Using This Website

This website provides coastal property owners with general information concerning the management of water on coastal slopes. The site introduces the relationships between coastal geology, water, and slope stability. General criteria for evaluating site drainage and potential drainage control techniques are presented within. The information presented can guide a successful drainage control program specific to a coastal slope area.

This website is the third in a series of Washington Department of Ecology sites focusing on specific slope management practices for Puget Sound coastal property owners. Other online documents in the series are entitled Slope Stabilization and Erosion Control and Managing Vegetation on Coastal Slopes.

The Ecology property owner website series presents a range of slope maintenance techniques designed to prevent accelerated erosion and landslide failures along Puget Sound coastlines. Each property owner may use the series differently to assist in their unique slope management needs and decision making.

An informed and coordinated approach to site planning, drainage control techniques, low-impact slope stabilization, and vegetation management around your slope can help you avoid many of the typical slope failure scenarios repeated along Puget Sound waterways. Additionally, when you generally understand your plans and goals, you can communicate your issues to other individuals or to a local permitting agency.

A note about navigation:

In translating the original texts for the web, we have been able to add some navigational features which you may find useful. First, the links located at the bottom of each page allow you to browse through the pages in order. Second, the vertical menu at left is present in each page, and gives you quick access to each section of the site. Finally, sections within each page of the website can either be read in order, or reached via hyperlink from the beginning of each page. It is our hope that these features will make finding the information you need as convenient as possible.

Coastal Land Owners

Property owners can use this website to help plan drainage control improvements for their property. Readers can use this information to effectively communicate their goals to a contractor and participate in the design, construction, and maintenance of their system. This information may also help readers avoid some of the common pitfalls of drainage control practices along coastal slopes.

For problematic sites, you should seek professional assistance. This online document contains basic water management information necessary to make initial site evaluations and reasonable improvements to site drainage. Information presented here should be used with other applicable resources.


Contractors should find some of the subjects in this website useful in presenting information on drainage control to property owners who are unfamiliar with different approaches to drainage problems. Techniques and practices presented herein should help emphasize to property owners the need to maintain at least minimum installation and material standards to achieve successful performance from a drainage system.

Real Estate Agents

Real estate professionals can use this website to address some typical questions of potential property purchasers when they visit coastal properties and are uncertain about slope drainage. Clients who are new to coastal slopes may be interested in the general drainage control approaches for their property.

Governmental Permit Agencies

Agencies that review permit requests or inspect construction projects should find this website helpful in assessing proposed or installed structures that may affect the stability of private properties or public resources. Some traditional upland drainage control techniques can be ineffective and may contribute to the slope stability problems of coastal properties.

Consequently, many stability and erosion control problems could be avoided if guidance is made available to landowners and contractors.

Professional Assistance

To locate technical experts such as experienced registered engineers specializing in geotechnical and/or drainage projects, use local telephone directories or call the Seattle or Kitsap branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) for membership references. The ASCE branches serve both sides of Puget Sound.

Additionally, some local public works offices maintain lists of engineering design professionals that practice in your area. When hiring any professional, you should get information on their qualifications and experience in specific technical areas.

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