Public Utilities - Flood Control - Stormwater

Welcome to Flood Control, Stormwater, and Streamwater Quality

Flood Control, Stormwater Management, and Streamwater Quality

Improvements and sustainment of good upstream and downstream water quality and volume management practices forwards our goals for resiliency and public safety. Public Utilities is committed to addressing our stream and stormwater quality and to reducing the risk of damage by floods through three inter-connected programs: flood control, stormwater management, and streamwater quality management. Though each of these areas has its specific regulatory, policy, or engineering aspects, their nexus is the stewardship of our water resources.

Flood Control

Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities (Public Utilities) is responsible for flood control within the city's boundaries, and we work in partnership with county and federal agencies to reduce risk of flood events. Public Utilities takes a two-pronged approach to helping residents and business owners by working to prevent or reduce the risk of damage from floods, and two, by working closely with other agencies to ensure that the community has all the information and assistance needed in the event of a flood. This is accomplished in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which identifies and designates floodzones, and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which offers flood insurance to home or business owners located in FEMA Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). 
The Utility can help you determine if your property is in a flood zone, help you understand the federal rules and regulations regarding developed properties within floodzones, and help with options regarding development in a floodzone. We also will work with consulting licensed professionals to assist in any remapping or flood control measure that may reduce the risk of flood damage. In addition to the FEMA areas, the Utility helps address local flooding issues due to rain storms, snowmelt, or groundwater, through our stormwater management program to minimize damage or accident related to flooding.
The community can help by reporting localized flooding problems, so that action may be taken to avoid or reduce future problems. Call 801-483-6700 to report problems.

For an Interactive Map of Flood Zones in your Area (LINK) The FEMA Map Service Center where you can search the Flood Insurance Rate Maps to determine flooding hazards and FEMAs floodzone determination. (LINK) Citizen portal for FEMA with excellent resources regarding floodzones, insurance, and how the remapping process works.
Emergency Management and Assistance (LINK) The FEMA website for the regulations regarding Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs). Sections 60.1 through 60.3 are the general areas of interest. Note that SLC Code (Chp 18.68) does not allow the Variances as discussed in Section 60.6. (LINK) Link to SLC code. Refer to Chapter 18.68 for Floodplain regulations. Note that specifics in the City code may trump the general regulations found in the federal code. While the City code may have requirements more stringent, it may not be more lenient than the federal code. As a general rule, the code which is more strict will govern. (LINK) Link to Salt Lake County Flood Control.
Any questions regarding flood control should be directed to Jason Draper or 801-483-6751
Any questions regarding MS4 permit should be directed to Greg Archuleta  or 801-483-6821. 

Stormwater Manager

Storm Water Management Plan SWMP

SLC MS4 Permit "UTS000002"

SLC Storm Water Ordinance

2015 Storm Water Annual Report

Storm Drains: Do you know where the water (and any debris) goes?

Storm Water Training Videos

Link to Salt Lake Stormwater Coalition site
2010 Public Service Announcement
2005 Public Service Announcement
2004 Public Service Announcement

Effective stormwater management serves multiple functions. It can reduce the risk of localized flooding; improve water quality in surface streams and lakes; and provide a source of secondary water. Public Utilities constructs and manages an intricate storm drain system throughout the City. The Department strives to maintain all inlets in functioning order and prevent contamination due to unclean discharges to the storm drain. A storm drain master plan is in place to construct additions to the storm drain system to enhance the ability to safely convey storm water away from residents and business owners.

Stormwater run-off occurs when water from rain, snowmelt, or sprinklers flows over the ground. Hard surfaces such as driveways, streets, and sidewalks prevent the stormwater from soaking into the ground. Stormwater run-off picks up trash, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants which are then carried in the gutter into the stormdrain system, and then into our streams, rivers, and lakes. Another problem comes when gutters and stormdrain inlets become clogged with trash, leaves, and other garden debris. This can result in localized flooding.

There is much that we can all do as individuals and home owners to improve stormwater run-off quality and to reduce debris in the stormdrain system. Follow these simple steps to help improve stormwater quality and to lessen the chance of localized flooding:
• Use fertilizers sparingly and sweep up driveways, sidewalks and gutters
• Never dump anything down storm drains or in streams
• Compost your yard waste
• Clean trash and debris out of the curb area
• Use least toxic pesticides, follow labels, and learn how to prevent pest problems without pesticides
• Direct downspouts away from paved surfaces; consider directing it towards your garden
• Take your car to the car wash instead of washing it in the driveway
• Check your car for leaks and recycle your automotive fluids
• Clean up after your pet
For more information, please follow the link to Rain and Snow; Where does it Go? [provide link to brochure] Any questions regarding the City’s storm drain system should be directed to Bernard Mo or 801-483-6735.

Streamwater Quality

The Wasatch Front feeds seven beautiful, natural streams into the valley. Of those streams, four—Little Cottonwood, Big Cottonwood, Parleys, and City Creek—are used for drinking water supply. Emigration, Red Butte, and Millcreek are not currently being used for drinking water. The quality of the water in these streams is critical to maintaining the quality of life in the valley.

Several regulatory groups—the Forest Service, State DDEQ, Salt Lake Valley Health, and Salt Lake City—have cooperatively protected the streams by developing rules and regulations for their use and for the use of the property that drains to them, the watershed. Our diligence in protecting this resource has made it possible to provide high quality drinking water at an affordable price to the community. Avoiding pollution in these streams makes treatment more cost effective and helps to assure consistent drinking water quality. It is easier and less expensive to keep the water clean than it is to remove contaminants.

The streams below the treatment plants that flow through the City have many benefits for the community and for the wildlife that inhabit them. Recognizing this long overlooked resource led to the development of the Riparian Corridor Overlay Ordinance 21A.34.130. This ordinance recommends practices that will protect the streams, their value to the community, and the natural habitat. The stream riparian corridors provide a habitat for fish, birds, and mammals. They shade and cool the water in the stream, improving aesthetics and providing recreational opportunities. They limit flood damage and provide connectivity for wildlife. The riparian corridors filter sediment and pollutants from runoff, and stabilize the stream bank. The City recognizes the great community value of these corridors and through the development of the ordinance hope to retain the remaining open segments.

Another aspect of stream protection is the Riparian Corridor Study (Link) , initiated in 2008. In conjunction with the Riparian Corridor Overlay Ordinance, the City Council allocated funding for an intensive scientific study of the inner-city stream corridors of City, Red Butte, Emigration, and Parleys Creeks. Public Utilities is directed to manage the study and facilitate the public processes related to the multi-year study.

The streams in the watershed are also of critical importance, and the “Keep it Pure” campaign helps educated visitors to our critical watersheds of good stewardship practices. There are rules that are important to know when you are recreating in the watershed; for more information, visit “Keep it Pure.”

We need you to be a partner with us to ensure that our streams remain as clean and viable as possible, from the mountains and watersheds, to the creeks that run through our neighborhoods, to the Jordan River and the Great Salt Lake. Please visit or the Riparian Corridor Study Report to learn how you can help.