Home  /  NPDES Program

NPDES Program


NPDES Stormwater Permit

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program is a requirement of the Federal Clean Water Act, which is intended to protect and restore waters for “fishable and swimmable” uses. The Federal Environmental Protection Agency has delegated permit authority to state environmental agencies. In Washington, the NPDES-delegated permit authority is the Washington State Department of Ecology. Since Federal Way operates a small municipal storm sewer system that serves less than 100,000 people, it is designated as a Phase II community and must comply with Ecology’s Western Washington Phase II NPDES Municipal Stormwater Permit.

The Permit allows municipalities to discharge stormwater runoff from municipal drainage systems into the State’s water bodies (i.e., streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, etc.) as long as municipalities implement programs to protect water quality to the “maximum extent practicable” through application of Best Management Practices. These required practices, specified in the Permit, are collectively referred to as the Stormwater Management Program (SWMP).

The Permit requires the City to report annually by March 31st of each year on program implementation for the prior year and requires municipalities to update the SWMP to describe the actions planned to achieve and maintain permit compliance in the upcoming year. 

The SWMP update is organized according to the following program components:

  • Public Education and Outreach

  • Public Involvement

  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination

  • Runoff Controls

  • Pollution Prevention and Municipal Operations and Maintenance

Beginning in 2016, Ecology is beginning a Municipal Stormwater Permit Audit Program to evaluate Phase II Permittees’ compliance with the permit requirements. Ecology will randomly select four municipalities to be audited each year with a goal to audit every jurisdiction every 5-7 years. Federal Way was not chosen for an audit in 2016 however, staff will work on organizing permit related documentation, staff training, and proper implementation of policies and procedures in anticipation of an audit.