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Island County > Public Works > Surface Water > Stormwater Runoff FAQ

FAQ about Resources Available to Resolve Stormwater Runoff Problems in Island County

What should I do if I have concerns about drainage on my property?

The first step is to try to figure out where the water is coming from. Runoff due to the slope of your property, downspouts and water across driveways can often be mitigated by Low Impact Development (LID) Methods. There are many resources available to help resolve drainage issues on your property. Here are a few:

Rain Garden Handbook for Western Washington

Whidbey Island Conservation District

  • Available to consult about whether the drainage issue can be resolved by conveyance or infiltration methods
  • May provide free design assistance for drainage solutions
  • Visit the WCD website or call (360) 678-4708 for more information

Washington State University Extension

If water runoff from an Island County road, ditch or culvert is impacting your private property, please advise the Island County Public Works Department at 360.679.7331. Questions on erosion/slope stability may be directed to the Development Coordinators through the Planning Department at (360) 679-7339.

Please note: On the older Plats within Island County the developers, in the dedication of the plat, included language stating:

…”Also the right to drain all streets over any lot or lots where water might take a natural course after the street or streets are graded.”

As a result of this language, the County has the right to send public roadway drainage over and across private property. If the amount of water is considered excessive and occurs on a frequent basis, Island County Public Works will investigate.

How do I file a “drainage complaint” with Island County?

Use the Island County Service Request App to submit a drainage complaint on-line.


Call the Public Works administrative staff at (360) 679-7331.

What happens after I file a “drainage complaint” with Island County?

Island County has a procedure for “drainage complaints”

  1. Homeowner calls the Public Works administrative staff and describes the drainage issue

  2. Public Works administrative staff forwards the complaint to your local Island County Road Shop

  3. The Road Shop responds to the complaint. If they are unable to resolve the issue, or determine that they need an engineer to advise them, then the Road Shop will contact the Surface Water Management Division.

  4. The Surface Water Management Division will determine whether an engineering project is necessary to solve the problem. Engineering projects sometime take several years to complete. There are also issues that can arise that could delay or stop a project completely, such as permitting issues or an inability to acquire necessary easements.

What information can I provide to help the County employees to resolve the problem?

The most helpful thing you can do is to take pictures and document the problem when it is occurring. Things to include in your documentation: date, location of flow or ponding, water level, origin of water, how often the problem occurs, etc.