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Thurston County Storm and Surface Water Utility

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Frequently Asked Questions About Maintenance Inspections

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When Will an Inspection Take Place?

Inspections take place annually. Staff also make spot checks during and after storm events.

How Do I Locate My Stormwater Facilities?

If it's raining, watch where the water flows from your neighborhood road into a street grate (storm drain). Underneath
the grate is a conveyance system that either leads directly to a river or stream, to another area to be infiltrated into the
ground. Dry stormwater ponds look like shallow bowls in the land, while wet ponds look more like a traditional water pond. Swales look like wide, shallow, grass-lined ditches along the side of the road. Stormwater facilities vary from
neighborhood to neighborhood. Download the Thurston County "Maintaining Your Neighborhood Stormwater Facilities" PDF for more information on how to identify a stormwater facility.

What Will Happen on the Day of the Inspection?

On the day of the inspection, the inspector will do a visual check of the stormwater facilities to ensure they are working properly. A follow-up letter will be sent to you if corrections need to be made.

Which Parts of the System Will Be Inspected?

The inspector looks at catch basins, storm drain inlets, flow control structures, detention ponds, tanks, vaults, pumps, treatment systems, and oil/water separators.

What Does the Inspector Look For?

High sediment levels, missing or broken components, drainage problems, and invasive and noxious vegetation. Removing excessive sediment and vegetation is the most common maintenance need. When a catch basin or flow control structure gets too full on a privately owned road, it stops functioning and it is time for the property owner to clean it out (county-owned roads and right-of-ways are Thurston County's responsibility).

Does the Inspector Need to Get Inside a Building?

In most cases, no. The exception is if the system is located in a parking garage or basement of a building or behind a secured area. (This will be rare in residential neighborhoods, and is more likely in business establishments.) Your inspector may contact you to gain access to the facility. Also, you may be contacted if your stormwater pond is located inside a locked fence.

How Can I Find Out the Results of the Inspection?

You will be sent a follow-up letter if maintenance or repair is needed.

I Received a Letter Saying Our Stormwater Facilities Need to be Maintained or Repaired. What Should I Do?

stormwater facility inspection formWithin 30 days of receiving a follow-up letter from the inspector, you are required to send an inspection report back to Thurston County that explains whether the problems have been fixed and, if not, when the repairs are scheduled. If you need help, or more time, contact Cathe Linn at (360) 867-2095 or e-mail stormwater@co.thurston.wa.us.

As the property owner, you are responsible for any corrections needed to comply with the Thurston County code.

What Is the Cost of Repairs?

Prices vary, depending on the extent of the repair or maintenance needed, how easy it is to access the site, and the amount of material to be disposed.

You may choose to do the work yourself, or to hire a contractor. This is a competitive field and it is often possible to realize substantial savings by soliciting at least three competitive bids. Please see our list of contractors who perform stormwater-related work in the Thurston County area.

May I Do the Repairs Myself?

Many of the repairs can be accomplished with a few helpful neighbors. Examples include removing vegetation from stormwater inlet/outlet pipes, mowing grass in stormwater ponds, and removing garbage or yard debris from drainage areas. You may be able to lift the grate/lid or a catch basin or drywell to remove sediment, but be prepared to remove heavy loads of sediment. Also, never prop the lid where it can fall on your hands or body.  Any repairs that involve crawling into a small, confined space should be left to a professional.

How Often Should I Check My Stormwater Facilities?

Monthly from November through April
Once in late summer (preferably September)
After any major storm (1-inch within 24 hours)

Please do not hesitate to call Thurston County if you need technical assistance, especially if you are unsure whether a situation you have discovered may be a problem. For facilities in residential developments, please contact Cathe Linn at (360) 867-2095 linnca@co.thurston.wa.us and Chuck Meyers at (360) 867-2065 Meyersc@co.thurston.wa.us for stormwater facilities in commercial areas.
 

Contact Us

E-mail: stormwater@co.thurston.wa.us

 

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