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Stormwater Division
614 Division St.   Port Orchard, WA,  MS-26A
Phone:(360)337-5777 * Fax: (360)337-5678




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Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions:

        Water Quality
        Ponds and other drainage questions
        Storm drain system inspection and maintenance

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Water Quality                                                                                                                  

What is the orange, rusty looking slimy material observed in a ditch, pond, or creek? It is probably iron bacteria, which is natural and usually harmless.   Review our fact sheet to learn more. If you still have questions or are not sure, please call (360) 337-5777 and ask for Stormwater Division water quality monitoring staff.

What is the cause of the oil sheen observed in a ditch, pond, or creek? It could be from a petroleum product or it could be natural. If it breaks apart when disturbed, it is most likely a result of decaying iron bacteria. If there is a smooth ripple effect, it is likely oil. If you see an oil spill into surface waters you may call 911 if it's an emergency, or our Water Pollution Hotline (360) 337-5777 during normal business hours.

What is the cause of the foam observed in a ditch, pond, or creek? It may be naturally occurring, though it could have come from vehicle washing or other sources of household wash water via a failing septic system or improper plumbing. Please call our Water Pollution Hotline at (360) 337-5777. We use a quick detergent test to help identify potential septic effluent and wash water.

What is the cause of the green, brown, red or gray color in a pond or wetland? Natural sources of discoloration include algae (green or brown), mosquito fern (red), or silt (cloudy gray, like flour mixed in water). Unnatural sources that should be reported include evidence of erosion from construction sites (muddy or cloudy), paint, and other construction materials such as cement washed from an exposed aggregate driveway. Please report any abnormalities you observe in our waterways to our Water Pollution Hotline (360) 337-5777 during normal business hours, even if you're unsure whether there's a problem. Emergency situations may be reported to 911.

Ponds and Other Drainage Features                                                                                           

What is the pond in my neighborhood? The pond is an engineered stormwater facility designed to hold runoff from developed areas after it rains. Some ponds are designed to keep the water and let it soak into the ground gradually, while others hold it just for a few days until the peak of the storm has passed.

Where does all the water in the pond go? For ponds that are designed to release water, the water accumulates during rain events and suspended particles start to settle to the bottom. As the pond fills to a certain point, water exits through an outlet into a downstream storm drain system, which flows untreated to local creeks, lakes, and Puget Sound.

Why is the pond so big and never has any water in it? The pond was designed to handle large storm events, so runoff from normal rainfall may not be noticeable.

Why is there always water in the pond? Ponds that continuously hold water are called retention facilities, or commonly "wet ponds". They are designed to provide flood control and enhanced water quality benefits.

When will the pond be maintained? Ponds in unincorporated Kitsap County that are part of the maintenance program are maintained between May and September. Although there is no set schedule, please call (360) 337-5777 if you observe a pond in need of maintenance.

Does the pond have to be fenced?  The fences are in place for public safety. Please review the Kitsap County Surface and Stormwater Design Manual (Chapter General Design Criteria, Section I Fencing) for specific pond fencing requirements.

Can I plant trees and flowers inside the fence? No.

Can I plant bushes around the outside of the fence? Yes, as long as they do not interfere with the design or function of the pond.

What do you use to keep the mosquitoes out of the ponds? The County does not routinely spray areas for mosquitoes. However, if you feel a pond is causing a mosquito nuisance, call us to discuss a possible evaluation of the situation and follow-up actions we may take. Information about the West Nile Virus is available on the Kitsap Public Health District website.

Where do my yard drains go? Often your roof and yard drains flow to an infiltration system, or they might drain to a roadside drainage system. You can normally find out where it flows by getting a copy of your building permit.

How can I obtain prints of my drainage system? Our stormwater inspectors can either print a copy and deliver it through mail, or send it electronically if we have it in our database. Call (360) 337-5777 to request assistance and ask for SSWM.

Who is responsible for water flowing onto my property? Downstream property owners are generally responsible for receiving runoff from road cross culverts and other upstream property owners. Inspectors are available to provide limited assistance on a case by case basis. Please call (360) 337-5777 for assistance.

Can I alter the drainage from my property? While everyone has the right to protect their property from upstream flows, regulations state that the water needs to leave your property in the same manner as it did before the changes to the drainage were done. Inspectors are available to provide limited assistance on a case by case basis. Please call (360) 337-5777 for assistance.

Is it possible that my yard is always wet because one of the County's storm pipes is broken? Though possible, it is rare for an underground storm pipe to cause surface flooding. Because storm pipes are not pressurized, a cracked pipe would more likely create a sinkhole above the break or groundwater would enter the pipe.

Storm Drain System Inspection and Maintenance                                                                  

What is inside of a manhole or catch basin? These structures generally consist of a concrete box designed to capture dirt and other materials from the water flowing into the storm drain.

 What are County inspectors looking for during an inspection of my commercial property? Inspectors conduct routine yearly inspections of the commercial property drainage systems within unincorporated Kitsap County. Inspectors are looking for sediment, oil, and trash in structures such as catch basins. They also evaluate vegetation growth and maintenance of structures such as ponds. Learn more here.

Who can I call to have the storm drains on my property cleaned? A list of maintenance providers can be found here.

How often are inspections performed by County staff? Annually.

Please call Kitsap 1 at (360) 337-5777 for all other questions. 

Updated: 01/31/2017
Stormwater Division

360.337.5777 or 800.825.4940