Background Information

The Lake Whatcom Stormwater Utility Service Area was established by Whatcom County Council in 2017 for the purpose of providing funding for Lake Whatcom Stormwater Program expenses to meet state water quality regulatory requirements.  Links to background information and reference materials related to the Lake Whatcom Stormwater Management Program are listed below. 

Lake Whatcom Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)

The Lake Whatcom Watershed Total Phosphorus and Bacteria Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDL) water quality study and water quality improvement reports document the methods and outcomes leading to the current regulatory requirements to clean up Lake Whatcom. To learn more about the State Department of Ecology’s 18-year process to study the lake and develop the TMDL, visit the following Ecology website pages:

Lake Whatcom Water Quality Monitoring Data

Western Washington University’s Institute for Watershed Studies conducts long-term water quality monitoring of Lake Whatcom. Monitoring started in the early 1960s, and the current long-term monitoring program began in 1988.  To learn more about Lake Whatcom water quality monitoring, visit the Institute for Watershed Studies Lake Whatcom homepage.

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit

Whatcom County has a NPDES Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit issued by the Washington State Department of Ecology that sets requirements to address stormwater runoff in areas determined to have population densities reaching urban standards. Meeting water quality objectives from the Lake Whatcom TMDL is a component of the county’s permit. For more information visit the NPDES page

Lake Whatcom Stormwater Capital Project Plan

The Lake Whatcom Comprehensive Stormwater Plan identifies a prioritized list of new stormwater treatment capital projects in the Lake Whatcom watershed. This list is used to identify projects for the six-year plan (the Water Resources Improvement Program or "WRIP"). In 2017, Whatcom County Public Works completed the process of updating the stormwater capital program component of the Lake Whatcom Comprehensive Stormwater Plan. To learn more about the plan and the process used to identify and prioritize stormwater capital projects, visit the following Whatcom County website page:

Lake Whatcom Cooperative Management

Whatcom County collaborates with the City of Bellingham and the Lake Whatcom Water and Sewer District to implement a coordinated Lake Whatcom Management Program (LWMP). This cooperative program started in 1992 for the purpose of improving water quality in the lake by jointly implementing programs affecting the Lake Whatcom watershed. Whatcom County’s work to protect Lake Whatcom water quality is done as part of this cooperative management effort. To learn more about the Lake Whatcom Cooperative Management Program, visit the following program website pages:

Stormwater Utility Reference Documents