Stormwater Utility

Stormwater and Surface Water

In a City , stormwater travels through a catch basin, pipe, ditch, pond, or some other piece of infrastructure, and it eventually flows to a stream, lake, into the ground, or directly into Puget Sound. It is created when rain falls on roads, driveways, parking lots, rooftops, and other paved surfaces and picks up the chemicals, oil, grease, fertilizers, animal waste, litter, pesticides, and other toxins from our cars and buildings. A stormwater system must be implemented and maintained to prevent polluted water from contaminating water sources and flooding. City maintenance staff use everything from shovels to heavy equipment to keep the stormwater system maintained and working properly.   

Typical maintenance includes: 
  • Cleaning pipes and drains
  • Removing sediment from ditches and ponds
  • Cutting tree roots out of pipes
  • Fixing small drainage problems by moving or installing new catch basins
  • Fixing larger drainage problems through Capital Improvement Projects
  • Using a TV camera to inspect underground pipes to assess their condition
For more information regarding stormwater, please visit the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Reporting Spills:

If you witness spills or any suspicious discharges to Yelm's stormwater system, streets, ditches, streams, and wetlands, please call Public Works at 360-458-8406 or by email at Spills include things like gasoline, sewage, chemicals, paint, oily sheens, foam, algae blooms, or muddy water from construction sites.  

Use the following as a checklist when reporting a suspicious event: 
  • Keep yourself safe. Stay out of hazaradous areas and leave sample collection up to local authorities.
  • Location of spill.  
  • Time/date of spill.
  • Does it occur at a certain time? For example, every day at 6:00 am?
  • Could you determine the source? 
  • Is it draining into a body of water, or into a catch basin or grate?
  • How does the water look; is there a sheen? 
  • Do you observe any dead fish? 
  • Are there any odors? 
  • Are there any other witnesses? 
  • Take photographs: Photographic evidence can be very valuable in establishing the presence of pollution, especially where erosion problems exist. When taking photographs, remember to record the time, date, and location that the photo was taken. Wherever possible, try to include an established landmark so that the location of the pollution problem cannot be challenged. Digital photos are very helpful to investigators in understanding the location and severity of certain discharges. 
For more information, please visit the current engineering and development guidelines.

For current information on stormwater and surface water related projects, please visit our stormwater management plan.