Our History

In 2009 several Washington State business representatives and organizations grouped together to ask the legislature to develop an organization to provide independent, non-regulatory assistance to stormwater permittees. Hundreds of businesses and municipalities are currently charged with following a general stormwater permit, and their need for assistance was evident. 

To answer this request, a charge to create a stormwater resource center emerged in the 2009 Legislative Session.

The Charge

The charge to create the Washington Stormwater Center came with the passage of House Bill 2222 in the 2009 legislative session. The bill, since codified in RCW 90.48.545, provides for Ecology to establish “a storm water technical resource center in partnership with a university, nonprofit organization, or other public or private entity to provide tools for storm water management.”

To begin the process of creating the Washington Stormwater Center, the Department of Ecology provided grant funding to the City of Puyallup and its two primary associates: Washington State University and the University of Washington. Funding backed the development, overall management, and administrative strategy for the organization.

According to the RCW, the organization shall provide a number of statewide services.

(1) The center may:

(a) Review and evaluate emerging storm water technologies,

(b) Research and develop innovative and cost-effective technical solutions to remove pollutants from runoff and to reduce or eliminate storm water discharges,

(c) Conduct pilot projects to test technical solutions,

(d) Serve as a clearinghouse and outreach center for information on storm water technology,

(e) Assist in the development of storm water control methods to better protect water quality, including source control, product substitution, pollution prevention, and storm water treatment,

(f) Coordinate with federal, state, and local agencies and private organizations in administering programs related to storm water control measures,

(g) Collaborate with existing storm water outreach programs, and

The RCW also required the Washington Department of Ecology (department) to perform the following tasks:

(2) The department shall consult with an advisory committee in the development of the storm water technical resource center. the advisory committee must include representatives from relevant state agencies, local governments, the business community, the environmental community, tribes, and the building and development industry.

(3) The department, in consultation with the storm water technical resource center advisory committee, shall identify a funding strategy for funding the storm water technical resource center.

(4) The department shall encourage all interested parties to help and support the technical resource center with in-kind services.

(5) The department shall prepare and submit a biennial progress report to the legislature.

We're Official!

December 9, 2010 marked the official establishment of the Washington Stormwater Center. Created as a university center of Washington State University, located on the Puyallup campus, Washington Stormwater Center is a joint venture with University of Washington, Tacoma Center for Urban Waters. Read the announcement letter from co-Directors Dr. Stark and Dr. Baker.