Stormwater in August?

By Evelyn Dufford, CMCA, PCAM

Welcome August! The month of sun, Seafare, back to school shopping and stormwater maintenance.  I know, rain is the last thing you want to think about. My lawn just dried out enough to spray the weeds.  But just like buying snow shovels, now is the time to maintain the stormwater ponds and catch basins.

Pierce County has been making their rounds to inspect the retention pond and catch basins.  Many of our communities have been given long tasks lists with deadlines to get the work done. The goal here is to be proactive and plan for the work to be done before the inspections.  It’s not a matter of if, but when you will be inspected.

So let’s follow a drop of water.  Whether it’s from a cloud or a hose the water will hit the surface of the driveway or the roof of your house.  It starts its way down with the help of gravity.  It will pick up dirt and dilute the chemicals on the way.  Into the gutter of the street it will go to join more water.  Running downhill to the nearest catch basin with all of this baggage, the water will deposit the heaviest of it’s solids in the bottom of the catch basin (hence, it’s name).  The journey continues to the retention/detention pond.  This is where the chemicals, oil, soaps and other wastes are deposited along with the water.  The ponds are designed in numerous ways.  Mostly they are there to filter the water before it gets to the ground water.

So what can we do to help with the care and feeding of this system?


Fix car leaks

Use drip pans until you fix the car leaks

Wash cars on the lawn

Empty buckets of soapy water into a sink or toilet

Clean spills with absorbent materials

Pet waste, Scoop it, Bag it and Throw it in the trash

Use a broom instead of a hose to clean the driveway

Community Association

Inspect the catch basins – clean out the solids if they are more than half full

Paint “No Dumping” reminders by the catch basins. Pierce County has the stencils you can borrow. (253 798-2725)

Inspect the ponds for vegetation overgrow and poisonous weeds.

Inspect the drain opening for unobstructed flow of water into the pond.

Inspect fences for damage

Have the streets sweep periodically


There is a Surface Water Maintenance Manual produced by Pierce County that gives you all the details. Click here for the link.


The staff at Pierce County is very friendly and would love to talk to you about the specific requirements of your pond.

Here is a link to the Stormwater Best Management Practices for more details.

As always if you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me at