Personal efforts urged to reduce storm water run-off pollution

SEATTLE -- Another round of rain is on the way, and experts say it will bring a serious threat to local waterways.

Storm water run-off is one of our biggest sources of pollution. Time-lapse video of storm water run off into Elliott Bay captured the grime -- oil, metals and other pollutants that are swept into the waterways every time it rains.

Scuba diver and part-time environmentalist Laura James captured the video on Sunday following the first heavy rainfall of the season.

"I want to connect people to what's actually going on," she said.

Susan Stoltzfus with Seattle Public Utilities says everyone contributes to the pollution.

"Right now, storm water runoff is one of the biggest sources of pollution in our local waterways," she said.

The simple act of driving leaves behind oil, rubber, zinc, copper and other toxins. Pet waste is another big pollutant.

"There are bacteria in dog feces, especially, that are very harmful to aquatic life," said Stoltzfus. "They may not hurt people but they hurt the fish and the plants and the other animals that live in the waterways."

The effect is noticeable, says James, who regularly shoots video of marine life.

"Around the storm drain, which has outflow pretty regularly, you see much less life," she said.

After seeing videos, many people want to take action. They just don't know how.

James says it's as easy as thinking about one's daily life, and deciding to reduce use of plastic throughout the day.

"If every single one of us took one little action every day, I think we could make a difference," she said.

Thursday marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, which made great strides in the past four decades to stop commercial pollution of waterways. Now the emphasis is on individual effort.