Storm & Surface Water Plan

About the Plan

The Storm and Surface Water Plan is organized in three parts, describing the What, Why, and How of the Plan. Learn more about each section below or you can view the entire plan.


The first four chapters describe the Plan, the natural and historical context for planning, the Utility’s responsibilities, and the natural and built infrastructure for managing storm and surface water.

The Executive Summary gives a brief summary of the Plan.

Chapter 1 gives a brief introduction to the Utility’s purpose, service area, infrastructure, core services and customers; and Plan purpose, planning process, and organization.

Chapter 2 provides the context for the Plan by describing the physical setting of the service area, and its population and land use; and tracing the history of stormwater management in Olympia and the Utility’s evolving priorities.

Chapter 3 outlines the Utility’s responsibilities, internal organization, and relationships with other agencies and jurisdictions.

Chapter 4 is an overview of the built and natural infrastructure that, in combination, form the Utility’s stormwater system.


Chapters 5 through 8 describe the reasons motivating the need for this Plan and its direction, including the regulatory environment and the challenges of flood mitigation, improving water quality, and protecting aquatic habitat.

Chapter 5 outlines the complex set of laws and regulations which increasingly define the Utility’s operations.

Chapter 6 reports on the considerable reductions in the severity and frequency of flooding, impacts of flooding, the role of the Utility in enforcing requirements of the Drainage Design and Erosion Control Manual, and remaining challenges the Utility faces in mitigating flooding impacts.

Chapter 7 describes activities that impact water quality, the current quality of Olympia’s water bodies, the Utility’s role in implementing Clean Water Act regulations, and remaining challenges the Utility faces in improving surface water quality.

Chapter 8 details existing conditions of Olympia’s aquatic environment and habitat, the Utility’s role in implementing and supporting habitat stewardship efforts, and remaining challenges the Utility faces in protecting and enhancing aquatic habitat.


The last four chapters describe the Utility’s recommended approach, including its funding strategy, to address a changing regulatory environment and the challenges of flood mitigation, improving water quality, and protecting aquatic habitat.

Chapter 9 explains in detail how the Utility is addressing challenges of flood mitigation, pollution prevention, and habitat protection through its nine Core Services.

Chapter 10 details the strategies proposed, in response to current challenges, to effectively address Utility goals and objectives during the next 10 years.

Chapter 11 presents the Utility’s capital projects planned for implementation between 2017 and 2036.

Chapter 12 describes the Utility’s multi-year strategy for ensuring the revenue required to meet total operating and capital costs of providing storm and surface water management services to its customers.