STORMWATER UTILITY PROGRAMS & ACTIVITIES
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater, or urban runoff, is rain or snow that falls on streets, parking areas, or rooftops. Since water cannot soak into the pavement or rooftops, it finds its way to a nearby storm drain, lake or river.
Why is Stormwater a Problem?
During its travels to a storm drain, lake or river, the stormwater picks up all kinds of pollutants like dirt and oil from our cars, chemicals from our yards and bacteria from our pet’s waste, and takes them all along for the ride. What most people may not know is that most storm drains head directly for our nearby lakes, rivers, and Puget Sound…without any treatment! The Washington Department of Ecology estimates that about one-third of all polluted waters in the state are polluted by stormwater runoff. The department found that virtually all surface waters in urban areas are degraded by stormwater runoff.
Polluted stormwater contaminates our waters, closes local shellfish growing businesses, and harms or kills fish and other wildlife. If stormwater runoff is not taken seriously, it also poses a threat to our drinking water supplies.
Learn more about pollutants found in stormwater.
Flooding & Erosion
As more pavement and rooftops cover up the natural forest floor, the water has less and less area to move to. As it fiercely searches for a place to soak in, it often finds itself pooling in low areas and valleys flooding our homes and businesses and ripping through river banks much faster than nature intended. In addition, because less water soaks into the ground, drinking water supplies are not replenished and streams and wetlands are not recharged.
This can lead to water shortages for people and inadequate stream flows for fish.
How is Stormwater Managed in Lacey?
There are two main goals of managing stormwater in Lacey: to prevent flooding and protect local water quality. The City owns and maintains many different types of facilities to work towards these goals. Stormwater facilities COLLECT, CONVEY, TREAT and RELEASE stormwater through a variety of different methods. Below is a graphic that shows a few of the typical stormwater facilities that you might see in your neighborhood, including stormdrains, pipes, wet ponds and infiltration ponds, and what purpose they serve in managing stormwater.
With over 5,000 stormdrains in the City of Lacey, City staff could use your help! If you see someone dumping anything down a storm drain or into a stormwater pond, please let us know right away by visiting our Report a Spill page so that we can determine a plan of action for clean up, if needed. If possible, collect as much information as you can about the incident, including date and time, a description of what you observed, including potential quantity dumped, and a few photos, which will all help City staff identify the problem after it has already happened.