What is stormwater?

Stormwater is rain and snow melt that runs off of impervious surfaces such as rooftops, paved streets, highways, and parking lots. As it runs off, it picks up pollution like oil, fertilizers, pesticides, soil, trash, and pet waste. In Mountlake Terrace, stormwater is not treated when it goes into a storm drain. It flows downstream directly into streams and lakes. Stormwater runoff is the leading threat to Washington’s urban waters, streambeds, banks, and habitats.  To learn more about stormwater watch the video below!  

To learn how you can improve stormwater in Mountlake Terrace visit our webpage How You Can Get Involved.

To learn more about green stormwater techniques that help clean water and reduce flooding, visit our Low Impact Development page. 

Storm drain outlet in creek

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Contact Us
Laura Reed

Stormwater Program Manager
Email, Phone: 425-744-6226

Where does the stormwater go?

In Mountlake Terrace all stormwater is either soaked into the ground, managed on a property, or flows through one of our four watersheds. 

A watershed is an area of land that collects water and drains or “sheds” to a common waterbody. Smaller watersheds flow into larger watersheds or larger waterbodies such as the Puget Sound. In Mountlake Terrace, there are several small watersheds that outlet into Lake Ballinger and Lake Washington.  

To find out more about each of the watersheds in Mountlake Terrace visit our Creeks and Lakes in Mountlake Terrace webpage.


Did you know?  

Mountlake Terrace was one of the first cities in the Puget Sound region to incorporate stormwater activities as part of a combined Utility Fund in the mid 1960s. The Stormwater Division works to protect water quality, enhance habitat, control flooding, and comply with state and federal requirements. Activities include managing the stormwater comprehensive facility maintenance plan, public education and outreach, site inspection to ensure proper maintenance of stormwater facilities, identification and control of pollutant discharges to the stormwater system, and spill cleanup response.

To learn more about the work that we do, visit our Stormwater Services webpage. 

Stormwater Utility Expenditures

  • 66% of expenditures in the stormwater utility covers system operations and maintenance
  • 12% goes toward regulatory compliance (partially funded by a grant from Ecology) 
  • 12% pays for engineering support for storm projects, street sweeping, and other professional services
  • 10% = taxes

Stormwater Rate Study

The city's 2018 Stormwater Comprehensive Plan was approved in early 2019. This analysis found a significant gap between required and existing revenue, and recommended a stormwater rate study. An updated plan will be prepared for 2024.

An ordinance establishing revised stormwater codes, rates, capital facilities charges, and credits for 2020-2025 was adopted by City Council in November 2019.

Find the Sewer and Stormwater utility rate ordinance here.

Lake Ballinger Swimming Beach Testing

Every week during the summer months, city staff test the water in Lake Ballinger to ensure bacteria levels are safe for swimming. 

Visit the Lake Ballinger page to view summer 2023 sample results.

Lake Ballinger Water Sample

Keeping Watersheds Healthy in Mountlake Terrace

To learn more about the health of your favorite creek or lake in Mountlake Terrace, watch the video recording of the Mountlake Terrace watershed discussion presentation from May 19, 2022.


MLT watershed webinar flyer

Looking for safe ways to dispose of household toxics?

Avoid polluting our streams and lakes by disposing of toxics and preventing spills.

Resources for Safe Disposal of Toxic Substances:

  • Snohomish County Hazardous Waste
    • Acids, Aerosol Spray Cans, Antifreeze*, Batteries*, Bleach, Brake Fluid, Chemistry Sets, Cooking Oil, Drain Cleaners, Dyes, Fertilizers, Fire Extinguishers*, Flammable Liquids, Floor Wax, Fluorescent Tubes/Bulbs*, Fungicides, Furniture Polish, Road Flares, Gasoline / Diesel, Glues, Herbicides, Hydraulic Fluid, Insecticides, Mildew Removers, Moth Balls, Motor Oil*, Neon Lights, Kerosene & Kerosene-filled Heaters, Lamp Ballasts (unstamped/pre-1975), Lead, Mercury, Oil Filters*, Oven Cleaners, Paint, Varnish or Stains (Oil-based) , Paint, Latex (for a fee), Paint Thinner, Pesticides, Photographic Chemicals, Pool Chemicals, Propane Tanks* (BBQ size or smaller), Rug and Upholstery Cleaners, Shoe or Silver Polish, Smoke Detectors, Solvents, Switches containing Mercury, Tar / Roofing Tar, Thermometers or Thermostats containing Mercury, Transmission Fluid, Ultraviolet Light Tubes, Wood Preservatives, X-Ray Film
    • *These items are also accepted at Recycling and Transfer Stations and Drop Box sites. Some quantity limits or other restrictions may apply
  • Ecycle Washington (electronics)
    Take It Back Network (computers, monitors, TVs, fluorescent light bulbs and tubes)
    Call2Recyle (batteries)
  • Light Recycle (fluorescent light bulbs and tubes)

Click on the image below for more information on where to take chemicals and other materials inappropriate for regular garbage.

Example hazardous waste