Storm and Surface Water Utility Services
The Thurston County Storm and Surface Water Utility is a ratepayer-financed program of the Water Resources Program. The utility provides programs and projects to reduce flooding, erosion and pollution caused by stormwater runoff, while protecting and enhancing aquatic habitat. The services are designed to comply with the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements and the federal Clean Water Act.
Thurston County has been one of the fastest growing counties in Washington State. Without proper planning, population growth can irreparably damage the water resources that make our area such an incredible place to live. Basin plans and watershed characterizations address that challenge – they provide science-based data and recommendations that policymakers use to make decisions about growth, development, water-use and environmental preservation efforts.
Thurston County requires developers to manage the rainwater runoff that may result from their projects. Developers use a variety of methods to accomplish this task – swales, ditches and stormwater ponds among them. The goal is to send rainwater into the ground or nearby streams at the speed and volume that best mimics how the water would have dispersed naturally had the development not been built. This helps protect the environment and neighboring properties.
Maintaining County-Owned Facilities
Thurston County’s storm drainage system is a network of ditches, pipes, and catch basins that convey stormwater from county roadways and on county-owned property. Federal law requires Thurston County to develop an operations and maintenance program for this drainage system. Among other things, Thurston County must map all of its stormwater facilities, inspect the facilities regularly, and fix any problems within a time period ranging from 6 months to 2 years. (See sample map below.)
Thurston County is required to detect, eliminate and prevent illicit discharges (illegal dumping) in the storm drain system. This includes anything that is not stormwater, such as motor oil, paint, industrial chemicals and septic system seepage.
Education and Stream Restoration
Stormwater pollution is caused by the daily activities of people everywhere. It comes from streets, farms, roofs, lawns, parking lots and a variety of other sources. The most important way to reduce pollution is to stop it from occurring in the first place – and that means teaching residents how to care for and restore water resources.
Staff contact: Jim Bachmeier: (360) 754-4275. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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