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Thurston County Stormwater Utility

State and Federal Stormwater Regulations

npdes logoSince January of 2007, the County has been required to comply with federal and state water pollution control laws under a Washington Department of Ecology-issued municipal stormwater permit (Permit). The Permit requires Thurston County to take a number of actions to manage stormwater discharges to surface and ground waters (like streams, rivers and lakes) within the regulated area (PDF).

Obligations for Thurston County

The Permit requires the County to develop and implement a Stormwater Management Program Plan (PDF) designed to reduce discharges of pollutants from municipal stormwater systems to protect water quality. This Plan requires the following program components:

  • Public education and outreach A program designed to reduce or eliminate behaviors and practices that cause or contribute to adverse stormwater impacts and encourage participation in stewardship activities.
  • Public involvement and participation Provide opportunities for public involvement and participation in the development, implementation, and update of the County’s Stormwater Management Program Plan. Ways to get involve include sharing your comments and ideas directly with the Utility’s Program Manager and participating in our volunteer-based activities. The County also utilizes a citizen advisory board to review and make recommendations regarding issues affecting the County’s Stormwater Utility.
  • Illicit discharge detection & elimination An ongoing program designed to prevent, detect, characterize, trace, and eliminate illicit connections and illicit discharges into the County’s municipal stormwater system.  This also involves mapping the County’s know stormwater outfalls and discharge points as well as County owned and operated stormwater treatment, flow control facilities, and conveyances (i.e., pipes and ditches).  Call (360) 867-2099 or submit a report online(http://www.co.thurston.wa.us/stormwater/dumping/dumping-online.html) to report spills or suspicious discharges to County’s stormwater system, streets, and ditches.
  • Controlling runoff from new development, redevelopment, and construction sites A program to reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff to the County’s stormwater system from new development, redevelopment, and construction site activities.  This programs applies to private and public development, including roads and parking lots.  Thurston County’s Drainage Design and Erosion Control Manual (PDF) sets standards for reducing and managing stormwater runoff on new development and redevelopment projects in the unincorporated areas of Thurston County. This includes maintenance standards as the County also has to carry out a program to inspected private stormwater facilities to ensure they continue to function properly.
  • Operations and maintenance An operations and maintenance program to prevent or reduce pollutant runoff from County owned and operated facilities and municipal operations.
  • Applicable Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) compliance (Generally, a TMDL is a regulatory term describing a value of the maximum amount of a pollutant that a water body can receive while still meeting water quality standards.) The Permit require the County to comply with requirements contain in applicable TMDLs. TMDLs are developed by the Washington State Department of Ecology and set the path for defining water cleanup plans for water bodies not meeting state water quality standards. Currently, Thurston County has TMDL-related obligations for the Nisqually Watershed and Henderson Inlet Watershed TMDLs.  Appendix 2 (PDF) of the Permit contains the County’s TMDL-related obligations.
  • Monitoring & assessment The County meets its monitoring and assessment by choosing the compliance option contributing that allow paying into a collective fund to implement a Regional Stormwater Monitoring Program (http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/stormwater/municipal/rsmp/rsmp.html).  Elements of this monitoring include: 1) status and trends, 2) effectiveness studies, and 3) source identification and diagnostic monitoring. While not an obligation under the Permit, the County also operates monitoring stations to help evaluate local water resource conditions.

The County is required to update its Stormwater Management Program Plan annually. In addition, the County must submit of an annual report (PDF) to the Washington State Department of Ecology documenting the County’s progress in fulfilling the Permit’s requirements.


Contact Us

 Staff contact: Larry Schaffner, (360) 754-4106. E-mail: schaffl@co.thurston.wa.us


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