The cost of Edmonds stormwater utility service is included in a combined municipal utility bill. To activate water and sewer at your home or place of business, please contact the Utility Billing Division.
HOW ARE STORMWATER UTILITY FUNDS USED BY THE CITY?
Property owners in Edmonds receive a utility bill on a monthly or bi-monthly basis. These bills have a line item entitled “Storm Drain.” This article describes how the City uses these funds.
Edmonds’ stormwater drainage system is composed of catch basins (or street drains), pipes, pumps, detention vaults, ditches, streams, and wetlands - all of which ultimately discharge to the groundwater, Puget Sound, or Lake Ballinger with little or no treatment. This drainage system manages runoff from the streets and walkways of Edmonds that provide for safe travel for residents, business owners, and visitors in our City. Most private properties are “tied-into” the City’s system to “take-away” the stormwater runoff from these properties to keep these parcels dry.
Stormwater funds are used for the three major components of the City’s stormwater management program: 1) System operation & maintenance, 2) Capital projects, and 3) Environmental compliance.
City crews perform maintenance activities on the entire storm drainage system, including inspection and cleaning of catch basins, pipes and ditches, street sweeping, clearing of blocked culverts under roads and other emergency flooding response activities. The purpose of this maintenance is to keep the system operating properly and to keep the City in compliance with environmental regulations (see below). The crews maintain approximately 7,000 catch basins, 728,000 lineal feet (138 miles) of pipe, and 80,000 lineal feet (15 miles) of open ditch.
Sediment that consists of soil, brake linings, oil drips, and anything else that is deposited then washed off our streets ends up in the City’s storm drainage system. Some of this solid material is captured in catch basins that are regularly cleaned by City crews. This residue is then properly disposed of at the appropriate landfill.
City staff are also responsible for inspection and monitoring of private stormwater flow control and treatment systems. Private property owners, however, are responsible for properly maintaining the stormwater infrastructure on their property to ensure it operates as designed. The City has developed an inspection and education program to ensure private property owners are properly maintaining their stormwater systems.
Stormwater utility funds also help fund stormwater capital projects that are designed and constructed to replace systems that are under-capacity or those that have reached the end of their useful life. These projects also provide stormwater systems in areas that do not have one. These projects can be stand-alone or part of a transportation project such as the 5-Corners Roundabout project. The annual budget for these capital projects is approximately $2M. The City produces an annual capital project plan that includes all the planned storm drainage projects. This plan is updated annually. Your input is welcome. The most current version of the plan can be found here.
The main environmental compliance regulation for the City’s storm drainage system is the Western Washington Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit issued by the Department of Ecology (Also known as the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System [NPDES] Permit).
This Permit has its roots in the Federal Clean Water Act and the state Water Pollution Control Law. This Permit “permits” the City to discharge its collected stormwater into streams, lakes, and Puget Sound if we implement a series of programs to help improve water quality. Stormwater is a significant source of pollution in Puget Sound and other receiving waters, and municipal stormwater systems are one of the main ways in which stormwater is discharged to water bodies.
The permit requires the City to take action in each of the following areas:
- Public education and outreach
- Public involvement and participation
- Illicit discharge detection and elimination
- Controlling stormwater run-off from development, redevelopment, and construction sites
- Operations and maintenance of stormwater infrastructure.
Although you might not have any drainage problems, or be connected to the City’s storm drainage system, you still benefit from stormwater related services provided by the City that are funded by the stormwater utility rates. These services protect your property from upstream runoff, protect downstream properties from runoff from your property, and improve water quality in local waterbodies. Questions or comments? Contact Mike Cawrse at 425.771.0220 or email@example.com.