ESSB 5324

This analysis was prepared by non-partisan legislative staff for the use of legislative members in their deliberations. This analysis is not a part of the legislation nor does it constitute a statement of legislative intent.

As Reported by House Committee On:

Agriculture & Natural Resources

Title: An act relating to mosquito abatement in storm water control retention ponds.

Brief Description: Concerning mosquito abatement in storm water control retention ponds.

Sponsors: Senate Committee on Energy, Environment & Telecommunications (originally sponsored by Senators Honeyford, Fraser and Ericksen).

Brief History:

Committee Activity:

Agriculture & Natural Resources: 3/21/13, 3/28/13 [DPA].

Brief Summary of Engrossed Substitute Bill

(As Amended by Committee)

  • Requires a county, city, town, water-sewer district, or flood control zone district to construct storm water retention ponds in a manner that minimizes mosquito habitat and propagation.


Majority Report: Do pass as amended. Signed by 15 members: Representatives Blake, Chair; Lytton, Vice Chair; Chandler, Ranking Minority Member; MacEwen, Assistant Ranking Minority Member; Buys, Dunshee, Haigh, Hurst, Kretz, Orcutt, Pettigrew, Schmick, Stanford, Van De Wege and Warnick.

Staff: Cherlyn Walden (786-7296).


Storm water control facilities are engineered facilities that are designed to convey storm runoff, remove pollutants, and to control flow rates. These facilities include pipes, ditches, swales, filters, ponds, underground tanks, and vaults. These systems are specifically designed to capture, treat, store, and then slowly release storm water runoff downstream or into the ground. Cities, towns, counties, and water-sewer districts may construct storm water control facilities to help prevent flooding and erosion and to protect public health, highways, property, and other facilities.

West Nile Virus (WNV) is transmitted to humans and other animals through bites from infected mosquitoes. The WNV is a reportable disease and when discovered in animals or suspected in humans, health care providers and facilities must notify local health jurisdictions within three business days. Local health jurisdictions must report investigations to the Department of Health. The WNV was first detected in Washington in 2002 and the first human case was reported in 2006. In 2009 there were 38 human cases. There have been no reported cases thus far in 2013.

Integrated pest management (IPM) is a coordinated decision-making and action process that uses the most appropriate pest control methods and strategy in an environmentally and economically sound manner to meet programmatic pest control objectives. The Department of Agriculture, the State Noxious Weed Control Board, the Department of Ecology, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Natural Resources, the Department of Corrections, the Department of Enterprise Services, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and each state institution of higher education must each implement integrated pest management practices when carrying out their duties related to pest control. It relies on information about the life-cycles of pests, their interaction with the environment, and using available pest control methods.


Summary of Amended Bill:

A county, city, town, water-sewer district, or flood control zone district must:

When notified of the presence of WNV or other mosquito-borne human diseases, a county, city, town, water-sewer district, or flood control zone district must consult with the Department of Health or a mosquito control district to determine which integrated pest management strategies for mosquito control in storm water retention ponds would be most effective to prevent the spread of the disease. In areas where mosquito control districts are established, the district is responsible for the mosquito abatement.

Amended Bill Compared to Engrossed Substitute Bill:

The amended bill clarifies that maintenance and control of vegetation growth needs to be conducted without compromising the utility of storm water retention ponds.


Appropriation: None.

Fiscal Note: Not requested.

Effective Date of Amended Bill: The bill takes effect 90 days after adjournment of the session in which the bill is passed.

Staff Summary of Public Testimony:

(In support) Mosquito control districts testified before the Joint Taskforce for Junior Taxing Districts about the need for better control over storm water retention ponds to eliminate the breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes spreading the WNV is a major health concern, and this bill provides a way to reduce the chances of mosquitoes breeding and carrying the WNV.

(In support with concerns) Storm water retention ponds are used to infiltrate water down to the ground into aquifers. There is a concern that section 1 subsection (c) could be interpreted to allow the use of herbicides for vegetation management. Clarification is needed to ensure that whatever management tools are being used do not compromise the intended function of a storm water retention pond.

(Opposed) None.

Persons Testifying: (In support) Senator Honeyford, prime sponsor.

(In support with concerns) Bruce Wishart, People for Puget Sound and Pugetsound Keepers.

Persons Signed In To Testify But Not Testifying: None.