The OSU community has an obligation to protect surrounding surface and groundwater resources by managing the quality of water runoff. The majority of stormwater on OSU campus drains to Oak Creek and eventually the Willamette River. It is important to safeguard the quality of water in OSU’s stormwater system. Contained below are important elements that comprise OSU’s stormwater protection program.

What is Stormwater?

Stormwater is precipitation runoff that accumulates in a natural or constructed area after a rain event.  Stormwater that is comprised of only clean rainwater can be safely discharged into OSU’s stormwater collection system.  However, if the water has been contaminated by other materials (i.e. dirt or other sediment, oils, chlorine, etc.), it no longer meets the definition of an allowable stormwater. 

What materials can go down an OSU storm drain?

  • Clean Rain Water? – YES
  • Drinking Water/Hose Water? – NO, although it's clean water, it does contain a chlorine residual which makes drinking water a prohibited discharge.
  • Mop water, soapy cleaning waters? – NO, these are also not allowed.
  • Vehicle wash water? -- NO, these are also not allowed.
  • Irrigation water runoff? -- NO, these are also not allowed due to sediment, salts, and nutrients.

Any discharge into a storm drain that is not comprised solely of clean stormwater constitutues a non-stormwater discharge.  All such discharges must be captured and disposed of through a sanitary sewer collection system, via an approved drain or sink. Examples of non-stormwater discharges include, but are not limited to:

  • Irrigation water runoff
  • Kitchen wash water or mop water
  • Drinking water/Tap Water/Hose water

Where can I dispose of my wash water/waste water?

If you have wash/waste water that you wish to dispose of, the logical choice would be to utilize a sanitary sewer connection.  Please contact EH&S for consultation as to what constitutes an acceptable discharge into OSU’s sanitary sewer or stormwater collection system.

Pollution Prevention Tips

  • Practice good housekeeping: maintain clean and orderly outdoor work and storage areas.
  • Keep spill control and cleanup materials available.
  • Clean up spills immediately if/when they occur.
  • If water is used for cleaning (vehicles, equipment, etc.), do not allow wash water into the storm drain.
  • Do not store vehicles, equipment, or any machinery over storm drains.
  • Cover or protect storm drains from outdoor work as necessary.
  • Clean up leaking vehicles immediately and use a drip pan if the problem persists.
  • If in doubt whether a drain inlet leads to stormwater or sanitary sewer, please contact EH&S.


Environmental Health & Safety

Environment Health and Safety (EH&S) will:

  • Inform the OSU community of various stormwater collection points through the marking of storm drains with an informational emblem.
  • Maintain informational resources and provide outreach and education related to stormwater protection.
  • Provide stormwater management consultation during site visits.

University Staff and Students

University staff and students are responsible for:

  • Monitoring site activities to ensure that only clean rain water enters OSU’s stormwater collection system.
  • Inform and train their personnel on appropriate use of OSU’s stormwater collection system.
  • Report to EH&S when an accidental or intentional non-stormwater discharge occurs into OSU’s stormwater collection system.

Construction Sites


Contractors may be required to obtain an Erosion and Sediment Control Permit from the City of Corvallis or other local permitting agency if ground disturbing activities occur.  Please consult with your local permitting agency as appropriate.


The increase of impervious surfaces after development will impact the quality of stormwater. Site designs can reduce impervious surfaces and reduce the flow of stormwater runoff in order to improve the water quality.  For post-construction management requirements, please consult with your local permitting agency.

Additional Information

OSU Stormwater Poster

EPA - Developing a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan

Benton County Stormwater Program