In advance of the new stormwater service charge ordinance, which goes into effect on January 1st, 2016, residents can start requesting stormwater credits via an application process.
Currently stormwater is billed through water-sewer bills that are managed by the Portland Water District. With the new stormwater service charge, the City will bill and collect for stormwater services directly, while PWD continues to bill for water and sewer services.
Under the current system, a property with lots impervious surface area, like a paved parking lot or large warehouse with lots of roof area, are not directly charged for stormwater management.
Portland’s sewer system includes 87 miles of sanitary sewer and 136 miles of combined sewer (storm and waster water). The combined pipes all go to the waste water treatment facility on Munjoy Hill, taxing the system and causing overloads during heavy rains — the overload gets dumped into Casco Bay.
A parking lot or warehouse may have a great deal of stormwater runoff from the property, but depending on staffing and facilities, perhaps a relatively small water/sewer bill. Residents with little impervious surface area other than a driveway and small roof, are indirectly paying to manage the stormwater of these other properties.
Under the new system, all properties, residential and commercial, will be charged based on the amount of impervious area on property, including rooftops and paved areas such as driveways and parking lots.
The rate is $6.00 per month per 1,200 square feet of impervious area. There will be a corresponding reduction in the PWD sewer rate of approximately $1.50 per hundred cubic fee. The City is providing a calculator to help residents and businesses calculate the new stormwater service charge.
Residents and businesses may start applying for a stormwater credit, a conditional reduction in the amount of the stormwater service charge. The credit is based on creating and maintaining effective stormwater management controls that reduce the impact of the property’s impervious area and thus the cost of providing service.
For example, a homeowner may apply for a credit based on the use of rain barrels to mitigate stormwater from the roof. Or a homeowner may replace a paved driveway with permeable pavers (like a grass driveway). Check the City website for application and further information on applying for a credit.
Staff in the Water Resources Division are available to provide guidance. Residents may call 207-874-8462 to talk with staff or make an appointment to meet with an engineer.