JBLM facilities help prevent pollution in stormwater
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – This bioretention swale was recently construction near the Logistics Center Gate at Joint Base Lewis-McChord and treats stormwater runoff that historically drained to Murray Creek. (Photo Credit: Kiley Westergaard, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Directorate of Public Works) VIEW ORIGINAL
JBLM facilities help prevent pollution in stormwater
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – From left, Kathryn Shirley, stormwater sampler at Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s stormwater team, Drew Cratsenberg, environmental engineer, and Chad Populorum, stormwater inspector, perform Benthic Sampling at Clover Creek Sept. 12. (Photo Credit: Hailey Dunn, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Directorate of Public Works) VIEW ORIGINAL
JBLM facilities help prevent pollution in stormwater
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Kathryn Shirley, stormwater sampler at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, takes a sample from the waters of Murray Creek Nov. 14. (Photo Credit: Hailey Dunn, Joint Base Lewis-McChord Directorate of Public Works ) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – The Environmental Division team at Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s Directorate Public Works is challenged to ensure stormwater at the base stays pollutant free and does not contaminate local water systems.

Contaminants in stormwater runoff from roadways, parking lots and other similar surfaces are large sources of pollution to waterways. Pollutants in waterways can quickly affect salmon and other important species.

Bioretention swales, the most frequently constructed stormwater facilities on JBLM, are an important part of the stormwater system to prevent pollution. These facilities are identified by Washington State Department of Ecology as the most effective for removal of chemicals that affect salmon.

Stormwater is the rain, snow, and ice melt that falls and accumulates on surfaces. JBLM’s stormwater management plan ensures most of JBLM’s stormwater goes through treatment, but everyone can contribute to clean stormwater by following the phrase: “Only Rain Down the Drain.” Only wash cars at commercial car washes, clear storm drains of debris so flooding doesn’t occur, and keep dumpster lids closed when not in use.

Keeping stormwater clean means keeping waterways clean.

Everyone can contribute to clean stormwater, but unfortunately some pollution is hard to prevent. JBLM has a stormwater management program in place to further prevent stormwater pollution.

Ponds, bioretention swales, catch basins and dispersion are all examples of methods DPW uses to treat or divert stormwater runoff. Specifically, bioretention uses specialized soil to treat pollutants.

Bioretention swales and cells/ponds are common facilities on JBLM. New swales were recently constructed at the Logistics Center Gate. The new swales divert stormwater that historically drained to Murray Creek.

Possible pollution that would have affected Murray Creek is now redirected to bioretention swales to be treated by the soil. Bioretention filtration removes most of the pollutants and helps prevent salmon death.

An emerging contaminant to stormwater is a chemical added during tire manufacturing and used to prevent tire rubber from cracking. It’s present in most personally owned vehicles. Eventually, the chemical moves to tire surfaces and dissolves easily into water. Although this chemical is needed for public safety, it is extremely toxic to coho salmon.

A recent study showed the chemicals from tires causes death in adult, juvenile and newly hatched coho salmon. There is also a growing concern that pollution in stormwater affects additional important species.

JBLM’s stormwater management system is an effective way to prevent pollution. Bioretention removes pollutants in stormwater and prevents salmon death. With everyone’s participation and JBLM’s stormwater management plan, waterways can remain clean and pollution free for years to come.

For more information about stormwater management on JBLM, visit https://home.army.mil/lewis-mcchord/index.php/my-Joint-Base-Lewis-Mcchord/all-services/public_works-environmental_division/stormwater