Downspouts convey rainwater from roofs to the ground, a splash block, to a piped underground system where it infiltrates or soaks into the ground or to a stormwater or sanitary sewer system. Many homes in Bremerton had their downspouts connected to the sanitary sewer system which added too much stormwater to the sanitary sewer system and caused combined sewer overflows or CSOs. This was not the only cause but the amount of water added to the sanitary system was a significant problem.
Municipal Code - Downspouts
Bremerton Municipal Code (BMC) was updated in 2001, and required disconnection of downspouts from the sanitary sewer system. Stormwater connections to the wastewater system are prohibited, as of January 1, 2005 (BMC 15.04.200). A property that maintains a stormwater connection after January 1, 2005, is charged a fee for the connection pursuant to BMC 15.06.050(b), Rates - Stormwater. This will show up as "SW Facility Impact" on the utility bill. Properties that keep downspout connection to the sanitary sewer are charged for that service to cover the cost of pumping and treating stormwater at the wastewater treatment plant. If a property has a driveway drain connected to the sanitary sewer, the fee appears with the same name but should be 50% of the "Stormwater" fee. Call 360-473-5920 if you have questions.
Animated videos were developed to show how a combined sewer system works and shows how a simple downspout can affect the sanitary sewer system. View these Combined Sewer System videos.
Bremerton provides free site assessment and technical assistance to property owners interested in separating their downspouts from the sanitary sewer system.
The site assessment includes:
Site assessments to determine the property's needs for separation
A separation plan and list of materials needed to complete the separation
Follow up inspection to document the changes
Discussion on why control of stormwater is so important to the property