Rumor of the Month

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  1. Rumor of the Month

Rumors and gossip are rarely factual. Get the facts straight from the source. Introducing our Rumor of the Month page. Each month, we'll showcase a new rumor we've been hearing around the community and address it here. Check back here each month for a new rumor.

January 2023

“I heard that our stormwater gets treated before it goes into the Puyallup River.”

Fact: Stormwater from new development sites is required to be treated before discharge from the site into the City storm system and the City has implemented some small-scale stormwater retrofit projects to treat stormwater in specific locations around the City.  However, development (roads, buildings, parking lots, etc.) that occurred prior to the implementation of development regulations were not required to treat runoff before leaving a site.  This means that the majority of the City’s Stormwater is NOT treated before being discharged into our various creeks (for example Clarks, Deer, and Woodland Creek) and ultimately the Puyallup River.  

In order to discharge stormwater into the creeks or rivers, the City must have a permit from the State and meet stringent environmental standards and implement specific regulations to be permitted. That includes City code, regulations, and City standards making sure our stormwater system is free of pollutants and harmful chemicals to the best of our ability.  We rely on residents to help us do this by practicing the phrase “Only rain down the drain.” When rainwater travels from your property into a catch basin, there is a chance for harmful chemicals and pollutants to contact the rainwater and travel into our stormwater system. These pollutants could do harm to our stormwater system, which in turn could pollute our natural waterways.

So, what can you do at home to help prevent this? We have some tips for you below.

  1. Limit your usage of chemical products on your lawn and garden - Chemicals such as pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers, although inexpensive and easily available, are harmful to a stormwater system and can cause pollution. As an alternative, switch to organic or natural products that are less harmful.
  2. Maintain your vehicle - Fix oil leaks from your car right away, and always make sure to dispose of used oil or antifreeze properly. Never dump motor oil or other vehicle fluids down a storm drain. If washing your car at home, you should wash it on gravel or grassy areas.
  3. Pick up after your pets and keep animals away from storm drains - Scoop up your dog’s poop and dispose of it in the trash. Dog poop is a major contributor to fecal and e-coli bacteria problems in our water systems, such as stormwater.
  4. Reduce impervious surfaces at home - Impervious surfaces include your roof, driveway, and patios. Re-route your drain spouts so that rooftop rain runoff can be directed towards vegetated areas, like your garden and lawn. For your driveways and patios, consider putting in permeable pavements like cement, asphalt, or pavers, which allow water to filter through them.
  5. Call the Spill Hotline – If you see a spill of anything that you think could get into the storm system that is not stormwater, please call the City’s spill hotline at 253-770-3336 so that we can respond to the spill and contain the problem before it reaches a waterway.

For businesses, the state has implemented new requirements pertaining to stormwater source control that the City is required to follow. City staff will be inspecting businesses in the coming year to ensure compliance with these new requirements. Learn more about these inspections by contacting Paul Marrinan, Senior Stormwater Engineer, at

For more stormwater tips, please visit our Stormwater Management webpage.

Submit a Rumor

Have you heard a rumor around town that you want us to answer? Submit your rumor to us at We will pick a rumor each month and feature it in on our website. Before you submit, here are some ground rules to keep in mind.

  1. Rumor cannot contain offensive, explicit, or foul language.
  2. The rumor cannot contain defamatory or derogatory statements about a particular city employee, volunteer, or elected official.
  3. The rumor should not contain information that promotes a particular political party or religion.
  4. The contents of the rumor cannot encourage illegal conduct or violation of any federal, state, or City law.
  5. The rumor cannot contain content that discriminates against people who are members of a protected class.