Storm Water Quality

About Us

Our Mission

Storm Water Quality Division’s (SWQ) mission is to empower and provide guidance on minimizing our impact on water quality in order to protect public health and the environment. SWQ works with City departments as well as public businesses, agencies, and individuals to foster shared responsibility for protection of our wai (water).

The water that enters the City’s drainage system directly impacts the health of our island because it flows untreated to our natural waterways and ocean.

Here is an overview of the City Storm Water Quality Program.

volunteer clean up

What We Do

A typical year of storm water quality work looks like:

  • 4,000 green storm water infrastructure features maintained
  • 2,000 construction projects inspected
  • 400 consultations with O‘ahu businesses
  • 300 enforcement actions taken
  • 50 volunteer clean-up events hosted with 1,000+ volunteers

Visit Our Storm Water System webpage to learn more about the complexity of the City’s storm water system.

Wet parking lot.

Storm Water Program

The Department of Facility Maintenance Storm Water Quality Division is one of 11 City and County of Honolulu Departments that are part of the City’s Storm Water Program. Each department has different responsibilities that contribute to managing our island’s storm water.

The diagram below highlights the key responsibilities of each department. The PDF can be downloaded here.

Storm Water Program Org Chart

Regulatory Compliance

Several agencies oversee or manage storm water programs.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administers National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permits under the Clean Water Act. Visit the EPA website to learn more.
Link to the EPA webpage.

In the State of Hawai‘i, the Department of Health (DOH) has been authorized by the EPA to issue NPDES Permits. Visit the DOH website to learn more.
Link to the DOH Clean Water Branch webpage. 

The State of Hawai‘i Department of Transportation (DOT) is responsible for managing the storm water systems of our State airports, harbors, and highways. For information on their program, visit the DOT website, below.
Link to the DOT Storm Water webpage.

EPA, Protect Our Water, State of Hawai‘i, and State of Hawai‘i, Department of Health logos.

City Storm Water Management Program Plan

The Storm Water Management Program Plan (SWMPP) is a requirement of the City’s National Pollutant Discharge and Elimination System (NPDES) Storm Water Permit No. HI S000002 and outlines steps the City will enact to reduce the discharge of stormwater pollutants into State of Hawai‘i receiving waters. To access the Storm Water Management Program Plan document and appendices, click here.

For an overview of the Storm Water Management Program Plan components, click here.

Storm Water Strategic Plan

The City and County of Honolulu Storm Water Quality Division recently published its first-ever Storm Water Strategic Plan (2023-2028). The new Strategic Plan guides the Storm Water Program with a long-term vision and mission for the next 50 years and a set of short-term goals and strategies. Download the plan. The idea to formalize the Storm Water Program’s vision originated during the 2019 outreach process for the proposed Storm Water Utility Fee. At nearly every one of the island-wide community meetings attendees asked “what’s the plan?” An extensive public input process in 2021 provided important direction on community needs and wants regarding storm water management. Storm Water Program staff provided additional input to shape the overall direction of the Strategic Plan. Every five years the Strategic Plan will be updated as part of the adaptive management process already in use by the Storm Water Program.

Visit the Storm Water Strategic Plan webpage for more info.

Storm Water Strategic Plan 2023-2028 Cover


In 2021 the Water Environment Federation (WEF) Stormwater Institute awarded the City and County of Honolulu Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Program with a gold award recognizing its excellence in Program Management and a silver award for innovation.

WEF Awards & Recognition

Learn more about the award categories and past award winners.

WEF Awards

2021 Awards

The Storm Water Quality staff celebrate receiving the WEF Award in 2021.
The Storm Water Quality staff celebrate receiving the WEF Award in 2021.
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