Plans afoot for stormwater solutions | Guest column

A stretch of Bailer Hill Road is submerged following heavy rains.

A stretch of Bailer Hill Road is submerged following heavy rains.

By Ed Hale

SJC Utilities manager

With fall approaching we once again look toward the rainy season.

Last year the season started with a shockingly large storm event that overwhelmed our Eastsound storm sewer system. With that memory almost one year behind us, the Stormwater Utility is moving into the final phase of countywide stormwater management planning.

We have completed Volume 1 of the County Stormwater plan, which describes the nature of 37 drainage basins in terms of the geology, hydrology, current land use and potential development.

Based on that information, Volume 1 makes some broad suggestion for how we can manage stormwater. These range from developing more detailed plans in focus basins, including Eastsound and Lopez Village, to utilizing the treatment capacity available in existing ecological systems, such as wetlands, ponds and ditches. More specifics regarding these and other recommendations are presented in the recommendations section of Volume 1.

What does that mean for you and the planning process?

Take a look at the report and recommendations on the county web site and then come to one or more of the open house events scheduled during the week of Sept. 15. You will have an opportunity to ask questions of and suggest favorable options to the managers, scientists, citizens and engineers that are working on this plan.

We will also be unveiling the “Top 20” list of capital projects. These are the projects that will be presented to the Citizens Stormwater Advisory Committee for final ranking and eventual construction. This list was developed based on the results of Volume 1, existing drainage plans, and issues reported through the stormwater issue website that was available to citizens earlier this year.

See you at the open house.


Open House Schedule:

Mon, Sept. 15

San Juan Island

SJC Public Works Building

915 Spring St.

4:30-6:30 p.m.


Tues, Sept. 16

Orcas Island

Fire Hall, 45 Lavender Lane

1st Open House from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

2nd Open House from 4-6 p.m.


Thurs, Sept. 18

Lopez Island

Woodmen Hall, 4102 Fisherman Bay Rd.

4-6:30 p.m.