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Education and Involvement

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Make a big ripple in Tacoma's clean water and natural beauty by joining us as a volunteer. As an individual or as part of community groups, you are part of the solution to protecting Tacoma's environment.

 

Youth Opportunities

EnviroChallenger 
Storm drain stenciling and curb marking
City tours and presentations

Adult Opportunities

Restoration projects 
Environmental Services Sponsorship program 
Make a Splash grants 
Environmental Services Commission 
Water pollution hotline
EnviroHouse
Get involved with trees

We work with various community organizations to put on events and activities throughout the year. Read about what these organizations are doing to improve the waters around Tacoma and learn how you can get involved.

 

Design Manual

An updated Municipal Stormwater Permit was issued to the City of Tacoma on August 1, 2013, by the Washington State Department of Ecology under the Clean Water Act. The permit required that the City of Tacoma update its Stormwater Management Manual and review development codes and guidance to encourage Low Impact Development. The permit mandated code and regulatory document updates include changes to the Design Manual and Tacoma Municipal Code and are required to become effective by January 7, 2016.

 

The public comment period for the updated Design Manual is now closed. For questions about or on the status of the project please contact us at swmupdates@cityoftacoma.org.

 

Draft - City of Tacoma Right-of-Way Design Manual
Redline - Draft City of Tacoma Right-of-Way Design Manual

 

An overview of the changes and respective code changes was presented at a public meeting on October 8, 2015 at the Tacoma Municipal Building North, Room 16 from 4 PM to 6 PM. Here is the presentation for your reference. No formal public comments were received at the meeting.

 

EnviroChallenger Program

The City of Tacoma EnviroChallenger program has two awesome educators who tour the schools and teach students about taking care of our environment. Learn more.

The new Arts EnviroChallenger program builds on the success of the EnviroChallenger program by adding arts education for K-5 students. The program provides educational opportunities for K-5 students that integrate visual arts and science.

 

Storm Drain Marking

Water that goes down our storm drains flows directly into Tacoma's waterways – carrying with it all the pollutants it picks up along the way. The City's curb marking program marks our storm drains as a friendly reminder that our stormwater goes directly to the nearest creek, stream or Commencement Bay.

 

Volunteers can check out a kit that contains supplies and instructions for applying special markers to the curb.

 

The curb markers are made of durable, non-fade plastic and are glued to the curb near a storm drain as a reminder that there is “No Dumping, Drains to Puget Sound.”

 

Through an ongoing partnership between the City, the Pierce Conservation District Stream Team and Citizens for a Healthy Bay, the goal to mark every storm drain in Tacoma is becoming a reality.

 

Do you have a group that would like to volunteer to mark curbs? All materials are provided and you’ll be helping keep our water clean!

 

For more information or to schedule an event, contact Jeanine Riss with Citizens for a Healthy Bay at (253) 383-2429.

Tours and Presentations

We’re proud of our work and we’d like to tell you about it. Whether it’s a tour of one of our wastewater treatment plants, an environmental lesson in your classroom or an up-close demonstration showing the benefits of our fish-friendly TAGRO soil products, we’d like you to know us better.

Wastewater Treatment Plant Tours
Every year, we lead hundreds of students (middle school through college) and community group members through our wastewater treatment plants so they can see just how they play a part in recycling our resources and keeping our water clean. To set up a group tour, call the Central Wastewater Treatment Plant at (253) 502-2185.

Classroom Lessons
Our EnviroChallenger program lets kids get their hands dirty while learning to keep our earth clean and green. The EnviroChallenger is a free service, courtesy of Environmental Services and is available to visit Tacoma Public Schools second through eighth-grade classes. For high school level environmental lessons, contact Citizens for a Healthy Bay or the Stream Team. Learn more about the EnviroChallenger program.

TAGRO Presentations
Team TAGRO gives dozens of presentations every year at K-12 schools, colleges and universities, civic and community groups, business groups, garden clubs, Boy and Girl Scout clubs, community street fairs and home shows. Learn how we turn biosolids into mix and potting soil. Get your hands a little dirty and try your own recipes for soil products. To set up a TAGRO presentation, email us at TAGRO or call TAGRO at (253) 502-2150.

EnviroShorts Video Tours       

Where exactly does your waste go when you throw it away or flush it down the drain? EnviroShorts take you on a virtual tour to see where your waste goes. You’ll discover what happens to garbage, food and yard waste, recycling, hazardous waste and wastewater, and visit the Tacoma Recovery & Transfer Center. These short videos demonstrate that nothing is ever truly wasted, but instead our resources are reclaimed and put to use in new ways.

Restore Our Environment

Population growth, recreational use and heavy industrial pollution have taken their toll on the beauty of our shoreline areas. The City of Tacoma is restoring these areas to a natural state, and we invite you to help. We need volunteers to help with planting grasses and other plant life – creating a habitat that is fish-friendly and clean. The City partners with Citizens for a Healthy Bay and other groups on restorations projects. For more information and to volunteer please contact Citizens for a Healthy Bay at (253) 383-2429 or email Citizens for a Healthy Bay.

 

Environmental Services Sponsorship Program

Is your organization holding an event or activity that protects, enhances or restores Tacoma's environment? The City of Tacoma may be able to help. City of Tacoma Environmental Services supports community activities that protect, enhance or restore Tacoma's environment. Sponsorship may be monetary, material goods or in-kind services. Learn more about the application process.

 

Make a Splash Grants

City of Tacoma Environmental Services awards up to $50,000 a year in environmental grants to help educate residents and protect and restore our surface water resources. Grants may be up to $4,000 and are open to anyone considering a project within Tacoma city limits. Projects may be educational and should focus on preventing pollution and protecting or restoring clean water.

 

Learn more about Make a Splash grants.


Water Pollution Hotline

Have you seen pollution in our storm drains or someone illegally dumping? The City partners with Citizens for a Healthy Bay and has a 24-hour confidential Pollution Hotline. Call (253) 383-2429 if you see anything that looks like it might damage the bay’s water quality. We appreciate your help to keep our water clean.