NPDES Program

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is a permit-based water quality program implemented under the authority of the Federal Clean Water Act, enacted by Congress in 1972. The primary goal of NPDES is to reduce the amount of pollution that reaches streams, lakes, wetlands, oceans, and all other water bodies by regulating stormwater runoff. 

In Washington, the NPDES–delegated permit authority is the Washington State Department of Ecology. The city of University Place is designated as a Phase II community and must comply with Ecology’s Western Washington Phase II NPDES Municipal Stormwater Permit.  

What Does the Permit Do

The permit allows municipalities to discharge stormwater runoff from municipal drainage systems into the State’s water bodies (i.e., streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, etc.) as long as municipalities implement programs to protect water quality to the “maximum extent practicable” through application of Best Management Practices. These required practices, specified in the Permit, are collectively referred to as the 2023 Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) (PDF).


The Permit requires the City to report annually by March 31st of each year on program implementation for the prior year and requires municipalities to update the (SWMP) to describe the actions planned to achieve and maintain permit compliance in the upcoming year.


The Permit has 5 major components that the City is required to focus on:

  1. Educational Outreach Program
  2. Public Involvement and Participation
  3. Detect and Eliminate Pollution
  4. Construction and Development
  5. Operation and Maintenance