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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Friday, May 25, 2007
Chris Maun, education specialist, 357-2491 ext. 6377

Stormwater Services Topic of June 5 Workshop

OLYMPIA –A public workshop about a proposal to extend Thurston County stormwater services countywide will take place Tuesday, June 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the Tenino High School commons, 500 W. Second Street.

The proposal would extend the services of the county Storm and Surface Water Utility from the northern part of the county to the entire county. Under the proposal, the average south Thurston County household would pay a stormwater fee of approximately $2.50 a month, or $30 annually.

The proposal was prompted by new federal and state regulations and the county's commitment to protecting water resources, according to Chris Maun, education specialist in the county's Water and Waste Management Department.

"The goal is to ensure that as Thurston County grows, we have clean water for the future. We need to have safe, clean drinking water in our aquifers, and also clean water for fishing, swimming and boating."

The stormwater program already is in place for about 29,000 households in the northern section of the county. If the boundaries for the program are extended, 25,000 additional properties in the southern area will be charged the fees.

Among other things, the Storm and Surface Water Utility:

  • Monitors and collects data to track water quality.
  • Writes basin plans with other jurisdictions to address water problems like flooding, erosion and loss of wildlife habitat. 
  • Ensures that the county complies with Department of Ecology regulations, which stem from the federal Clean Water Act. These include federal "National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System" and "Underground Injection Control" rules, both aimed at reducing pollution and protecting water quality in groundwater aquifers, rivers and streams.
  • Builds construction projects to reduce pollution, flooding and erosion.
  • Organizes Stream Team and other volunteer efforts to protect local creeks and streams.
  • Educates residents about the importance of watersheds and reducing pollution caused by pet waste, motor oil, hazardous liquids and other sources.
  • Provides advice and on-site consultations for ratepayers who have drainage problems.
  • Teaches neighborhoods how to care for their stormwater ponds and other facilities that convey stormwater runoff.

    If the proposal is approved, Thurston County Stream Team activities and education presentations would be available for the first time in Tenino, Rainier and the Rochester area.

The proposed fee is comparable, or less than surrounding, jurisdictions. Olympia households are charged $9.50 per month; Lacey, $6.75; Tumwater, $5.70; and Yelm, $2.50. Thurston County commissioners will hold a public hearing about the plan in July.

County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3