OUR REGION IS PROGRESSING TOWARDS A HEALTHY, RESILIENT FUTURE

As a result of a legal challenge of the 2012 municipal general stormwater permits by Soundkeeper and WEC, permitted cities and counties around Puget Sound were required to update their development codes and regulations by 2016 to make low-impact development (LID) the “preferred and commonly used approach” for our region. LID ensures that stormwater from new development will be treated and controlled to prevent pollution impacts to our watersheds and communities. 

Not all Permittees took meaningful steps by the 2016 deadline. However, since then we have seen significant progress. 28 Permittees have made strong improvements since our first Scorecard was issued in 2017. Now, over 70% of these municipalities have earned at least 4 of 5 checkmarks. View the 2017 and 2019 Scorecard now, to compare.

This progress is evidence that YOU can make a difference: your calls, emails, and testimony to your city and county councils have helped move the dial on stormwater pollution to better protect our waterways.

HOW WERE THEY GRADED IN THE FIRST SCORECARD?

Under the Clean Water Act, Permittees are required to manage their stormwater runoff to protect water quality and make LID the “preferred and commonly used approach.” This means writing LID requirements into the municipal codes that govern development projects. Soundkeeper and WEC reviewed development code updates in all 83 Puget Sound municipalities with pollution discharge permits, and graded them on five key indicators based on State guidelines. Read more about our grading rubric here.

HOW WELL DID THEY SCORE?

Permittees were required by law to review and update their development codes, making low-impact development techniques the new norm for our region. We looked at whether this process was completed and whether substantive updates were made to incorporate five key types of LID practices to manage stormwater runoff from new development.

View the 2019 Low Impact Development Code Update Scorecard today!

WHAT REMAINS TO BE DONE

There is more work to do, even with 72% of Puget Sound Permittees making significant progress on LID code updates in 2019. 

First: our region has not yet fully implemented the LID requirements of the 2012 stormwater permits. 16% of Puget Sound cities and counties still lagged far behind when we last reviewed compliance. Our region is progressing, but not finished yet. 

Second: it’s also unclear whether municipalities are monitoring development to ensure LID is implemented during design and construction. If cities and counties do not meet their permit requirements and hold developers accountable, those requirements can be a paper tiger.

Last: our region is making strides to control stormwater from new development, but many areas throughout Puget Sound were built before LID became the required approach to building. In addition to ensuring LID is implemented for new development, redevelopment and new construction: we must also do more to retrofit existing development for stormwater. 

View the 2019 Scorecard

View the 2017 Scorecard