Washington Stormwater Center

Did you know that in Puyallup - home of the state fair - there is also a research facility to study stormwater runoff run by Washington State University?

Started in 1894, the Puyallup Research and Extension Center has programs on site that support technological innovation, food production, natural resource stewardship, youth development, human nutrition, and community enhancement. Among those programs is the Washington Stormwater Center (WSC), a collaboration between Washington State University and the University of Washington. The WSC operates under the guidelines of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), a permit system tied to the Clean Water Act. The center services NPDES permittees and stormwater managers as they navigate the complexities and challenges of stormwater management.

The Washington Stormwater Center conducts research too, including 16 experimental rain gardens. Each garden tests the effects of different soil, vegetation, and other factors that help filter rainwater and stormwater. Earlier this summer, the center concluded that the water was draining too quickly from the rain gardens, thereby losing all the filtration benefits of the special imported rain garden soil.

Fortunately, the Snohomish Conservation District (SCD) has partnered with the Washington Stormwater Center before, and we have engineers who specialize in solving stormwater issues. This includes many different solutions like installing rain barrels and rain beds, and, of course, designing rain gardens.

Our Community Conservation engineer redesigned the experimental rain gardens, including adding pond liners to help retain rainwater that fell into the garden. The SCD’s Vet Crew worked hard for over two months to complete the project, using heavy equipment, hauling 300-pound pond liners by hand, and installing over 150 yards of bioretention soil. By the end of the July, the Snohomish Conservation District had completed installation of 16 brand new, research-ready rain gardens.

Learn more about WSU Puyallup Research and Extension Center - https://puyallup.wsu.edu/about/.