Consider changes to the Stormwater Ordinance to protect water quality


Consider changes to the Stormwater Ordinance to protect water quality

Trey George, Environmental Analyst, 509.625.7908

Friday September 10, 2021 at 4:06 p.m.

Consider changes to the Stormwater Ordinance to protect water quality

Imagine if after a hard day of dirty work the whole town of Spokane could climb into a tub and take a bath. Dirty bath water left in the tub is akin to storm water runoff in that it washed away pollutants that have accumulated on the surface since the last time she saw water. When it rains, runoff runs off rooftops, streets, yards, and parking lots, picking up loose sediment, automotive fluids, excess fertilizer, dog droppings, and common chemicals. we use in our daily life. Just by doing what the storm water does (draining down), it becomes polluted. She, in essence, is giving the City a bath. If left untreated, runoff will carry pollutants into local state waters like the Spokane River and the Spokane Aquifer, where they can pose a serious risk to human health and the environment.

Stormwater treatment facilities around the city collect and treat runoff by temporarily storing runoff, capturing pollutants, and slowly infiltrating runoff into the ground. Vegetation, soil, and soil microbes present by design in stormwater facilities do the job of removing pollutants from runoff. Stormwater installations come in many shapes and sizes and range from simple roadside drains to managed wetlands to large grassy depressions in the middle of dry parks, except right after a rain.

Although their designs and appearance are slightly different, their functions and maintenance requirements are very, very similar.

Every green stormwater treatment facility requires, at a minimum, that:

  1. The entries are clear allow rainwater to enter,
  2. Sediment and debris are regularly removed promote infiltration and
  3. Vegetation is kept alive and healthy and able to do its job.

Maintenance responsibilities for the maintenance of stormwater treatment facilities (eg, ditches) can be public, private, or a combination of both. The City maintains the vast majority of stormwater facilities on public rights-of-way, but generally does not maintain stormwater facilities on private property. If a storm water treatment facility is on private property, it is likely that the owner or operator of the property is responsible for ensuring that the facility is properly maintained and functioning as intended to protect the quality of the water. the water.

Stormwater within the geographic boundaries of the City of Spokane is regulated by the Washington State Department of Ecology’s National Pollutant Release System (NPDES) Phase II municipal stormwater license. The purpose of the permit is to provide municipalities with a framework to develop a stormwater management program that uses best practices and techniques to manage public stormwater; ensure that private stormwater is managed appropriately; and educating the public on stormwater management, all to protect Washington State waters.

The stormwater management license establishes standards and requirements for the regulation of municipal stormwater, including the mandatory treatment of stormwater prior to discharge, and the adoption of ordinances specific to stormwater management responsibilities, among others. . In order to maintain compliance with the storm water permit, the Town of Spokane proposes to revise part of the municipal code specific to storm water, in general to clarify specific topics, but also to include a requirement for water installations. rainwater on private property to be certified annually by a qualified third party to ensure proper operation and protection of water quality.

For more information on stormwater management in the town of Spokane, visit, and for information specific to the proposed revisions to the ordinance, visit the town’s website.

We want to hear from you.

Please contact Trey George, Environmental Analyst, with Wastewater Management if you have any questions or would like to provide public comment. You can send a comment by email to [email protected], or by comment by mail to: Trey George, 909 E. Sprague Ave, Spokane, WA 99202.

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