Setting Soil Standards in King County, Washington, with the Future in Mind


King County in Washington state stretches east from the shores of central Puget Sound, at Seattle, to the crest of the Cascade Range. In an article published in the January/February issue of Stormwater Magazine, Kris Beatty of the King County Solid Waste Division elaborates on why and how King County became one of the first jurisdictions in the United States to adopt and implement a post-construction soil standard. Its regulation went into effect January 1, 2005.

“Preserving native soils is our highest priority, but in cases where soils have been disturbed during development, amending the soil helps reestablish the natural conditions that are lost,” says Randy Sandin, supervisor for King County Department of Development and Environmental Services (DDES) Land Use Services Division.

The catalyst for action was the 1998 “Salmon in the City” conference. This was followed by “Soils for Salmon”, a program of the Washington Organic Recycling Council.

According to Kris Beatty, King County’s post-construction soil standard has changed the way developers plan and develop a site in unincorporated parts of the county. The new regulation requires a series of steps—from permitting to field verification.

“As experiences are shared with other jurisdictions, King County staff have had the opportunity to evaluate what has worked well and what could be used to make the process smoother.” writes Kris Beatty. “Either way, the lessons learned seem to center on collaboration and understanding.”



Before STORMWATER, The Journal for Surface Water Quality Professionals, there was no single publication written specifically for  the professional involved with surface water quality issues, protection, projects, and programs.


Posted September 2008