Surface & Stormwater Management
What does the SWM program do?
Clean Water Services and City staff are responsible for the stormwater conveyance system and provide the following services:
- Maintenance of the public stormwater conveyance system including 670 miles of storm sewers and pipelines, open ditches, stormwater detention ponds and water quality facilities.
- Sweeping curbed, public streets monthly and cleaning storm drains and catch basins.
- 24-hour emergency response to flooding and water pollution complaints.
- Water quality investigation and spill response.
- Monitoring of water quality in the Tualatin River and its tributaries.
- Development of design and construction standards
- Implementation and enforcement of construction site erosion control regulations.
- Enforcement of buffer zones between new development and creeks and wetlands.
- Construction of regional water quality, stream enhancement and flood management projects.
- Watershed planning for the long-term health of our urban streams.
- Public outreach and partnerships for pollution prevention and education.
- Clean Water Services does not maintain private drainage systems or have the authority to intervene in private lot-to-lot drainage disputes.
- Private Water Quality Facility Management Program
Watch our video about Surface Water Management fees at work.
Stormwater is the runoff from impervious surfaces and may contribute to surface water pollution since storm drains, ditches and culverts lead to the nearest river, stream or wetland. When it rains, the stormwater flows over streets, roofs, lawns, and parking lots and may pick up oil, sediment, bacteria, grease and chemicals that can pollute our neighborhood streams and the Tualatin River. Local stormwater regulations, in place since 1990, require runoff to be addressed before entering surface waters. The SWM program provides regulations, enforcement, maintenance and construction of capital projects that reduce the impact of stormwater on our water resources.
Surface waters consist of streams wetlands, rivers and springs. Surface waters can be impacted by activities in the watershed. Improving their health involves addressing water flows (high and low), vegetation conditions, habitats, invasive species, human encroachment, and sources of pollution. Activities such as tree planting, enhancement, culvert repairs, stormwater outfall improvements, and flow restoration are prioritized through watershed planning conducted by Clean Water Services. Refinement of regulations, educational opportunities, incentives and other program activities that improve surface waters are an ongoing aspect of the SWM Program. Clean Water Services, our 12 partner Cities, Washington County, Friends groups, and other watershed partners all pitch in to help improve our water resources.
Within the Urban Growth Boundary in Washington County, we all do. Each resident of the community contributes to the cost of the SWM program because we all use the buildings, streets, parking lots and sidewalks that contribute to the potential impacts on water quality resulting from stormwater runoff. The SWM utility monthly service charge is based on the amount of impervious area on a piece of property. The average residential property owner pays $6.25 per month, and larger properties pay more. Developers also pay fees for the cost of building the drainage systems and water quality facilities serving their developments.
What can you do to prevent water pollution?
Protecting our neighborhood streams, wetlands, and the Tualatin River begins at home. We all play a role in maintaining a healthy environment and a livable community.
Clean Water Services is working hard to protect water quality in our streams. But, we need your help. Here are some tips to help you protect local creeks and the Tualatin River.
- Mark storm drains in your neighborhood with the "No Dumping, Drains to River" message. Contact Clean Water Services for free materials and instructions.
- Properly dispose of or recycle motor oil, antifreeze, paint, solvents and other toxic materials. For proper disposal information, call Metro Recycling Information at (503) 234-3000.
- Keep leaves, grass clippings, dirt and litter out of storm drains, ditches, creeks, ponds and wetlands.
- Clean up after your pets. Pet waste contains bacteria and parasitic organisms that, when washed into local waterways, can contaminate streams.
- Use non-toxic alternatives or the least toxic pesticides and herbicides.
- Do not over-fertilize lawns and your landscape.
- Disconnect roof drain downspouts when applying moss control products on roof.
- Don’t allow soaps and detergents from car washing to flow down the street or into catch basins.
- Plant groundcover and shrubs to cover bare earth and prevent erosion. Native plants are recommended because they are naturally adapted to the environment and require little water and chemicals to survive.
- Report flooding or other serious problems to Clean Water Services' 24-hour emergency response line, (503) 681-3600.