A stormwater utility is a dedicated program that manages the collection, treatment, and disposal of stormwater runoff within a community. It operates similarly to other utility services, such as water and sewer, but focuses specifically on managing rainwater and runoff from impervious surfaces like roads, driveways, and rooftops. The utility is funded by a stormwater fee assessed on properties based on their contribution to runoff. These fees are then used to support stormwater infrastructure improvements, maintenance, and compliance with regulations such as the MS4 program.
Why Implement a Stormwater Utility?
Implementing a stormwater utility allows our town to actively address environmental concerns related to stormwater runoff. Unmanaged runoff can carry pollutants such as oil, chemicals, and debris into local water bodies, degrading water quality and harming aquatic ecosystems. A stormwater utility provides the means to invest in effective stormwater management systems, reducing pollution and safeguarding the health of rivers, lakes, and streams.
Flood Prevention and Mitigation
Effective stormwater management, funded by the stormwater utility, can help reduce the risk of flooding in residential areas. By investing in improved drainage systems, retention basins, and other infrastructure, the utility helps prevent excess rainwater from pooling in streets, yards, and basements during heavy rainfall events. This directly protects homes and property from water damage, saving individuals from costly repairs and inconvenience.
Compliance with Regulations (MS4)
The Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) program, mandated by the Clean Water Act, requires the Town of Concord to manage stormwater runoff to protect water quality. Implementing a stormwater utility aids our town in meeting MS4 compliance by providing the necessary funding for pollution control measures, public education campaigns, and monitoring efforts.
Sustainable Funding Source
A stormwater utility fee provides a consistent and dedicated revenue stream for stormwater management. Unlike relying solely on general funds, a utility fee ensures that the necessary resources are available to maintain and upgrade stormwater infrastructure over the long term. This financial stability allows our town to make proactive decisions that benefit both the environment and the community.
Fair and Equitable Distribution of Costs
The stormwater utility fee is typically based on the amount of impervious surface on a property, directly linking the fee to a property's contribution to stormwater runoff. This equitable distribution ensures that those who generate more runoff, typically larger parcels with paved surfaces, contribute proportionally to the costs of managing it. Residential properties with smaller impervious areas usually have lower fees.
Community Engagement and Education
A stormwater utility program encourages community involvement and education. Residents become more aware of their impact on local water quality and the steps they can take to reduce runoff. Workshops, outreach programs, and educational materials funded by the utility fee help raise awareness and promote responsible stormwater practices.
Implementing a stormwater utility in Concord reflects our community's commitment to environmental responsibility, regulatory compliance, pollution reduction, flood prevention, sustainable funding, equitable cost distribution, community health and safety, education, and long-term climate resilience. By pursuing this initiative, our town is taking proactive steps to create a more sustainable, resilient, and environmentally conscious community for its residents.
Town of Concord's Current Efforts in Adopting a Stormwater Utility
The Town of Concord is making strides towards the implementation of a Stormwater Utility. In the near future, the town will partner with an Engineering Consulting firm to create a comprehensive framework, evaluate current infrastructure, and involve residents through workshops and informational sessions. The objective is to present the Stormwater Utility proposal at the 2024 Town Meeting, allowing the community to have a say in this significant decision.