Updated June 10, 2024

The University has established programs and procedures in place designed to protect the environment.  

EH&S has primary responsibility for providing guidelines regarding water, soil and air pollution prevention in compliance with applicable federal, state and local regulations. EH&S acts as the UW’s liaison with regulatory agencies.

We have many permits and guidelines in place to ensure that University activities support environmental protection and regulatory compliance with respect to stormwater management.

Stormwater management

The UW has established Stormwater Management Programs to manage separate storm drainage systems across jurisdictions. The programs are designed and implemented to reduce the discharge of pollutants from the stormwater system to the maximum extent practicable to protect water quality.

Students, staff, faculty and the community are welcome to provide suggestions for these programs, which are described in the links below and updated annually.

The Operations and Maintenance Plan details procedures for protecting storm water quality.

Read the Stormwater annual reports:

If you have any comments, suggestions or questions on these programs or stormwater management at the UW, please contact EH&S Environmental Programs.

Protect stormwater quality

Stormwater is water from storm events, either rain or snowmelt, that flows over the ground and enters the nearest surface water body. On campus, stormwater falls on buildings, roads, parking lots, sidewalks, loading docks and landscaped areas. Some of it soaks into the ground, but most of it flows to the nearest storm drain.

Runoff may contain high levels of contaminants such as suspended sediment, nutrients, heavy metals, pathogens, toxins, oxygen-demanding substances and trash. Urban stormwater runoff has been identified as a major problem for water quality nationwide.No dumping, drains to lake

Storm drains on the Seattle campus and at UW Bothell drain directly into Portage Bay and Lake Washington. Storm drains at UW Tacoma drain directly into the Puyallup River, a salmon corridor.

Storm drains marked with the words "NO DUMPING - DRAINS TO LAKE" and a picture of a fish indicate that drainage goes directly into a salmon corridor.

Report spills

 A spill is a release of a substance that may cause harm to the natural environment. The sooner a spill is reported, the quicker it can be addressed, resulting in less harm.

If you see a spill on a University campus, call 206.543.0467 (after hours call 9-1-1).

EH&S will respond to and investigate reports in accordance with applicable regulations and policies. There is no penalty for reporting a spill.

Read more about stormwater pollution prevention.

Services available

EH&S provides the following services:

  • Guidance, consultation, regulatory oversight, and assistance with environmental quality compliance and permits
  • Assistance with protecting stormwater and complying with the UW Stormwater Management Program
  • Assistance with identifying, managing, and disposing of PCB contaminated waste