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Information for Shoreline

Q: Why did my surface water management (SWM) fees increase this year?

Surface water management fee rates are set as part of the City’s budget. On November 20, 2017, the City Council approved the 2018 rates based on the recommendation from the 2018 Surface Water Master Plan Update. The 2018 rate increase is required to fund new projects and enhanced programs to better manage flooding, reduce environmental pollution, and meet updated regulatory requirements. For a single-family home, the 2018 rate is $18 per month, reflecting an increase of $45 annually. The table below shows Shoreline’s past and projected SWM fees from 2015-2023 for single-family properties. For more information, visit the Surface Water Master Plan Update webpage.

SWM Rate Single Family 2015-2023

Q: What do my SWM fees pay for?

SWM fees fund maintenance and expansion of the public drainage system, as well as programs and activities designed to limit pollution and comply with environmental regulations. Some of these projects include construction of ponds and dams that handle runoff from large areas of the city. Others are small projects like drains, pipes, and rain gardens that help improve drainage in local neighborhoods. SWM fees also fund maintenance programs like street sweeping, clearing and improving ditches, and pipe repair to ensure water keeps flowing and does not pose a risk to public infrastructure, private property or the environment. For more information, visit the Surface Water Utility webpage.

Q: How are rates calculated?

SWM fee rates vary by the type of property and the amount of "hard surfaces" they contain. Single-family homes and properties covered with less than 10% hard surfaces pay $214.39 per year ($18/mo). All other parcel types pay on a per acre basis using a sliding rate based on the amount of hard surface. If you own more than one property in Shoreline, you will pay SWM fees for each property. The table below shows how rates are calculated.

Rate Category

Percent Hard Surface

2018 Annual SWM Fee (includes all taxes)

1. Single-Family Home



Per parcel

2. Very Light

Less than or equal to 10%


Per parcel

3. Light

More than 10%, less than or equal to 20%


Per acre

4. Moderate

More than 20%, less than or equal to 45%



Per acre

5. Moderately Heavy

More than 45%, less than or equal to 65%


Per acre

6. Heavy

More than 65%, less than or equal to 85%


Per acre

7. Very heavy

More than 85%, less than or equal to 100%


Per acre

Minimum Rate



Per parcel

View the full
SWM Rate Table.

Q: How do I pay my SWM fees?

The City contracts with King County to collect SWM fees at the same time as property taxes. King County collects property taxes and SWM fees in two installments on April 30 and October 31. For more information about property taxes and to pay your taxes online, visit the King County Department of Assessments webpage

Q: Are there any discounts available?

While discounts are not available for SWM fees, low-income and senior residents can apply for discounts from other utility providers such as electricity, sewer, and solid waste. For more information about these discounts, visit the utility assistance programs webpage.

The Surface Water Utility also provides rebates of up to $1,600 to property owners in Shoreline who install rain gardens or native vegetation landscaping on their developed properties. For more information, visit the Soak It Up Rebate Program webpage.

Q: I feel my bill is incorrect, may I have my bill adjusted?

Any person receiving a bill may file a request for a rate adjustment within two years of the billing date. (Filing a request will not extend the payment period). Property owners should file a request for a change in the rate assessed if:

  1. The property acreage is incorrect;
  2. The measured hard surface is incorrect;
  3. The property is charged a sliding fee when the fee should be flat;
  4. The property is wholly or in part outside of the service area.

Q: Why is gravel considered a hard surface?

Packed gravel prevents water from seeping into the soil. Scientific studies show that once gravel is compacted, for example, from cars or heavy equipment, the gravel acts like paved surfaces and surface water runs off it in greater quantities than if natural soil conditions existed.

Q: How do I report flooding or spills in my neighborhood?

Spills are a major source of pollution and should be reported as soon as possible. Our Customer Response Team can be reached 24/7 at (206) 801-2700 and is equipped to respond to spills.

Report street flooding online or call the Customer Response Team at (206) 801-2700. The Utility values input from residents and uses this information to prioritize small drainage improvement projects installed around the city each year.