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All properties contribute to the problem of surface water runoff, and they benefit from the county drainage system through flood control and improvements in water quality. All residents contribute to water pollution through daily activities such as vehicle driving, car washing, pet waste, and lawn fertilizing.
Recent Major Projects:- Construct a setback levee along the Puyallup River to reduce flooding along Orville Road and surrounding properties- Construct a large wetland reserve in the Midland area that will be used for a pilot in-lieu fee program for developments impacting wetlands- Complete Phase 2 of a side channel along the south fork of the Puyallup River to reduce flooding just north of Orting and provide salmon habitat- Orting Road flood protection- Replaced a portion of an asphalt parking lot at Sprinker Recreation Center and 139th St. E. with porous pavement to reduce flooding and protect water quality - Repaired 1,100 feet of levee on the Nisqually River at Mt. Rainier Park entrance - Constructed more than 1,200 feet of new setback levee and installed engineered log jams on the Puyallup River near Neadham Road - Removed a damaged levee that had been undermined by the Puyallup River, reducing the pressure of the main channel on properties near Orville Road East- Added a stormwater pond to reduce flooding in the Fir Ridge and Cedar Ridge neighborhoods- Finalized the Pierce County Rivers Flood Hazard Management plan- Install green infrastructure in Spanaway Lake Park to reduce polluted runoff entering the lake and Spanaway Creek
The cost of providing SWM services is also covered by other revenue sources, including real-estate excise tax (REET) and federal and state grants.
Agricultural property owners may submit an approved farm management plan prepared by the Pierce Conservation District (PCD) for a 25% reduction in their SWM Utility service charge. Contact PCD at (253) 845-9770 for assistance.
The SWM Utility service charges have been adjusted several times, largely due to the increased cost of constructing and maintaining the county-wide drainage system and aging levee system.
In addition, SWM Utility service charges fund the county’s requirement to comply with the Federal Clean Water Act. The requirements for compliance are outlined in the municipal stormwater permit, which requires specific steps by the county to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff.
Beginning in 2007, Pierce County requirements and the cost of complying with the Federal Clean Water Act increased significantly. More requirements took effect in August 2013. Some of these requirements include:
- Inspections and maintenance of the entire County drainage system - Inspections and maintenance of county roadways and property- Business-inspection program- Technical assistance to home and business owners to reduce pollution - Water quality monitoring in local streams
As it does for all Pierce County utility rates, the Pierce County Council reviews, holds public hearings, and adopts SWM Utility service charges by ordinance. Pierce County Code (PCC) 11.02 authorizes the creation, method of calculating service charges, and other requirements related to the SWM Utility. PCC 11.02 can be found on-line at www.piercecountywa.org/council.
The more impervious surface area a property has, the more stormwater runoff it will generate. This increased stormwater runoff has a greater impact on the public drainage system. Therefore, higher SWM Utility service charges are appropriate so the county can manage the quantity and quality of that excess runoff.