An innovative approach to stormwater monitoring
Local governments in Western Washington spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year implementing the requirements of municipal stormwater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. How do we know if the permits are working?
Most NPDES permits require compliance monitoring. But in contrast to controlled sources which often come from the end of a pipe, municipal stormwater permits apply across continuous, "nonpoint" landscape with thousands of property owners. The virtually unlimited public access to municipal stormwater infrastructure makes these systems especially challenging to monitor.
Permittees asked Ecology for a different approach to monitoring. In 2008 the Stormwater Work Group was convened. Over the first eight years of this process, hundreds of individuals representing dozens of organizations participated in 70 formal stakeholder meetings, dozens of additional targeted discussions, and five public workshops as part of the process to develop and implement a new, coordinated monitoring program.
Stormwater Work Group's role in stormwater monitoring
The Stormwater Work Group continues to meet five-to-six times per year to implement, improve, and expand the regional stormwater monitoring program. The group strives for consensus around a cooperative program that leverages existing programs, scientific expertise, and other capacity to improve our understanding of stormwater impacts and evaluate the effectiveness of stormwater management actions.
The Stormwater Work Group sets priorities and oversees the budget for Stormwater Action Monitoring, the regional stormwater monitoring program implemented through the municipal stormwater permits. We want to know whether conditions are getting better or worse, whether we are protecting key resources, and whether our programs are effective at achieving desired results.
Strategy, results, and findings
What projects are we working on?
The Stormwater Work Group has a two-year work plan that is updated each winter. The 2017-2018 work plan includes:
SWG 2017 Work Plan
- Developing a communication strategy
- Completing stream, sediment, and mussel data status analyses
- Planning future trends monitoring
- Selecting effectiveness studies
- Recommending source identification projects
- Planning to implement an agricultural runoff monitoring strategy
- Reviewing our scientific framework
Stay in touch
Get the most current news about the Stormwater Work Group in the SWG Reporter.
The group sends out five newsletters each year announcing important decisions and recommendations.
The next Stormwater Work Group meeting is Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Tacoma, WA 98402
The previous year of SWG meeting notes include the draft agenda and meeting summary. For more historical documents, please contact Karen Dinicola.
The pooled resources oversight committee (PRO-C) help administer SAM spending. Here are the previous meeting notes.