Stormwater Utility

Background

Stormwater Utility Fee

The Town of Wellesley is considering a Stormwater Utility Fee to meet increasing demands associated with the Town’s stormwater management program. Wellesley is facing federal requirements to reduce the amount of pollution from stormwater runoff discharging to waterways, including substantial phosphorous reduction requirements of runoff into the Charles River. Consequently, the Town must increase investment in stormwater infrastructure management to meet permit obligations.

A Stormwater Utility Fee is a mechanism to fund this required investment. A fee is developed based on the amount of hardened or impervious surface, such as parking lots, driveways, and buildings, which contribute to stormwater runoff on a given parcel. Similar to water and sewer utilities, a stormwater utility allocates costs based on the amount of use, or in this case, amount of impervious surface. The allocation of fees in this manner is an equitable method of distributing stormwater management costs.

Advantages of a Stormwater Utility Fee include:

  • Sustainable – dedicated, stable revenue source
  • Equitable – based on stormwater impact vs. property value
  • Flexible – Enterprise will fund all aspects of the stormwater management program
  • Credit policy – Part of the stormwater utility development can include a credit policy. This credit policy can create a financial incentive for stormwater improvements on private property. 

The generated fees will be used to comply with permit requirements, maintain and replace drainage infrastructure, flood prevention, and to protect waterbodies from harmful stormwater pollutants. 

Schedule

Wellesley is currently developing the framework of a potential Stormwater Utility Fee. Prior to adoption of a stormwater fee schedule, a Stormwater Enterprise Fund will be proposed at Town Meeting in 2022.  An Enterprise Fund is a best practice to promote and maintain the long-term financial sustainability of the stormwater program

Presentations & Outreach

Previous Outreach

11/9/2021 Board of Public Works presentation video: link here

11/9/2021 Board of Public Works presentation slides: link here

12/8/2021 Advisory Committee presentation video:  link here

12/9/2021 Planning Board presentation video: link here

12/20/2021 Select Board presentation video: link here

Upcoming Outreach

Sustainability Committee 1/7/2022

Additional Information and Examples

Stormwater Utilities Throughout New England

Communities throughout New England have developed Stormwater Utilities to fund stormwater management goals and/or MS4 Permit Requirements. The graphic below demonstrates Stormwater Utilities adopted in the Northeast as of 2018.

Stormwater utlities


Links to Stormwater Utilities in nearby Massachusetts communities are also provided below:

Newton, MA Stormwater Utility Website

Bellingham, MA Stormwater Utility Website

Westford, MA Stormwater Utility Website

Milton, MA Stormwater Utility Website

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) maintains a database of stormwater utilities in Massachusetts here.