While out on a walk, I noticed several dumpsters next to an industrial facility along the Anacortes waterfront area. A white liquid was dripping out of the dumpster and flowing into a nearby storm drain. This area is adjacent to the Guemes Channel, so I had no doubt this liquid was flowing down the drain and into our marine waters. I took this photo, and called the illicit discharge reporting hotline phone number at the City of Anacortes.
An hour later I returned to the scene to see if anything was happening - there were four men sopping up the liquid with absorbent pads - thanks, City of Anacortes! I asked these men if the liquid was toxic, and they said it was a water-based material, and it did not leak into the storm drain. I told him that I had a picture of it entering the storm drain, and one of the men asked me who I was. I told him I was a volunteer from the North Sound Baykeeper, a member of the Waterkeeper Alliance, and we work hard to keep anything except clean water from going down our storm drains.
In stormwater language, this incident is called an illicit discharge. And it’s not ok to dump water-based liquids such as paint down a storm drain. If you have questions about how to report illicit discharges, please let us know. We depend on our group of volunteers to help us with reporting illicit discharges. Many thanks!