City of Sequim releases first stormwater plan

Sequim is no longer one of a few cities on the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas to not have a stormwater plan or program.

Sequim is no longer one of a few cities on the Olympic and Kitsap peninsulas to not have a stormwater plan or program.

Though it’s still under way, city officials released the draft of the first Storm and Surface Water Master Plan focused on Sequim on May 28. The city council’s public hearing and decision on the plan is anticipated mid-July.

Leading to its approval, city officials encourage public comment.

The plan was “well received” by the city’s planning commission June 2, Ann Soule, project manager and Sequim water resource specialist, said. “We hope to go straight from draft to final after the public hearing process.”

The plan prepared by Herrera Environmental Consultants, Inc., a Seattle-based consultant group, establishes the city’s methods for managing storm-water and surface water and how to both expand and improve them. It also identifies actions needed to ensure compliance with local, state and federal water quality standards, staffing and resource needs, explores future growth projections and climate change strategies and discusses opportunities for interdepartmental and interagency collaboration to manage the area’s water resource.

“For me this project has been exciting from the beginning,” Soule said. “Comprehensive water management is my career goal and this city has so many opportunities and multiple levels to work with … stormwater is yet another resource it has.”

The draft breaks the plan into three tiers, separating short-term and futuristic needs of vary costs. Tier A, estimated to cost $383,980, achieves the minimum standards. Tier B includes steps likely to be mandated, costing an estimated $1.77 million. The last level, Tier C, jumps to nearly $50 million because it includes a $46 million capital project aimed at securing a water reservoir site off River Road.

Overall, Soule is pleased with the draft plan, but “can see the need to possibly exchange some of the activities between the tiers,” she said. “This has required me to be part physical scientist, educator and planner,” Soule said.

The release of the city’s draft Storm and Surface Water Master Plan happened to follow the Olympic Peninsula and statewide drought declaration by Gov. Jay Inslee, increasing the overall focus on water as a resource.

“It’s a really teachable moment,” Soule said. “Preserving water in the winter really resonates with local residents.”

Another driving force spurring the creation of a Storm and Surface Water Master Plan is the anticipation of population growth and thus increased oversight of stormwater discharge.

For now Sequim’s population of about 6,700 remains below the threshold of 10,000 that requires an Environmental Protection Agency’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit regardless of any indication of reduced water quality.

But, Soule said, if Washington Department of Ecology officials were to enforce water quality standards, the city could potentially qualify despite being below the population threshold.

Following the approval of the draft plan by Sequim city councilors, city staff will identify a roadmap for implementing the plan, including any possible code changes and work to secure funding — an estimated four-to-six month process, according to Soule.

The draft Storm and Surface Water Master Plan can be viewed online at or a copy is available at the Sequim Library and at the Civic Center.

Public comments can be e-mailed to, mail “Stormwater Plan” to Sequim Public Works, 152 W. Cedar St., or call 582-5710.