We all know that water runs downhill, which means stormwater also runs downhill. In a City, the path it takes to get there is not usually a stream. Typically stormwater travels through a catch basin, pipe, ditch, pond, or some other piece of infrastructure, and it eventually flows to a stream, lake, into the ground, or directly into Puget Sound. This infrastructure is known as a stormwater system, and stormwater systems have to be maintained to effectively move and handle stormwater.
City of Olympia Public Infrastructure
Olympia's system includes over 130 miles of pipe, 3,000 storm drains, 40 public ponds, 60 privately-owned ponds, many miles of roadside ditches, and even a stream that runs thousands of feet through a pipe downtown! City maintenance staff use everything from shovels to heavy equipment to keep the stormwater system maintained and working properly. Typical work includes:
- Cleaning pipes and drains with large vacuum ("Vactor") trucks;
- Removing sediment from ditches and ponds with backhoes and excavators;
- Cutting tree roots out of pipes with special cutting machines;
- Fixing small drainage problems by moving or installing new catch basins;
- Fixing larger drainage problems through Capital Improvement Projects; and
- Using a TV camera to inspect underground pipes to assess their condition.
Private Stormwater Systems
Local business owners and homeowners can also do their part to keep things flowing. Did you know that stormwater systems on private property are maintained by the owners? It's true! Private stormwater systems often consist of one or more stormwater features, which may include a stormwater pond, swales, ditches, pipes, and filters. A pond in a subdivision is owned by each lot owner.
Like any system, stormwater systems need regular cleaning and maintenance to be effective. Learn more about private stormwater systems and how to inspect and maintain your system on an annual basis, which is required. City staff is also available to provide technical assistance on stormwater maintenance and responsibilities. Give us a call!
- For questions about commercial or multi-family stormwater facilities call Steve Wise at 360.753.8346.
- For questions about residential stormwater facilities call Marcus Goodman at 360.570.5838.
- For flooding emergencies call 360.753.8588, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (after hours call 360.753.8333).
- For general questions, call Public Works at 360.753.8588.