Frequently Asked Questions About Maintenance Inspections
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Inspections take place annually. Staff also make spot checks during and after storm events.
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.
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.
The inspector looks at catch basins, storm drain inlets, flow control structures, detention ponds, tanks, vaults, pumps, treatment systems, and oil/water separators.
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).
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.
You will be sent a follow-up letter if maintenance or repair is needed.
Within 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the property owner, you are responsible for any corrections needed to comply with the Thurston County code.
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
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.
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.
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
and Chuck Meyers at (360) 867-2065
for stormwater facilities in commercial areas.
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