Stormwater is Rainwater

Rain falls on our roofs and streets and flows into storm drains. Whatever goes down the drain flows into the Salish Sea.

Rainwater picks up what it touches, like oil from the road, yard chemicals, and pet waste. This polluted water can be highly toxic to our fish and wildlife. 

Storm Drainage System

When houses, streets, shopping centers, and businesses are built, natural soil and plants are replaced by hard surfaces, such as roofs and pavement. When rain falls on these hard surfaces, it cannot soak into the ground, so it quickly becomes runoff that can cause flooding.

Our storm drainage system moves water away from buildings, roads, and other places we don’t want it to collect. Storm drains discharge directly into the surrounding waters, they do not lead to the wastewater treatment plant. Dumping oil, pet waste, and other materials into the storm drain is similar to dumping them directly into the Salish Sea. To protect water quality, City code prohibits anything other than rainwater from entering the storm drainage system.

Polluted water can:

  • Damage salmon habitat
  • Pollute shellfish beds
  • Degrade water quality

We encourage people who live, work and play in Anacortes to help keep our water clean.  It is much easier to eliminate pollution at the source instead of trying to remove it from the water later on.

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Operations and Maintenance

City Operations and Maintenance crews are responsible for keeping the storm drainage system in working order. The 4,285 storm drains in Anacortes are on a two year inspection and cleaning cycle. Crews maintain over 80 miles of storm pipe and 50 miles of ditches. The City inspects and maintains 58 storm ponds and 35 storm vaults that are City-owned. Street sweeping occurs on a regular basis to keep dirt and pollutants out of the storm drains. City crews work around the clock during large storms to make sure that the system is still working well.

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Municipal Stormwater Permit

The City of Anacortes was issued a Western Washington Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit by the Washington State Department of Ecology. This requires the City to prepare and implement a stormwater management program to improve the quality of the water discharged from the City’s storm drainage system into the Salish Sea.

Please check the Anacortes Municipal Stormwater Permit for more information.

Report Dumping & Spills

If you see anything other than rainwater in a storm drain or if you find evidence of dumping or a spill - whether large or small, accidental or intentional - please let us know. Reports can be submitted anonymously.

Submit an online form.

Make a call: (360) 293-1921 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday

                    After hours, call 911 and dispatchers will contact the appropriate agency.

For more information, visit our Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Program webpage.


What Can I Do?

There are many ways to get involved in protecting water quality in our community!

The City of Anacortes partners with the Skagit Conservation District and other local cities to offer a variety of opportunities to learn about how to protect our environment and keep our water clean.

Some of the programs offered include the following (where 2020 program information is posted or will be posted soon):

Here are some things you can start doing now:

At Home

  • Never dump anything down storm drains.
  • Choose environmentally friendly products, follow dosage recommendations, and use only where absolutely necessary.
  • Avoid over watering so fertilizers and pesticides don’t run off your lawn and into the storm drain.
  • Sweep driveways and sidewalks instead of hosing them off into the gutter.
  • Compost your yard waste or place it in your yard waste bin, do not blow it into the street.
  • Use fertilizers and pesticides sparingly or not at all.
  • Plant or seed bare spots in your yard to reduce erosion.

On the Road

Wash your car at a commercial car wash that is connected to the sanitary sewer or wash it over your lawn to prevent the dirty water from entering the storm drain. Check cars regularly for fluid leaks and repair promptly. Recycle automotive fluids.


Organize a work party to help clean a stream, mark catch basins, conduct an educational event, pick up trash, plant native plants around your home. Anything else you can think of - let us know!

Stormwater Utility Billing

For information on your stormwater utility bill, visit our Utility Billing page here.

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For additional information or to comment on the stormwater management program, please contact Diane Hennebert, Stormwater Program Manager, at or (360) 299-1966.