Contaminated water: Honey-Do and Honey-Don't | Guest column

You’ve got your Honey-Do list. We’ve got some Honey-Don’ts.

As the weather gets nicer, out come the Honey-Do lists. Clean the car. Fertilize the lawn. Purge the hot tub. Stain the deck. Paint the fence.

Many of our household chores, especially those that happen outside, have the potential to pollute Federal Way’s creeks and lakes as well as Puget Sound.

Contaminated surface water that enters the city’s storm drain system ultimately ends up in our natural water bodies which includes streams, ponds, lakes, wetlands and eventually Puget Sound.

Storm drains don’t clean the water, that’s why it’s important to keep common household products such as soap, fertilizer, pesticides and paint away from the drain.

Here are some Honey-Don’ts to keep in mind as you tackle your Honey-Do list this spring:

Car Washing

Honey-Do: Wash cars at a commercial carwash. Wash cars on grass, gravel or other permeable surfaces.

Honey-Don’t: Avoid washing the engine and undercarriage. Never allow soapy wastewater to flow into a storm drain.

Yard Care

Honey-Do: Use natural remedies to kill bugs. Use a slow-release organic fertilizer and do not over-apply.

Honey-Don’t: Use store-bought pesticides and herbicides.

Pool and Hot Tub Maintenance

Honey-Do: Drain your pool or hot tub into the sewer clean out, toilet, sink or bath tub.

Honey-Don’t: Do not drain pools or hot tubs into a stormdrain; the water usually contains chlorine, algaecides, buffers, salts, and high levels of copper which could hurt fish and water quality.

Driveway Maintenance

Honey-Do: Keep materials out of the rain to prevent runoff. Place temporary erosion controls down slope to capture runoff. Wash concrete mixers and equipment only in designated wash-out areas.

Honey-Don’t: Never dispose of cement washout into driveways, streets, gutters, storm drains or drainage ditches.


Honey-Do: Use tarps or plastic sheeting to protect the ground from scrapings, drips and spills. Clean brushes and pans in a sink or bathtub. Put solidified latex paint in the garbage; take oil-based paint to the Household Hazardous Waste Mobile

Honey-Don’t: Do not pour leftover paint down the storm drain or onto the ground.

Other common sense things to remember

Schedule projects during periods of dry weather.

Keep project materials out of the rain or covered with tarps.

Put construction dust and debris in the garbage, don’t wash it down the street.

Learn more

Read the full list at For more information, contact

Hollie Shilley, water quality specialist for the City of Federal Way: (253) 835-2752 or

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