Part of the natural charm of the Puget Sound and Federal Way is the vast amount of lakes, streams, and water that surround us. Did you know that Federal Way is home to over 10 lakes and hundreds of stream miles? That’s a lot of water!
Our Water Quality team works hard to maintain the health of our water bodies. Be it sampling for macroinvertebrates to assess stream health, or working with local businesses to incorporate Best Management Practices to stop pollution at the source, we are committed to protecting and improving our water quality every day. We also ensure that the City fulfills the NPDES Western Washington Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit requirements. This includes following up on reports of illicit discharges, working with residents and businesses to keep only rain down the drain, providing water quality technical assistance, and collaborating with agencies, cities and counties across Puget Sound to address regional water quality issues.
Collecting samples of macro-invertebrates is one way the City monitors the health of our creeks and streams. Macro-invertebrates are bugs without backbones, which are big enough to be seen with the naked eye. Macro-invertebrates are an indicator of stream health, because different types can survive in different water conditions. Some types can survive in polluted waters, while others cannot. By identifying and counting the types of macros found in our local creeks and streams, we can get a picture of how healthy or polluted our waterways are.
Caddis fly larva (left) and stonefly nymphs (right) are macro-invertebrates which are both sensitive to pollution and are only found in healthy waters.