Stormwater Utility

What is the Purpose of the Stormwater Utility (SWU)?

The purpose of the SWU is to promote and protect the public health, safety and welfare by establishing a comprehensive approach to surface and stormwater management pursuant to Chapter 36.89 RCW. This code seeks to protect life and property from storm, waste, flood and surplus surface waters; to protect water quality by preventing siltation, contamination and erosion of waterways; to protect aquifers; to protect fish; to assure compliance with federal and state surface water management and water quality requirements; to increase public education and citizen involvement; and to encourage the preservation of natural drainage systems. 

Stormwater Utility Program Elements

A.    Basin and Watershed Planning. 

B.    Education. 

C.    Capital Improvements. 

D.    Operations and Maintenance. 

E.    Source Control. 

F.    National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit Compliance. Development, implementation and administration of a stormwater management program in compliance with the Department of Ecology Phase II municipal stormwater permit.  Minimum program elements include:

  1. Public education and outreach.
  2. Public involvement and participation.
  3. Illicit discharge detection and elimination.
  4. Construction site stormwater runoff control.
  5. Post construction stormwater management for new development and redevelopment.
  6. Pollution prevention and good housekeeping for municipal operations.

What Services does the Stormwater Utility provide?

The SWU attempts to assure that there will be long term funding to pay for construction, maintenance and repair of stormwater facilities.

Douglas County's Comprehensive Flood Hazard Management Plan identifies many capital improvement projects in the Greater East Wenatchee area aimed to mitigate chronic flooding problems. Multiple projects have been completed to date, such as:

  • Canyon B channel stabilization
  • Canyon A culverts at Eastmont/3rd Street Southeast
  • Construction of detention basins at 4th Street Southeast, 10th Street Southeast, 23rd Street Northeast, and 35th Street Northeast
  • Obtaining capacity in a WSDOT stormwater conveyance system, 27th Street Northwest to the River

Stormwater utility funds pay for improving and maintaining the storm drainage system. Improvements to the overall drainage system may have more direct benefits to some, but that does not impact the fairness of the rate or that we all benefit from stormwater management. While your property may not be physically connected to the drainage system, the stormwater utility improves and maintains upstream facilities which in turn protects your property. Everybody benefits from the maintenance and improvements provided by the stormwater utility, through an improved environment, better access to roads during storm events, and reduced flooding during abnormal years. Maintenance of the storm drainage system helps to ensure the safety and reliability of the road system within the Stormwater Utility Service Area.

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