Dec 19, 2019

Washington City to Improve Storm Water Program

The city of Anacortes will improve its storm water program as part of a settlement agreement.

storm water regulations

Anacortes, Washington will improve its storm water program as part of a settlement agreement it reached this month with Puget Soundkeeper Alliance (PSA).

In a Dec. 2018 lawsuit, PSA alleged Anacortes failed to control polluted storm water runoff, according to Skagit Valley Herald. The lawsuit claimed the city was not in compliance with its storm water permits, which would be a violation of the Clean Water Act

The lawsuit highlighted that storm water plan fell short in the areas of reporting, monitoring and public participation, according to Skagit Valley Herald. It also mentioned that the city failed to revise its development codes to minimize storm water runoff, which is a permit requirement that began in 2009. 

The Anacortes City Council voted to approve a consent decree, according to court documents. Anacortes is agreeing to pay $73,000 to cover Puget Soundkeeper’s lawyer fees and legal costs as part of the settlement. 

Among the changes to the storm water program are: the incorporation of low-impact development (LID) into the city’s development regulations; a design standards update; training sessions on storm water for city staff; and storm water pollution and prevention education for students.

“It’s hard to say the settlement is necessarily the best use of money, but it does resolve the case for us and commits us to doing good things,” said Councilman Ryan Walters. “If someone thinks the city of Anacortes is not doing its part to be environmentally friendly, they should feel free to bring it directly to us.”

Anacortes will also undertake an LID retrofit project of a parking lot across from City Hall as a demonstration project, according to Skagit Valley Herald.

“I can’t help but feel a little shaken down,” said Councilman Matt Miller. “We’re one of 170 entities Puget Soundkeeper has filed lawsuits against. Our procedures were good and they are going to be better.”

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