Stormwater Utility

What is stormwater?

Stormwater is water that falls as rain or snow and is collected into the city’s stormwater system. Our Stormwater Division works to protect water quality, enhance habitat, control flooding, and comply with state and federal requirements. 

Activities include public education/outreach/involvement, site inspections to ensure proper maintenance, street sweeping to remove pollutants from roads, repair/replacement of damaged storm pipes and other structures, cleaning and maintenance of city facilities, storm outfall screening to find pollutant sources, and spill cleanup response.

Why is stormwater management important?

The mission of the stormwater utility is to prevent and control flooding, protect water quality in the city’s streams and Lake Ballinger, provide public education and involvement opportunities that support clean surface water, prevent/clean up pollutant spills, control runoff from new development through plan review and permitting, and maintain municipal facilities and roads in a manner that protects stormwater. 

The stormwater utility also covers other stormwater needs, such as water quality sampling to identify sewer cross-connections into creeks, inspection of public and private stormwater facilities, sweeping to remove stormwater pollutants from roads, and gradual replacement of the aging stormwater system.

2019-2020 Storm Utility Expenditures

Over 75% of expenditures in the Storm Utility covers system operations and maintenance (33%), storm mains (28%), and debt service (15%). Nearly 15% of the budget pays for professional assistance needed to complete projects and regulatory compliance. The final expenditures include engineering, street sweeping, and projects/programs such as Main Street, Lake Ballinger Water Quality, Storm Drain Rate Study and the SCADA Upgrade. 

Stormwater runoff graphic provided by Association of Washington Cities

Stormwater Illustration: Courtesy of Association of Washington Cities

Stormwater Rate Study

The city's 2018 Stormwater Comprehensive Plan was approved in early 2019. The plan indicated a significant gap between required revenue and existing revenue, and recommended a stormwater rate study be completed.  An introduction to the rate study results was provided to City Council in September.

A financial review of the stormwater budget indicated that to meet increased demand for stormwater services, costs for operations and maintenance have exceeded stormwater revenues, diminishing the ending fund balance each year.  

An ordinance establishing revised stormwater rates, capital facilities charges, and rate credits for 2020-2025 will be presented to City Council in October and November for review and consideration.

The city's Regional Stormwater Detention Facility located underneath the Civic Campus while it was under construction.

Stormwater Pipes