Surface Water Management

 What is Stormwater?


Stormwater is rain water that runs off surfaces such as rooftops, lawns, driveways, paved streets, and parking lots. The problem with this runoff is that as it flows over these surfaces, the water picks up harmful pollutants such as oils, greases, pesticides, fertilizers, pet waste, toxic metals, and other chemicals. This polluted runoff enters the stormwater conveyance system and is either discharged into our streams or left to infiltrate into our ground water. These pollutants can pose a risk to human health and harm fish and wildlife habitat.

How You Can Help
The City of Covington operates 105 stormwater facilities that take in runoff from the streets, parking lots and buildings city wide. These facilities are designed to treat the runoff and slowly release it into our streams, ground water, or back into the system. You can help by being a part of the solution and not the problem. Below are a few ways that you can help the City of Covington to ensure that our streams and habitat stay clean and safe for generations to come.

  • Properly dispose of hazardous waste and recycle used motor oil.  Do not dump it down the nearest storm drain! There are disposal and recycling sites all over the greater King County area. Check out this link to find a disposal site near you.
  • Use fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides sparingly and follow the manufacturer's instructions or use natural yard care techniques.  The chemicals that you use in your yard can impact the quality of our ground water and streams.
  • Keep yard waste, trash, and debris off the street and out of the gutters. You can help the flow of stormwater by adopting the catch basin closest to your home and regularly remove any accumulation of leaves and debris. You can also help by not raking or blowing leaves and debris into the streets.
  • Clean up after your pets. Pet waste is a major source of bacteria and nutrients that are harmful to streams. Pick it up and dispose of it properly.
  • Wash your car at a carwash facility or park your car in the grass before you wash it. The mixture of soap and grim that is created by washing your car is toxic to fish and other wildlife. If you use a carwash facility, the wash water is recycled and left over pollutants are sent to the sewage treatment plant.
  • Get involved and be a part of the solution. Spread the word about protecting our streams and habitat from polluted runoff and help the City of Covington create a successful Stormwater Management Program. If you have any questions or comments about Covington's Stormwater Management Program, please contact us.


Over the last thirty years the role of the federal, state, and local stormwater regulations has been to provide minimum standards for the treatment and discharge of stormwater runoff. These regulations lay out the frame work for Covington's SWM Section. In 1987, Congress, under the authority of the Clean Water Act, created the NPDES program. This program requires all public entities that own and operate a stormwater conveyance system to obtain a permit for their stormwater discharges. The main goal of the NPDES program is to effectively prohibit non-stormwater discharges into "waters of the state" and to reduce the discharge of pollutants into the stormwater conveyance system. Washington State Department of Ecology was tasked with creating and enforcing a Phase I Permit for larger Cities and Counties and a Phase II Permit for small jurisdictions like Covington.

The Phase II Permit is divided into five main program elements:

  1. Public education and outreach
  2. Public involvement and participation
  3. Illicit discharge detection and elimination
  4. Controlling runoff from new development, redevelopment and construction sites
  5. Pollution prevention and operation and maintenance for municipal operations

The permit's five program elements are designed to be a set of guidelines for municipalities to follow to help reduce the harmful effects that polluted runoff has on the water quality of lakes, rivers, and streams in Washington. By taking a proactive approach with permit compliance, the City of Covington has helped to create an environmental balance in the region as well as protecting the salmon and wildlife habitats along Soos Creek, Little Soos Creek, Jenkins Creek, North Jenkins Tributary, Cranmar Creek and Pipe Lake. We need your input. If you have ideas or suggestions that might help us with the five program elements, please contact us.  If you want to learn more about why we do what we do, here are a few links for more information.

NPDES Stormwater Permit Program
Western Washington Phase II Stormwater Permit
Regional Road Maintenance Endangered Species Act Program Guidelines
Puget Sound Conservation and Recovery Plan
Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 9
Stormwater Management Manual for Western Washington 
LID Technical Guidance Manual for Puget Sound

Stormwater Management Program Documents:
Covington's Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) is an evolving document that will change over the time with the implementation of the new NPDES requirements and our existing programs expanding and contracting over time.  We need your input, please review our plan and let us know what you think.

We want the citizens of Covington to be an active part of the Surface Water Management Program. Your input and help will shape the future of surface water quality in Covington. Bookmark this page and watch the Surface Water Management Section grow. Thank you for your support.

2021 Surface Water Management Fee Schedule

Please contact us if you have questions, comments or suggestions about our Surface Water Management Program. 

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