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Stormwater Program

Best practices for effectiveness

Stormwater plays a big role in degrading the Puget Sound ecosystem. Regulatory programs such as industrial and Phase I and II municipal stormwater permits have been put in place to help reduce harmful inputs to Puget Sound.

Newer techniques such as the use of low impact development (LID) strategies, public education efforts and a variety of other best management practices are now being used to help reduce the volume and levels of harmful contaminants in stormwater runoff. But how effective are some of these “non-traditional” techniques? Do they really work and under what conditions? Do they need special maintenance to stay effective?

Studies are being conducted, both nationally and regionally to answer some of these questions, and more research is clearly needed. But local government policy makers and stormwater program staff here in Washington need to put programs in place now, and there are limited resources. How do you learn what works best, what needs further research, and what gets the “biggest bang for the buck” in reducing the harmful effects of stormwater?

As local governments need to develop new aspects to their stormwater programs and ordinances, program managers can look here for help in answering what works best, how do I maximize my resource dollars, and can this practice work in my situation?

Best practices project provides guidelines and examples

To help answer some of these questions, a group of stormwater stakeholders called the Stormwater Work Group asked a series of questions about the effectiveness of various management practices for reducing the impact of stormwater on water resources in Puget Sound. This workgroup, representing local, state and federal governments, as well as environmental and business organizations, tribes and agriculture, has a goal to reduce the harm caused by stormwater to the Puget Sound ecosystem.

In 2012, the Workgroup commissioned a series of literature reviews to evaluate the state of research and potential for helpful answers to these questions. The key findings from these reviews will be collected on these webpages, along with links to the complete papers. The materials are arranged by effectiveness topic area, and should be helpful in developing, modifying and operating effective local stormwater programs.

In addition, the SWG has been working since 2010 to develop a list of effectiveness topics and questions to be addressed by studies that will be conducted by the new Regional Stormwater Monitoring Program (RSMP) and implemented through the municipal stormwater NPDES permits. In September 2011 the workgroup submitted a ranked list of 22 topics to Ecology. A literature review ensued, and these synthesis papers were commissioned to help the workgroup update the September 2011 list. The new list was finalized In June 2013. The workgroup hopes to host a workshop in fall 2013 to discuss pre-proposals for the RSMP studies.

Department of Ecology’s Stormwater Work Group

Best practices for effectiveness white papers by topic

Low impact development
Full paper

Operation and maintenance
Full paper

Public education and outreach
Full paper

Source control
Full paper

Traditional BMPs

What is LID?

Want to know more about Low Impact Development (LID)? What will the new municipal permits require and what is the implementation timeline?

Click here for resources.