Chapter 13.35


13.35.010    Purpose – Findings.

13.35.015    Definitions.

13.35.020    Potential hazard declared.

13.35.030    Surface water management utility created – Responsibilities.

13.35.040    Property transferred to utility.

13.35.050    Utility administered by public works director.

13.35.060    System of rates and charges.

13.35.070    Utility charges.

13.35.080    Billing and collection.

13.35.090    Repealed.

13.35.100    Surface water utility account.

13.35.110    Appeal of charges.

13.35.900    Severability.

13.35.010 Purpose – Findings.

The city finds and declares:

A. All real property in the city contributes runoff to the common surface water problem, and all real property in the city benefits from the surface water utility of the city.

B. The development of real property, as measured by the square footage of impervious surface area, is an appropriate basis for the determination of an individual parcel’s contribution to the problem of surface water runoff.

C. The establishment of the surface water utility is necessary to avoid and abate public nuisances. (Ord. 2045 § 4, 1995; Ord. 1813 § 1, 1991)

13.35.015 Definitions.

Terms used in this title shall have the meaning given to them in this chapter except where otherwise defined, and unless where used the context thereof shall clearly indicate to the contrary. Words and phrases used herein in the past, present or future tense shall include the past, present and future tenses; words and phrases used herein in the masculine, feminine and neuter genders; and words and phrases used herein in the singular or plural shall include the singular and plural; unless the context shall indicate to the contrary.

A. “City” means the city of Lynnwood, a municipality, and its authorized employees.

B. “Council” means the city council of Lynnwood.

C. “Customer” means a person in whose name service is rendered as evidenced by the signature on the application or contract for that service or, in the absence of a signed instrument, by the receipt and payment of bills regularly issued in his/her/its name regardless of the identity of the actual user of the service.

D. “Developed site” means any site which has been altered by grading or filling of the ground surface, or by construction of any improvement or other impervious surface area.

E. “Equivalent residential unit (ERU)” means 2,900 square feet comprised of a configuration of development, or impervious surfaces on a site, estimated to contribute an amount of runoff to the city’s storm and surface water drainage system which is approximately equal to that created by the average single-family residential site.

F. “Impervious surface” means that hard surface area which either prevents or retards the entry of water into the soil mantle and/or causes water to run off the surface in greater quantities or at an increased rate of flow from that present under natural conditions. Impervious surfaces may include, but are not limited to, rooftops, concrete or asphalt paving, walkways, patios, driveways, parking lots or storage areas, and oiled, macadam or other surfaces which similarly impede the natural infiltration or runoff of surface water.

G. “Single-family residential site” means any site which is improved with a dwelling unit for occupancy by one or two families or similar groups of people. A single-family residential site also may be an individual dwelling, mobile home, flat or unit in a multifamily building or portion thereof for occupancy as the home, residence or sleeping place for one or more person, provided each such dwelling, mobile home, flat or unit is owned separately and is served by a separate water meter.

H. “Site” means a geographic area which may or may not have impervious surfaces that serves a single, common use, including, but not limited to, single-family residences, multifamily residences, commercial establishments, shopping malls, condominiums, and office or industrial parks and other types of facilities. A site may include impervious area on one or more parcels and/or multiple water meters or sewer services.

I. “Surface water utility” or “utility” means that part of any system which collects, conveys or stores storm water runoff, surface waters or ground water or any combination thereof in which the city has an ownership interest. Surface water utility shall include, but not be limited to, streams, pipelines, channels, ditches, swamps, lakes, wetlands, infiltration systems, retention/detention facilities, and other drainage structures, both natural and manmade. The term specifically does not mean that part of any surface water system that is located on private property or easements in which the city has no ownership interest.

J. “Undeveloped site” means any site which has not been altered by grading or filling of the ground surface, or by construction of any improvements or other impervious surface area. (Ord. 3026 § 1, 2013; Ord. 2657 § 1, 2006; Ord. 1853 § 1, 1991)

13.35.020 Potential hazard declared.

The city finds and declares that absent effective maintenance, operation, improvement, regulation and control, existing surface water drainage conditions in all drainage basins within the city constitute a potential hazard to the health, safety and general welfare of the city. The city council further finds that natural and manmade surface water facilities and conveyances together constitute a surface water drainage system and that effective regulation and control of surface water through formation, by the city, of a surface water utility requires the transfer to the utility of all surface water facilities and conveyances and related rights belonging to the city. (Ord. 1813 § 1, 1991)

13.35.030 Surface water management utility created – Responsibilities.

There is hereby created and established pursuant to Chapter 35A.80 and 35.67 RCW, and Article 11, Section 11 of the Washington State Constitution, a surface water utility. All references to “the utility” in this chapter refer to the surface water utility. The utility will have authority and responsibility for planning design, construction, maintenance, administration and operation of all city surface water conveyances and facilities. (Ord. 1813 § 1, 1991)

13.35.040 Property transferred to utility.

Title and all other incidents of ownership of the following assets are hereby transferred to and vested in the utility; all properties, interests and physical and intangible rights of every nature owned or held by the city, however acquired, insofar as they relate to or concern surface water, further including, without limitation, all properties, interests, and rights acquired by adverse possession or by prescription, directly or through another, in and to the drainage or storage, or both, of surface water, through, under, or over lands, watercourse, sloughs, streams, ponds, lakes, and swamps, all beginning in each instance at a point where surface water runoff first enters the system of the city and ending in each instance at a point where the surface water runoff exits from the system of the city, and in width to the full extent of inundation caused by storm or flood conditions. (Ord. 1813 § 1, 1991)

13.35.050 Utility administered by public works director.

The utility shall be administered by the public works director or his/her designate. (Ord. 1813 § 1, 1991)

13.35.060 System of rates and charges.

There is hereby imposed a system of rates and charges on each site of real property within the city served by or to which is available for service the utility established by this chapter. The rates and charges are found to be reasonable and necessary to fund the current administration, planning, design, construction, water quality programming, operation, maintenance and repair of storm and surface water utility facilities; provided, however, that the city reserves the right to fix, alter, regulate and control these rates and charges. (Ord. 1853 § 2, 1991)

13.35.070 Utility charges.

The following surface water utility rates and charges are hereby established for all sites in the city as set forth in Tables 1 and 2 of this section. These rates and charges shall be in effect and assessed in all billings beginning January 1st of each year.

A. Residential Single/Duplex Unit. One ERU bimonthly for each single-family residential unit on a site. This uniform rate is based on each single-family residential site being equal to one equivalent residential unit (ERU). Each duplex on a site shall be charged one ERU.

B. Undeveloped Sites. Undeveloped sites shall not be charged under this system and structure of rates.

C. Other Sites. The charge for all other developed sites shall be based upon the total amount of measured impervious surface divided by one ERU, and rounded down to the nearest whole number. The actual total bimonthly service charge shall be computed by multiplying the measured ERUs for a site by the bimonthly rate per ERU. All sites will be charged for at least one ERU. Sites will be billed as a single-surface water account when a site contains multiple water meters and/or businesses on a site. Owners/managers will be responsible for any allocation of the surface water charge among tenants.

D. Special Surface Water Rate.

1. For qualifications, categories and other administrative rules related to special surface water rates, see LMC 13.20.080.

Table 1: Customer Class Calculation 

Customer Class

Rate Calculation

Residential Single/Duplex Unit


Residential Multiple/Commercial Industrial Sites

Measured s.f. of impervious areas = number of billed ERUs

Special Surface Water Rates

1 ERU x Special Rate


Table 2: Surface Water Rates 

Customer Class

2020 Bimonthly Rate

2021 Bimonthly Rate

2022 Bimonthly Rate

2023 Bimonthly Rate

2024 Bimonthly Rate

2025 Bimonthly Rate

Residential Single/Duplex Unit







Residential Multifamily and Mobile







Commercial Industrial Sites







Special Surface Water Rate, Income Level Status A*







Special Surface Water Rate, Income Level Status B*







Special Surface Water Rate, Income Level Status C*







* or as calculated for units in a complex.

2. Preservation Mobile Home Park Rate. For mobile home parks that are preserved pursuant to a development agreement in accordance with Chapter 21.29 LMC, as follows:

a. Preservation for five to seven years: one-half ERU.

b. Preservation for seven years or more: one-quarter ERU. (Ord. 3345 § 3, 2019; Ord. 3223 § 6, 2016; Ord. 3026 § 2, 2013; Ord. 2846 § 1, 2010; Ord. 2723 § 4, 2008; Ord. 2686 § 1, 2007; Ord. 2657 § 2, 2006; Ord. 1853 § 3, 1991)

13.35.080 Billing and collection.

Utility rates and charges for each site of developed real property within the city shall be computed at least every two months. The amount to be billed shall be included on the existing utilities bill as a separate line item. A “surface water only” bill will be sent to commercial property owners who are not current city water/sewer utility customers. The city shall bill the owner of the served property for the payment of utility rates and charges specified in this chapter; however, the city, in its sole discretion, may bill the tenant or his agent, if requested, and if consistent with current utilities billing practices. This shall not relieve the owner from final liability for utility rates and charges.

For utility billing procedures that also apply, see LMC 13.34.030 through 13.34.080. (Ord. 3026 § 3, 2013; Ord. 1853 § 4, 1991)

13.35.090 Penalties for nonpayment of bills.

Repealed by Ord. 3026. (Ord. 1853 § 5, 1991)

13.35.100 Surface water utility account.

All money collected through utility rates and charges shall be deposited in the surface water utility account or separate fund within the public works department as established and maintained by the city. (Ord. 1853 § 6, 1991)

13.35.110 Appeal of charges.

A. Any customer making a timely payment of the city’s total utilities bill who considers the city’s surface water utility charge applied to their site to be inaccurate or who otherwise disagrees with the utility rate determination, may apply to the public works director for adjustment of said charges, stating in writing the grounds for such an appeal. The director will review the matter and determine whether an adjustment to the charge is necessary to provide for reasonable and equitable application of the utility rates and charges.

B. Appeals of decisions made by the public works director may be brought before the city council who may direct the re-evaluation of the appeal.

C. Any appeal under this chapter shall be filed with the city clerk’s office no later than 20 days after billing. Any subsequent appeal shall be brought within 20 days of the date of the appealed decision.

D. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to grant a right to judicial review which does not otherwise exist in law. In all cases, the decision of the city council shall be final and conclusive. (Ord. 1853 § 7, 1991)

13.35.900 Severability.

If any section, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter should be held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect the validity or constitutionality of any other section, sentence, clause or phrase of this chapter. (Ord. 1853 § 8, 1991)