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King County is committed to protecting water quality to benefit public health and safety and help restore Puget Sound. King County is also required by state and federal law to provide surface water management services.

To do this, the King County Water and Land Resources Division addresses problems that affect our rivers, lakes, and streams such as flooding, erosion, pollution, habitat degradation, low stream flows, and increased water temperatures. These problems result from development changes to natural systems and the movement of water over and through the land. To pay for services that help resolve these problems, property owners in unincorporated King County are assessed a Surface Water Management (SWM) fee.

The SWM fees support these new and ongoing efforts:

Improving the condition of stormwater flow structures under county roads that carry runoff

Managing stormwater assets, maintaining and replacing aging infrastructure. By keeping infrastructure functioning properly through inspections, maintenance, repair, and replacement of aging facilities such as pipes, storage ponds, culverts, and catchbasins, we can avoid the potential high costs and disturbances of emergency repairs

Mapping the stormwater conveyance system in the county right-of-way to meet requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit

Increasing habitat restoration projects to improve water quality and help recover salmon populations

Supporting productivity of local farmers through the agricultural drainage assistance program and the Farm, Fish, and Flood effort

Addressing chronic drainage, flooding, and beaver management issues

Developing a new water quality grant program to assist residents and communities in making water quality improvements

Creating a discount program for low-income property owners to mitigate impacts of a SWM rate increase

Surface water management fee