What is a Stormwater Utility?
A stormwater utility allows for the implementation of an effective stormwater program, provides a dedicated funding source, funds mandated state and federal programs, provides an equitable fee schedule to implement programs, and frees up general fund revenue currently directed towards stormwater system maintenance for other capital improvements. A stormwater utility operates similarly to an electric, water, or wastewater utility. In general, properties within cities pay for stormwater management services based on the amount of runoff generated from each property. Residents and businesses are then charged a utility fee for the services provided based on the amount of impervious surface on their property.
Stormwater utilities fund stormwater system cleaning, stormwater system televising, street sweeping, existing infrastructure repairs, ditch grading and mowing, regional detention facility maintenance, new stormwater system infrastructure construction, hazardous sump pump discharge abatement programs, rain barrel reimbursement programs, rain garden reimbursement programs, green infrastructure incentives for new development, stream and rain gauge monitoring, creek maintenance, water quality public education and involvement efforts, erosion control plan review and site inspections and developing and following through on stormwater master plans. Not all activities may be necessary for the City; however, Public Works & Engineering staff will be working to identify and implement those programs and activities which best equip us to meet our compliance obligations.
Stormwater Utility Planning and Rate Formation
The City was preparing to comply with the mandates of the Federal Clean Water Act (Act) since January 2013 when the City received a letter from the State of Washington Department of Ecology (DOE) informing the City of the need for the City to obtain a municipal National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit by 2019. In support of that mandate, DOE awarded the City a grant to develop a Stormwater Plan and Utility Rate Structure to support the activities required by the NPDES permit including education, elimination of illicit discharges, stormwater system operation and maintenance, and creation of regional facilities where required.
On September 25, 2018, City Council established a stormwater utility and adopted supporting rates. The current monthly charge for a single family residential unit is $9.75 and is based on an average amount of impervious surfaces for residential lots. Businesses and non-residential customers will be charged based on the equivalent amount of impervious areas on their lot(s). The City has implemented the state mandated Stormwater Utility effective January 1st, 2019. Some businesses and residences may be candidates for a $2.79 per month credit if they have already installed engineered stormwater systems on their premises. Customers may apply for the credit by completing this Stormwater Utility Credit Application Form. Documents related to the NPDES permit and rollout of the City Stormwater Utility are located below in the Document Center.
Several eastern State of Washington communities have adopted stormwater utilities including: Yakima, Clarkston/Asotin, Moses Lake, Spokane Valley, Ellensburg, Liberty Lake, West Richland, Yakima County, Sunnyside, Union Gap, Walla Walla, Colfax, Pullman, Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick.
Stormwater Utility Resources
- Report spills and illicit discharges into the City's municipal stormwater system by calling (509) 394-8525
- See the Document Center below for applicable City documents.
- EPA Green Infrastructure - Resources on development of green infrastructure to mitigate stormwater runoff.
- MRSC Stormwater Management - Informative webpage on various stormwater management techniques.
- Washington Stormwater Management Center - Resources for stormwater management in Eastern Washington State.
- State of WA Department of Ecology Low-Impact Development Guidance - Information on a development strategy that tries to mimic natural hydrologic conditions.
- State of WA Department of Ecology Eastern Washington NPDES Phase II Permit - Information on the requirements of NPDES Phase II Permitting in Eastern Washington State.
- EPA NPDES Permit - Federal resources on the NPDES permit process.
The Document Center provides easy access to public documents. Click on one of the categories below to see related documents or use the search function.
Documents sorted by DATE in Descending Order within category