutants out of the environment is good for fish and people, and helps keep Redmond’s drinking water supply clean.
Please continue reading for ways on how YOU can make a difference:
Overuse of lawn pesticides and fertilizers contaminates our rivers, lakes, and groundwater.
Learn to grow a healthy lawn that looks great year ’round while protecting Redmond’s water resources.
- Mow higher, mow regularly, and leave the clippings on the lawn (“grasscycle”).
- If needed, fertilize moderately in September or May with a “natural organic” or “slow-release” fertilizer.
- Water deeply, but less frequently. Or let lawns go dormant in summer.
- Improve poor lawns with aeration, overseeding, and compost topdressing.
- Avoid using “weed & feed” and other pesticides – use less-toxic alternatives.
- Consider alternatives to lawns in shady areas, on slopes, and near waterways.
Download Natural Yard Care guide in English (PDF) or Cuidado Natural Del Jardin (Natural Yard Care) (PDF) to learn more about natural yard care.
Oils and other vehicle fluids that drip onto roads and driveways are washed by rain into storm drains that enter groundwater or flow directly to Redmond’s lakes, rivers, and streams without treatment.
What to do:
- Check for oil leaks regularly and fix them – Visit Car Leaks website and find a local repair shop to get a free leak check!
- Use absorbent pads or drip pans under your vehicle if it has a leak or during engine work.
- Always clean up spills immediately with absorbent materials and never wash down the drain.
- Never dispose of oil or other engine fluids into a storm drain, ditch, or onto ground surface.
- Collect all use oils and fluids in containers with tight fitting lids.
- Recycle used motor oils at auto supply stores and local household hazardous waste facilities for more information visit the King County Hazardous Waste website.
- Redmond residents can recycle used motor oil at the curb.
Two resources for Household Waste Disposal
- City of Redmond Garbage and Recycling events
- King County Hazardous Waste Program - includes information about latex paint disposal
An on-site septic system is an underground holding tank that receives sewage for onsite treatment. Septic systems are designed to only treat sewage from toilets, showers, sinks, dishwashers, laundry washers, and other plumbing fixtures.
Bacteria inside the tank break down the waste anaerobically (without oxygen). Liquid then flows to a drainfield and is released into the soil for further treatment and eventually filters down to groundwater. The solids in the tank settle and must be occasionally removed by a certified septic system pumper. The pumped solids are then taken to an approved disposal facility.
- Never put chemical waste or non-human waste into a septic tank system. Chemicals can disturb the bacteria in the septic tank, preventing proper treatment of the waste, causing the waste to pollute soil and groundwater (i.e. drinking water).
- Get regular inspections and maintenance. If you have a septic tank and a gravity drain every 2 to 3 years is recommended. If you have any other type of septic system, an inspection every year is recommended.
- Garbage disposals should be used sparingly.
- Keep trees at least 30 feet from the edge of the drain field to avoid damage from their roots.
- Never drive over your septic system.
- Watch for cues that your septic tank is nearing capacity, or is failing.
- Conserve water. Too much can cause solids to escape your tank and plug your drain field.
A leaking heating oil tank has potential to contaminate soil, groundwater, surface water, and even neighboring properties. Property owners can be found liable for this contamination, as well as expensive cleanup costs.
If you have a heating oil tank on your property the State of Washington offers Pollution Liability Insurance (PLIA) to assist with the cost of site cleanups. You must be register with PLIA prior to the start of any accidental release for cleanup costs to be covered. Visit the State of Washington Pollution Liability page.
Leaking tanks and tanks no longer in use should be removed or decommissioned to reduce pollution impacts to the environment and owner liability.
If you are removing or decommissioning an above ground or underground heating oil tank you are required to obtain a Tank Removal permit from the City of Redmond Fire Department, visit our Permits page for information on applying.
The City of Redmond supports green purchasing and is very interested in working with consumers, businesses, and organizations to present options that align with protecting public health and the environment.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines Green Purchasing as:
“choosing products or services that have a lesser or reduced effect on human health and the environment when compared with competing products or services that serve the same purpose. Comparison applies to raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, use, reuse, operation, maintenance, and disposal.”
Many common cleaning products are hazardous to the environment when flushed down the drain or thrown away. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, fumes from household cleansers and other products make indoor air in the typical home two to five times more polluted than the air outside.
Green cleaning products can help keep chemicals out of the waste stream and groundwater and also typically come in recycled packaging, which is an extra bonus for the environment. Safer alternatives can be substituted for many products that contain hazardous ingredients, particularly for products used to clean drains, toilet bowls, ovens, bathtubs and tiles.
Children, seniors and pets are particularly sensitive to household chemicals. Using less toxic household products keeps the home healthier and helps protect the environment.
Here are some tips for finding less toxic products:
- Look at the warning words on the label. The warning words "Caution" and "Warning" indicate a moderate hazard. The words "Danger" and "Poison" on the label indicate highest hazard. Avoid products marked "Danger" or "Poison" and look for products with no warning words. Note that particular warning words don’t always refer to the same kind of hazard.
- Choose a product with no scent or a mild scent. Scented products can add chemicals to the indoor air environment and may be disruptive to children and to people with respiratory ailments or sensitive skin.
- Check the product’s ingredients. Finding out what’s in a product can sometimes be difficult because manufacturers aren’t required to list all the ingredients (except for food products). For example, many manufacturers don’t list inert ingredients even though people may be sensitive to these. Even when ingredients are listed, the information can be confusing. Use the warning words as a guide.
- Follow the instructions for product use. Information on the product label tells how to properly use the product, how to store it and clean it up, and how to avoid water pollution and environmental harm.
Next time you're shopping for cleaning products, take along this Green Cleaning brochure (PDF) to help you select safer products--including resources for making your own homemade household cleaners!