Storm Drain Outfall Inspections Get Underway

Drain Pipe Outfall - Inside looking Out

DPW will start 2020 storm drain outfall inspections this week and continue throughout May and June 2020. Personnel from the Bellingham Department of Public Works and a hired consultant, Tighe & Bond, will be visiting stormwater outfall pipes throughout town. 

“Outfalls” are the end of the pipe where municipal drainage flows into nearby water bodies, wetlands, or low-lying areas.  These inspections are part of Bellingham’s Stormwater Management Program to meet Clean Water Act requirements and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit requirements.

This inspection cycle is intended to be the “DRY” inspection.  Generally, no water should be flowing out of a drain pipe when it is not raining or has not rained recently.  At times of elevated groundwater levels, clean ground water may be in the pipes too.   The only things that should be in a “drain pipe” should be storm run off or clean ground water.  The inspections primary goal is to determine if anything other than storm run off or ground water is entering our drainage system; therefore, being discharged to the wetlands, brooks, streams, rivers, ponds and lakes.

Please don’t think you need to wait for us to inspect.  If you notice liquid coming out of a drain pipe that does not look or smell right, call us right away at 508-966-5813. 

Our inspection team will consist of 2 to 3 people wearing safety vests and carrying handheld equipment.  In addition to a DPW utility vehicle, there will be the personal vehicle of the Tighe & Bond inspector in order to maintain distancing during travel. That unmarked vehicle will have signs in the windshield indicating that the car is associated with a consultant supporting the Department of Public Works. 

The work will be performed primarily off the roadway where the stormwater pipes discharge to wetlands, streams, or wooded areas. Work may include opening manhole structures within the street.

This Work will occur during normal DPW hours (7:00 AM to 3:00 PM) and will start in the southern end of town.

Due to the current climate of social distancing, to keep both you and our staff safe, it would be best if residents do not approach inspection team personnel.  Any questions should be called into the DPW at (508) 966–5813.