systemsStorm Water Management

Storm-water runoff poses a high risk to the health of Puget Sound, by causing two major problems:

First, storm-water transports a mixture of pollutants such as petroleum products, heavy metals, animal waste, and sediments from construction sites, roads, highways, parking lots, lawns, and other developed lands with the following results:

  • Storm-water pollution has harmed virtually all urban creeks, streams, and rivers.
  • Storm-water is the leading contributor to water quality pollution of urban waterways.
  • Two species of salmon and bull tout are threatened with extinction under the federal Endangered Species Act.
  • Shellfish harvest at many beaches is restricted or prohibited due to pollution. Storm-water runoff is often one of the causes.
  • Storm-water likely contributes to the killing of high percentages of healthy coho salmon in some creeks within hours of the fish entering the creeks, before the fish are able to spawn.
  • English sole are most likely to develop cancerous lesions on their livers in most urban areas. Storm-water likely plays a role.
  • Second, during the wet, winter months, high storm-water flows, especially long-lasting high flows can:

  • Cause flooding
  • Damage property
  • Harm and render unusable fish and wildlife habitat by eroding stream banks, widening stream channels, depositing excessive sediment and altering natural streams and wetlands.
  • As a result, 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 and wetland water levels for fish and other wildlife.