What Are Stormwater Fees?

Posted On: April 04, 2024

Experts Explain What Your Business Needs To Know

Water flowing heavily from old pipe into runoff pondUnderstanding how stormwater fees impact you is essential for managing costs effectively. These fees are most prevalent in urban settings where impervious surfaces like roofs and parking lots prevent water from naturally soaking into the ground.

At iSTORMWATER, we specialize in top-tier stormwater solutions in the DMV to help mitigate these costs while enhancing environmental stewardship. If you’re facing unexpected charges or seeking proactive measures to reduce fees, contact us to explore your options.

What Are Stormwater Utility Fees?

Stormwater utility fees are a measure adopted by many municipalities to combat the challenges of stormwater runoff, particularly in densely populated urban areas. Property owners pay these fees to cover the costs of maintaining and improving stormwater management systems, which are crucial for flood and pollution mitigation.

The fee is typically based on the proportion of impervious surfaces on a property, such as concrete or asphalt, which do not absorb rainwater. As a result, larger commercial properties with big buildings or extensive parking lots usually face higher fees than smaller businesses or residential properties. While fees vary by location, they universally aim to fund the necessary infrastructure — like storm drains, piping, and detention basins — that captures, stores, and treats stormwater to minimize the environmental impact.

What Is the Origin of Stormwater Utility Fees?

The introduction of these fees in the United States is tied to other environmental policies aimed at mitigating the impact of urban runoff on natural water bodies. Maryland enacted a stormwater management fee program in April 2012, affecting the state’s largest urban jurisdictions, including the City of Baltimore. This bill was a direct response to the federal Clean Water Act, which mandated reducing pollutants like nitrogen, phosphorus, and sediment.

The law initially enacted fees based on impervious surfaces, which are the primary contributors to polluted runoff. In 2015, adjustments were made to allow counties more flexibility in administering these fees, although they remained accountable for meeting pollution benchmarks. Similar initiatives have been adopted in other states, including Virginia, where certain cities have implemented their own stormwater fees to support regional environmental efforts.

Commercial Stormwater Fees in Baltimore

In the City of Baltimore, the fee structure for commercial, industrial, and institutional properties is based on the Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU), which is standardized at 1,050 square feet of impervious surface. Commercial properties are charged $15 per ERU each quarter. Special rates apply to buildings used by religious non-profits and K-12 educational services, which are billed at $3 per ERU per quarter. The number of ERUs for each property is calculated by assessing the impervious surface area, and this figure is then rounded to the nearest whole number.

Baltimore offers various incentives for adopting stormwater best management practices (BMPs) that enhance a property’s sustainability. Credits may be granted for installing rain gardens and rainwater harvesting systems or engaging in public participation efforts. BMP credits must be renewed periodically to continue receiving benefits.

How To Reduce Stormwater Fees

The key to reducing stormwater fees is to work with a stormwater management company that can help your business comply with local regulations and qualify for BMP credits. At iSTORMWATER, we provide comprehensive stormwater maintenance to protect your property and the environment.

Our team of certified engineers and project staff deliver the highest quality of service with minimal disruption to your operations. Turn to us for 24-hour stormwater management services tailored to your specific needs.

To learn how we can assist your business in Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC, please call us or contact us online to schedule a consultation.


Real Results

iStormwater LLC was an excellent choice. They made the process of the Storm water pond repairs seamless. They took charge of the project and got the project approved and passing the inspection. We highly recommend them and would use them again.

Lyonswood HOA

Incredible stormwater management service. The owner John consulted on a property I manage and ended up saving us thousands of dollars in environmental fees from the government. Now, our property is compliant with the EPA and we have a great partner to keep us maintained on storm water regulations over time.

Kelly E.
What Are Stormwater Fees?
Posted On:April 25, 2024

Experts Explain What Your Business Needs To Know Understanding how stormwater fees impact you is essential for managing costs effectively. These fees are most prevalent...