SWM Utility Charges
Surface Water Management (SWM) is a utility that provides essential services in unincorporated Snohomish County. These services are funded by annual SWM utility charges paid by property owners in unincorporated Snohomish County. SWM partners with the community to reduce flood damage and to protect and enhance our water resources for future generations by providing customers with services in four core areas:
Your Dollars at Work
- drainage and road flooding,
- water quality,
- salmon and marine habitat, and
- river flooding.
Property owners help pay for solutions because each property contributes runoff to local ditches, streams, or groundwater, and SWM is responsible for managing many of the downstream surface water systems. The utility charges are based on the contribution of each property to downstream runoff, not the potential benefit to the property.
Homeowners and owners of property in the SWM Utility District with houses, businesses, parking lots or other impervious additions pay the utility charge. A single-family home is billed an annual $90 base utility charge. Owners of single-family residences pay a flat utility charge, whereas owners of apartments, businesses, and commercial structures are charged a rate based on the amount of impervious surfaces* on their properties.
Who pays SWM utility charges?
* Impervious surfaces are hard surfaced areas that prevent or delay the entry of water into the soil, or cause water to run off faster than under natural conditions. Common impervious surfaces include rooftops, sidewalks, pavement, patios, driveways, parking lots, gravel, and other surfaces that impede the natural infiltration or runoff of surface water.
Surcharges may apply to parcels near lakes and in designated urban growth areas.
Exemptions and reductions may be available.
Rate categories include: single-family residences, condominiums, farms, commercial and non-residential properties. For a complete list of rate categories and charges, see Snohomish County Code 25.20.020.
SWM utility billing
SWM utility charges appear as a line item in a customer's annual property tax bill -- listed as "Surface Water Management Principal" under Special Assessments. See example* below:
* The above example is for a single-family residential property located in an urban growth area (UGA) and reflects a surcharge.
Contact us to learn moreBilling questions? Email Lisa.Souza@snoco.org or call (425) 388-6474.
Refunds and appeals require an appeal form be submitted by April 30. Documentation** or a site inspection of the property may be required. To appeal billing charges, complete this form Appeal Surface Water Management billing and mail to:
Snohomish County Surface Water Management
Attn: Utility Billing Assistant - Appeal
3000 Rockefeller Ave M/S 607
Everett, WA 98201
**If not providing As-Built documentation, the completed form can be sent via email to: Lisa.Souza@snoco.org