Let the Rain Soak In

Sponge it Up

What's the problem?

When houses, streets, shopping centers, and businesses are built, natural soil and plants are replaced by hard surfaces, such as roads, driveways and parking lots. 

That's problematic because soil is a natural sponge. It soaks water into the ground and naturally filters out pollution. When rain falls on those hard surfaces, it cannot soak into the ground, so it instead runs over parking lots and driveways picking up toxic pollutants before entering our streams and rivers.

A one-acre area of pavement produces 27,150 gallons of runoff for every one inch of rain. In Pierce County, with about 37 inches of rain per year, that equals one million gallons of runoff.

This runoff can flood homes, and erode hillsides and stream banks. It also carries pollution like dirt, oil, metals, fertilizers, pesticides, bacteria, and toxic chemicals to our salmon-spawning streams and shellfish beaches.


Christina Rohila 
Public Information Specialist [email protected]

What can you do?

If we can make a developed area work more like a native forest, we can slow the flow of runoff and prevent pollution. We can help our community work more like the forest by taking some simple steps around our homes and neighborhoods. 

  1. Plant Trees & Native Plants
  2. Reduce Paved Areas
  3. Build Healthy Soils
  4. Reuse Rain Water
  5. Create a Rain Garden
  6. Helpful Links

Two girls plant a native shrubNative plants and trees work miracles. They soak up runoff, require less water, filter out pollutants, and help recharge groundwater. The needles of evergreen trees in Washington forests can hold as much as 40% of the rain from a light rainfall. Consider native plants in your landscape.