A stormwater utility is a way to fund the cost of municipal stormwater management services. A stormwater utility operates similar to an electric, water, or wastewater utility. Properties within the city pay for stormwater management services based on the amount of runoff generated from each property. Residents and businesses are charged a utility fee for the services provided based on the amount of impervious surface on their property.
A stormwater utility could 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, a hazardous sump pump discharge abatement program, a rain barrel reimbursement program, a rain garden reimbursement program, 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, stormwater master plan, and Public Works & Engineering staff time committed to the stormwater system.
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. Several eastern State of Washington communities 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 have adopted stormwater utilities.
Stormwater Utility Resources
- EPA Green Infrastructure - Resources on development of green infrastructure to mitigate stormwater runoff.
- EPA NPDES Permit - Federal resources on the NPDES permit process.
- MRSC Stormwater Management - Informative webpage on various stormwater management techniques.
- State of WA Department of Ecology Stormwater Program - Information on what is needed to satisfy NPDES permitting requirements.
- State of WA Department of Ecology Low-Impact Development Guidance - Information on development strategy that tries to mimic natural hydrologic conditions.
- Washington Stormwater Management Center - Resources for stormwater management in Eastern Washington State.
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