Surface Water Management

"No one has the right to use America's rivers and America's waterways, that belong to all the people, as a sewer. The banks of a river may belong to one man or one industry or one state, but the waters which flow between the banks should belong to all the people."
- President Lyndon B. Johnson, upon signing the Clean Water Act of 1965

Stormwater Definition

Surface Water Management

Stormwater is rain and snow melt that runs off surfaces such as rooftops, paved streets, highways, and parking lots. As water runs off these surfaces, it can pick up pollution such as: oil, fertilizers, pesticides, soil, trash, and animal waste. From here, the water might flow directly into a local stream, bay, or lake. Or, it may go into a storm drain and continue through storm pipes until it is released untreated into a local waterway.


In 1996 the Washington State Legislature established the Puget Sound Water Quality Management Program that clearly delineates federal, state and local action necessary to protect and restore the biological health and diversity of Puget Sound. The plan includes the framework describing various governmental roles for enhancing recreational opportunities, and restoring a balanced population of indigenous shellfish, fish and wildlife. Using this road map, the City of Des Moines developed a long term strategy that implements the goals outlined in the Puget Sound Water Quality Management Program.

Surface Water in Des Moines

The City's Surface Water Management Program is continuing to improve the quality of life for Des Moines residents, businesses, and visitors. The following outlines individual components of the Surface Water Quality Program, which were developed in preparation for the Washington State Department of Ecology issued National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II Storm Water Permit under the Federal Clean Water Act.

  • Public Education/Public Involvement
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
  • Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control
  • Post Construction Stormwater Control
  • Municipal Operations Pollution Prevention

Contact Information

Please contact Surface Water Manager, Tyler Beekley, at (206) 870-6869 or email with your input concerning the City's Stormwater Management Program or any stormwater related questions.

To report a spill, illicit discharge, or other water quality violation, please contact the City of Des Moines at (206) 771-0167 during business hours or (206) 878-3301 after hours, weekends, or holidays and/or Washington State Department of Ecology at 1-800-645-7911.

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