Published: April 28, 2023

Beautiful waterways are integrated into the campus ecosystem; however, it also requires diligence to keep these waterways healthy now and into the future. Boulder Creek is considered an impaired waterway by the state of Colorado due to excess amounts of E. coli, which is a common bacteria with many possible sources reaching a waterway. 

The effects of urbanization have multiple effects on waterways. This is due to the reduction of porous surfaces in urban areas compared with undeveloped areas, along with increased contamination sources that wash into the storm sewer. Contaminants such as trash, pet waste and sediments can indirectly promote the conditions necessary for bacteria to survive and grow. The campus has and continues to investigate the sources of E. coli in stormwater discharges and has taken measures to eliminate those sources.

What can you do?

Below are three steps everyone can take to help reduce E. coli loading:

  • Always clean up after your pets and ensure their waste is disposed of properly. (City of Boulder ordinance requires all pet guardians to immediately remove or clean up all animal waste and dispose of wastes in a sanitary manner.)
  • Place garbage into waste containers and do not feed wildlife.
  • Immediately report any illegal dumping or clogged storm sewer inlets found on campus to Facilities Management at 303-492-5522.

As a large, eco-conscious community at CU Boulder, we have the great opportunity to become educated and work together to reduce our impact on stormwater. Help contribute to the university’s sustainability goals by following the steps mentioned above. You will make a difference, no matter how small, if you can adopt simple habits and change the way you look at water quality.

Read the Environmental Health & Safety stormwater guidelines for information about the regulatory requirements campus community mebers must follow to protect our waterways. You can also contact Environmental Health & Safety at 303-492-6025 or for advice on properly disposing of materials and keeping our water systems free from pollutants.