City of Federal Way

August 2012, the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) released the final updated Western Washington Phase II Municipal Stormwater permit (NPDES permit) covering the City of Federal Way and 79 other medium and small cities in the Puget Sound area. Since Ecology is sued the State’s first round of municipal stormwater permits to Phase II cities in 2007, the region as a whole has made a lot of progress towards improving local stormwater programs with the ultimate goal of improving water quality in Puget Sound.

While there are several types of NPDES permits designed to protect our natural water resources from pollution, the municipal permit is intended to reduce the impacts from both point source (i.e. construction site runoff and illicit connections) and non-point source pollution carried by stormwater. Construction site run-off and non-point source pollution, such as oils and metals from cars, fertilizers and pesticides from lawns, soaps from car washes, and pet waste are major contributors to stormwater pollution and water quality degradation in our lakes, streams, wetlands and the Puget Sound. Post-construction stormwater management from impervious surfaces from private properties is the responsibility of the land owner or property manager.

One of the major requirements under the Municipal NPDES Permit is that the City of Federal Way create and implement a Stormwater Management Program which addresses the required permit elements: 1) Public Education and Outreach, 2) Public Involvement and Participation, 3) Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination, 4) Construction Site Run-Off 5) Operations and Maintenance of Stormwater Facilities, and 6) Monitoring and Assessment.

To ensure compliance with the permit, the City of Federal Way has adopted Title 16 to its municipal code for the management of stormwater associated with development and requirements for land owners to maintain stormwater controls and treatment practices onsite once construction is finished.  

Federal Way municipal code

CHAPTER 16.05: SURFACE WATER MANAGEMENT IN GENERAL

16.05.300 Purpose.

  1. The provisions of this title are intended to guide all who conduct new development or redevelopment within the city. The provisions of this title establish the minimum level of storm and surface water compliance which must be met to permit a property to be developed or redeveloped within the city.
  2. It is the purpose of this title to:
  1. Minimize water quality degradation and sedimentation in streams, ponds, lakes, wetlands and other water bodies.
  2. Minimize the impact of increased runoff, erosion and sedimentation caused by land development and maintenance practices.
  3. Maintain and protect groundwater resources.
  4. Minimize adverse impacts of alterations on ground and surface water quantities, locations and flow patterns.
  5. Decrease potential landslide, flood and erosion damage to public and private property.
  6. Promote site planning and construction practices that are consistent with natural topographical, vegetation and hydrological conditions.
  7. Maintain and protect the city stormwater management infrastructure and those downstream.
  8. Provide a means of regulating clearing and grading of private and public land while minimizing water quality impacts in order to protect public health and safety.
  9. Provide minimum development regulations and construction procedures which will preserve, replace or enhance, to the maximum extent practicable, existing vegetation to preserve and enhance the natural qualities of lands, wetlands and water bodies.

(Ord. No. 99-352, § 3, 11-16-99. Code 2001 § 21-5.)

Chapter 16.10 ADMINISTRATION AND ENFORCEMENT

16.10.040 Purpose.

The provisions of this title are intended to:

  1. Provide standards and procedures for inspection and maintenance of stormwater facilities in Federal Way to provide for an effective, functional stormwater drainage system.
  2. Authorize the Federal Way public works department to require that stormwater facilities be operated, maintained and repaired in conformance with this title.
  3. Establish the minimum level of compliance which must be met.
  4. Guide and advise all who conduct inspection and maintenance of stormwater facilities.
  5. Prevent harmful materials from leaking, spilling, draining, or being dumped into any public or private stormwater system.

(Ord. No. 09-595, § 7, 1-6-09; Ord. No. 99-352, § 3, 11-16-99. Code 2001 § 21-24.)

16.10.065 Inspection.

  1. Activities. All activities regulated by this title, except those exempted under FWRC 16.15.020, shall be inspected by the director or his or her designee(s). The director or designee shall inspect projects at various stages of the work requiring approval to determine that adequate control is being exercised. Stages of work requiring inspection include, but are not limited to, preconstruction; installation of BMPs; land disturbing activities; installation of utilities, landscaping, retaining walls and completion of project. When required by the director, a special inspection and/or testing shall be performed. Any applicant who has obtained the approval of the director under this title shall permit the director or designee access to the property, when requested, to permit the inspections required by this section.
  1. Stormwater facilities. The director shall develop and implement a regular inspection program, including a master inspection and maintenance schedule, for all public and private stormwater facilities in Federal Way. Inspections shall be no less frequently than annual. Inspections may be scheduled more frequently if determined by the director to be necessary for any reason. If, during the course of the inspection program, additional existing stormwater facilities are discovered, they shall be added to the master inspection and maintenance schedule.
  1. Water quality. The director or designee may inspect BMPs, examine surface and groundwater, or sample surface or groundwater as often as is necessary to determine compliance with this title. (Ord. No. 09-597, § 56, 1-6-09; Ord. No. 99-352, § 3, 11-16-99. Code 2001 § 21-16.)

16.10.070 Entry into private facilities or on private property.

As part of an inspection program, or whenever there is probable cause to believe a violation of this title exists or has occurred, the director or designee is authorized to inspect, during regular working hours and at other reasonable times, any public or private property regarding conditions relating to possible pollution of surface or groundwaters, as well as all public and private portions of the stormwater drainage systems within Federal Way, to determine compliance with this title. Prior to making any inspections of private facilities or on private property, the inspector shall present identification credentials, state the reason for the  inspection and request entry. Whenever an on-site inspection of private property is made, the findings shall be recorded. A copy of the inspection findings shall be furnished to the owner or the person in charge of the property after the conclusion of the investigation and completion of the inspection findings.

  1. If the property or any building or structure on the property is unoccupied, the inspector shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person(s) having charge or control of the property or portions of the property and request entry.
  2. If, after reasonable effort, the inspector is unable to locate the owner or other person(s) having charge or control of the property, and has reason to believe the condition of the stormwater drainage system creates a risk of imminent harm to persons or property, the inspector may enter.
  3. If entry is not consented to by the owner or person(s) in control of the property or portion of the property, and no conditions are reasonably believed to exist which create a risk of imminent harm, the inspector shall obtain a search warrant prior to entry. To the extent authorized by the laws of the state of Washington, the Federal Way municipal court is hereby authorized to issue a warrant permitting the inspection of privately owned stormwater facilities, upon a showing of probable cause to believe that a provision of this title has been or is being violated.
  4. The inspector may also inspect the stormwater drainage system without obtaining a search warrant provided for in subsection (3) of this section, provided the inspection can be conducted while remaining on public property or other property on which permission to enter is obtained.
  5. In the event any person, whose property has previously been provided with utility fee credits for on-site water quantity/quality control, refuses to allow the director to inspect said facility or commits a violation of this title, the director shall cancel the water quality/quantity credits for said property accordingly. Whenever the director shall make such an adjustment, a notice and order of adjustment shall be mailed to the owner of said property by certified and regular mail. The notice shall be deemed received when signed for by the owner, or, if the owner fails or refuses to sign for the notice within the time provided by the postal service, within three days of mailing. The owner may request the director to reconsider the notice and order by filing a request for such reconsideration within 10 days of receipt of the notice. The director’s decision on any such reconsideration shall be final and not subject to further appeal.
  6. In the event any person, whose property has previously been provided with a reduced intensity of development classification as the result of the existence of a detention facility on said property, refuses to allow the director to inspect said detention facility or commits a violation of this title, the director may adjust the intensity of development classification for said property and the billing rate for said property. Whenever the director shall make such an adjustment, a notice and order of adjustment shall be mailed to the owner of said property by certified and regular mail. The notice shall be deemed received when signed for by the owner, or, if the owner fails or refuses to sign for the notice within the time provided by the postal service, within three days of mailing. The owner may request the director to reconsider the notice and order by filing a request for such reconsideration within 10 days of receipt of the notice. The director’s decision on any such reconsideration shall be final and not subject to further appeal.

(Ord. No. 09-597, § 58, 1-6-09; Ord. No. 99-352, § 3, 11-16-99. Formerly 21-31. Code 2001 § 21-16.5.)

Chapter 16.15: REGULATED AND EXEMPT ACTIVITIES

16.15.010 Regulated activities.

The following projects or activities are subject to the provisions of this title:

  1. Single-family residential; or
  2. Projects that add 2,000 square feet or more of new impervious surface, replaced impervious surface or new plus replaced impervious surface; or
  3. Projects that propose 7,000 square feet or more of land disturbing activity; or
  4. Projects that propose to construct or modify a drainage pipe/ditch that is 12 inches or more in size/depth, or receives surface and stormwater runoff from a drainage pipe/ditch that is 12 inches or more in size/depth; or
  5. Collection and concentration of surface and stormwater runoff from a drainage area of more than 5,000 square feet; or
  6. Projects which contain, are adjacent to or directly discharge to a floodplain, stream, lake, wetland, or closed depression, groundwater recharge area, or other water quality sensitive area, or a receiving water with a documented water quality problem as determined by the public works director, based on a written map, policy, water quality monitoring data or plan in existence or implemented by the director prior to submission of a redevelopment application which is determined to trigger application of this subsection, or based on information developed during review of a particular redevelopment application; or
  7. Projects that involve a change in use, and the changed use has a potential to release a new pollutant(s) to surface water systems within the city. For the purposes of this subsection, “new pollutant(s)” means a pollutant that was not discharged at that location immediately prior to the change in use, as well as a pollutant that was discharged in less quantities immediately prior to the change in use; or
  8. Projects other than normal maintenance or other than tenant improvements, but including any increase in gross floor area, in any one consecutive 12-month period which exceeds 50 percent of the assessed or appraised value of the structure or improvement. The appraisal shall be conducted by a state-certified real estate appraiser; or
  9. Projects proposing $100,000 or more of improvements to an existing high-use site.

(Note: the dollar amount indicated can be adjusted based on the consumer price index as identified in the KCSWDM in Section 1.1.1.)

Redevelopment projects that are subject to water quality improvements may phase construction of the improvements as described in FWRC 19.30.120, Nonconforming water quality improvements.

(Ord. No. 10-652, §§ 3, 4, 4-6-10; Ord. No. 09-630, § 8, 10-20-09; Ord. No. 99-352, § 3, 11-16-99. Code 2001 § 21-6.)

Chapter 16.20: REQUIREMENTS.

16.20.010 Manuals and addendum adopted.

The 2009 King County Surface Water Design Manual (KCSWDM), the Federal Way Addendum to the King County Surface Water Design Manual, the King County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Manual, and the latest edition of the LID Technical Guidance Manual for Puget Sound, as they exist on the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter or as hereafter amended, are hereby adopted by this reference. They are referred to in this title respectively as the KCSWDM, Federal Way Addendum, the KCSPPM and LID Manual.

(Ord. No. 09-630, § 9, 10-20-09; Ord. No. 99-352, § 3, 11-16-99. Code 2001 § 21-9.)

Cross reference: Requirements for land surface modifications, FWRC 19.120.030.

16.20.020 Stormwater best management practices (BMPs).

  1. General. BMPs, as specified in the KCSWDM, KCSPPM, and the LID Manual, shall be used to control pollution from stormwater, and to comply with the standards in this title.
  2. Experimental BMPs. In those instances where appropriate BMPs are not specified in the KCSWDM, KCSPPM, and the LID Manual, experimental BMPs should be considered. Experimental BMPs are encouraged as a means of solving problems in a manner not addressed by the KCSWDM, KCSPPM, and the LID Manual in an effort to improve stormwater quality technology. Experimental BMPs must be approved by the director of public works prior to construction.

(Ord. No. 09-630, § 10, 10-20-09; Ord. No. 99-352, § 3, 11-16-99. Code 2001 § 21-10.)

Chapter 16.35: OWNERSHIP, OPERATION, AND MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENTS

16.35.010 Ownership of stormwater facilities.

  1. Public stormwater facilities.
  1. Stormwater facilities in rights-of-way or dedicated easements or tracts. The city of Federal Way shall own, operate and maintain all elements of the storm drainage system in the right-of-way and in easements or tracts granted or dedicated to, and accepted by, the city of Federal Way.
  2. Existing stormwater facilities on private property. The city of Federal Way will not acquire or accept (via dedication, grant of easement, or other conveyance) existing components of the stormwater conveyance system located on private property, except when the components are needed for city of Federal Way construction projects identified in the capital facility plan or annual capital improvement program.
  3. New stormwater facilities. The city of Federal Way will accept ownership and responsibility for new retention/detention systems (via dedication, grant of easement, or other conveyance) only if all of the following conditions are met:
  1. Public ownership of the system will provide a public benefit;
  2. An easement or dedication of the property is offered by the property owner at no cost;
  3. The system meets city standards;
  4. There is access for city of Federal Way maintenance from a public right-of-way;
  5. The city of Federal Way has adequate resources to maintain the system; and
  6. The system serves a subdivision (as opposed to a short plat or commercial property).
  1. Private stormwater facilities. Stormwater systems located on private property shall be the responsibility of the owner to operate, inspect, maintain and improve.

(Ord. No. 99-352, § 3, 11-16-99. Code 2001 § 21-26.)

16.35.020 Maintenance responsibility.
  1. Generally. All stormwater facilities shall be maintained in accordance with this title and Appendix A and Chapter 6 of the KCSWDM. Drainage facilities shall be maintained so that they operate as intended. Systematic, routine preventive maintenance is preferred.
  2. Public stormwater facilities. The responsibility of the city of Federal Way shall be limited to maintenance and operation of the city of Federal Way stormwater system, and the city of Federal Way assumes no responsibility for maintenance and operation of private systems.
  3. Private stormwater facilities. Property owners are responsible for the maintenance, operation or repair of stormwater drainage systems and BMPs. Property owners shall maintain, operate and repair these facilities in compliance with the requirements of this title and Appendix A and Chapter 6 of the KCSWDM.
  4. New subdivisions and new short plats. In new subdivisions and short plats, maintenance responsibility for private drainage facilities shall be specified on the face of the subdivision or short plat.
  5. Existing subdivisions and existing short plats. If a private drainage facility serves multiple lots and the responsibility for maintenance has not been specified on the subdivision plat, short plat or other legal document, maintenance responsibility shall rest with the homeowners’ association, if one exists, or otherwise with the owners of the properties served by the facility. If owners of the properties served by the facility cannot be located, maintenance responsibility shall rest with the owner(s) of the property on which the facilities are located.

(Ord. No. 09-630, § 19, 10-20-09; Ord. No. 99-352, § 3, 11-16-99. Code 2001 § 21-27.)

16.35.030 Minimum maintenance standards.

The following are the minimum standards for the maintenance of stormwater facilities:

  1. All stormwater facilities shall be inspected at regular intervals and maintained and repaired in accordance with Appendix A and Chapter 6 of the KCSWDM, the approved designs for stormwater facilities, stormwater permits which may be issued by the city of Federal Way, the State Department of Ecology, or the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), applicable construction standards, and the minimum requirements as stated in the stormwater management manual.
  2. Where maintenance and repair is necessary to correct health or safety problems, to prevent harmful materials from entering the stormwater system, or to remove harmful materials that have entered the stormwater system, such work shall be completed by the owner or operator of the stormwater system or stormwater facility within 24 hours of discovery of the need for maintenance or repair. When maintenance and repair is found necessary to prevent water quality degradation, such work shall be completed within 14 calendar days of discovery of the need for maintenance or repair. For other related problems, maintenance or repairs shall be completed within 30 calendar days of discovery or repair.
  3. Where lack of maintenance is causing or contributing to a water quality problem, immediate action shall be taken to correct the problem. Within one month, the director shall revisit the facility to assure that it is being maintained.
  4. Should the public works director have reasonable cause to believe that the situation at a private stormwater facility is so adverse or hazardous so as to preclude written notice, he or she may take the measures necessary to eliminate the hazardous situation; provided, that he or she shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner before acting. In such instances the owner of the property and/or the person responsible for the maintenance of the facility shall be obligated for the payment of all costs incurred. If costs are incurred and a bond pursuant to this title or other city requirement has been posted, the public works director shall have the authority to collect against the bond to cover costs incurred.
  5. Illicit discharges to the stormwater system are prohibited, unless such discharges are authorized in accordance with Chapter 173-216 WAC (State Waste Discharge Permit Program) or Chapter 173-220 WAC (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Program).
  6. Harmful and prohibited materials, as defined in this title, shall not be allowed to enter any stormwater system. All such substances shall be stored, handled and disposed in a manner that will prevent them from entering the stormwater system. Further, storage, handling and disposal shall be conducted in accordance with Chapters 173-303 and 173-304 WAC.

(Ord. No. 09-630, § 20, 10-20-09; Ord. No. 99-352, § 3, 11-16-99. Code 2001 § 21-28.)

16.35.040 Disposal of waste from maintenance activities.

Disposal of waste from maintenance activities shall be conducted in accordance with the Minimum Functional Standards for Solid Waste Handling, Chapter 173-304 WAC, guidelines for disposal of waste materials from stormwater maintenance activities, and where appropriate, the Dangerous Waste Regulations, Chapter 173-303 WAC.

(Ord. No. 99-352, § 3, 11-16-99. Code 2001 § 21-29.)

Chapter 16.45: GENERAL WATER QUALITY AND ENFORCEMENT

16.45.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to protect the city’s surface and groundwater quality by providing minimum requirements for reducing and controlling the discharge of contaminants from commercial, industrial, governmental, agricultural, residential and other land use activities in Federal Way. The city council recognizes that water quality degradation can result directly from one discharge or through the collective impact of many small discharges. Therefore, this title prohibits the discharge of contaminants into surface water, stormwater and groundwater and outlines preventative measures to restrict contaminants from entering such waters, including the implementation of best management practices (BMPs).

In addition, the city council also recognizes the importance of maintaining economic viability while providing necessary environmental protection. An additional purpose of this title it to assist in the achievement of both goals.

(Ord. No. 09-630, § 21, 10-20-09; Ord. No. 09-619, § 5, 7-21-09; Ord. No. 99-352, § 3, 11-16-99. Code 2001 § 21-35.)

16.45.030 Scope.

This chapter establishes the following water quality standards based on how the water leaves the subject property:

(1) FWRC 16.45.040 establishes water quality standards for water that flows directly from the subject property into a stream, a lake or Puget Sound.

(2) FWRC 16.45.050 establishes water quality standards for water that is conveyed into the public stormwater system directly from the subject property.

(3) FWRC 16.45.060 establishes water quality standards for water that enters the groundwater system by penetrating through the surface of the subject property.

(4) Water that leaves the subject property by conveyance directly into a sanitary sewer system or from a septic tank system is not regulated by this title. Lakehaven Utility District Resolution, Midway Sewer District Resolution and/or Code of the King County Board of Health, Title 13, applies to water quality in these situations.

(Ord. No. 09-630, § 22, 10-20-09; Ord. No. 09-619, § 6, 7-21-09; Ord. No. 90-43, § 2(115.150(1)), 2-27-90. Code 2001 § 22-1196.)

16.45.090 Enforcement.

(1) Violations. Notwithstanding the requirements of Chapter 16.50 FWRC and FWRC 16.55.010, if a person has properly designed, constructed, implemented, and is maintaining BMPs according to the BMP manual, is carrying out AKART as required or approved by the director, and/or has modified existing practices as specified by the director, and contaminants continue to enter surface water, stormwater or groundwater; or the person can demonstrate that there are no additional contaminants being discharged from the site above the background conditions of the water entering the site, then that person shall not be in violation of water quality provisions of this chapter. Said person, however, remains liable for any prohibited discharges through illicit connections, dumping, spills, improper maintenance of BMPs, or other discharges in violation of this chapter that allow contaminants to enter surface water, stormwater or groundwater.

Chapter 16.55: BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICES

16.55.010 Stormwater Pollution Prevention Manual.

(1) General. The King County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Manual (BMP manual) applies to existing facilities and activities and to new development activities not covered by the King County Surface Water Design Manual (KCSWDM) and Federal Way Addendum to the KCSWDM. The BMP manual describes the types of regulated activities, the types of contaminants generated by each activity, the contaminant’s effect on water quality, the required source control BMPs, and the available treatment BMPs. The BMP manual includes information on design, maintenance, allowable use of alternative BMPs, and a schedule for BMP implementation.

(2) Priority of BMP implementation. Compliance with this section shall be achieved through the use of best management practices described in the BMP manual. In applying the BMP manual, the director or his/her designee shall first require the implementation of source control BMPs unless the BMP manual specifically requires treatment BMPs. If source control BMPs (or treatment BMPs if required by the BMP manual) do not prevent contaminants from entering surface and stormwater or groundwater, the director or his/her designee may require implementation of additional source control BMPs and/or treatment BMPs according to AKART.

(3) Prevention of pollution of surface and groundwaters. BMPs shall be applied as required herein, so that when all appropriate combinations of individual BMPs are utilized, pollution of surface or groundwaters is prevented. If all BMPs required herein or by the director are applied, and pollution still occurs, the discharger shall modify existing practices or apply further water pollution control measures, as specified by the director. In the absence of implementation of applicable BMPs, the director shall be authorized to conclude that individual activities are causing pollution in violation of this chapter, and shall be authorized to enforce this chapter accordingly.

(4) Technical assistance. The Federal Way surface water management division will provide, upon reasonable request, available technical assistance materials and information, and information on outside financial assistance options, to persons required to comply with this title.

(Ord. No. 09-630, § 29, 10-20-09; Ord. No. 09-619, § 13, 7-21-09; Ord. No. 99-352, § 3, 11-16-99. Code 2001 § 21-39.)

Federal Way Stormwater Documents

King County Stormwater Design Manual

  • No. 1- PONDS CONSTRUCTED WETLANDS
  • No. 2- INFILTRATION
  • No. 3- CLOSED DETENTION AND TREATMENT SYSTEMS (PIPES/TANKS)
  • No. 4- CONTROL STRUCTURE/FLOW RESTRICTOR
  • No. 5- CATCH BASINS
  • No. 6- DEBRIS BARRIERS (EX. TRASH RACKS)
  • No. 7- ENERGY DISSIPATORS
  • No. 8- FENCING
  • No. 9- GATES
  • No. 10- CONVEYANCE SYSTEMS (PIPES & DITCHES)
  • No. 11- GROUNDS (LANDSCAPING)
  • No. 12- ACCESS ROADS/EASEMENTS
  • No. 13- GRASS BIOFILTERS AND FILTER STRIPS
  • No. 14- OIL/WATER SEPARATORS