New N.E.O.R.S.D. Storm Water User Fees & Credits (Encore – They are HERE!!)
(Note: This week we have a guest writer, Peter D. Zwick, P.E., P.S. Mr. Zwick provides surveying and civil engineering consultation services for surface drainage, roadways, grading, etc. His article discusses the new storm water user fees for those of us under the jurisdiction of the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer Sewer District (NEORSD). We think this article will be helpful to many.)
by Peter D. Zwick, P.E, P.S.
In Greater Cleveland, the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District now bills its 300,000 customers (including a surprised few who were not aware that they are customers) for “storm water user fees.” These quarterly charges range from about $9 for a small house, to thousands of dollars for large commercial building sites. The new fees have begun to appear on customers’ sewer and water bills as a separate line item.
Recently, the District implemented these new fees to raise tens of millions of dollars annually to achieve a “regional solution,” to address problems related to storm water runoff from hard surfaces. Go to http://www.neorsd.org/I_Library.php?a=download_file&LIBRARY_RECORD_ID=5655 for their service area map. To date, NEORSD has completed demonstration projects around town such as “riparian restorations,” “constructed wetlands,” and “storm water management” projects, and it is currently engineering stream bank erosion control projects for construction. Ultimately the District hopes to reduce stream flooding, erosion and pollution.
NEORSD calculates the user fees for each parcel of land according to its square footage of roofs, pavement and other impervious surfaces as identified from infrared satellite imagery. Unimproved parcels, such as wooded lots, are not charged any fee. You can go to http://www.neorsd.org/stormwaterfeemap.php to view a birds-eye-view photograph of your property. Click inside the parcel to see the quarterly fee listed alongside.
Because of the District’s stated objective to improve storm water runoff, it encourages its customers to install various Best Management Practices” (BMPs) to control runoff within each parcel. Therefore NEORSD offers certain credits to reduce individual user fees. Customers may apply for these credits under one of two classifications: single-family residential (e.g. your house) or non single-family residential (everything else).
Go to http://www.neorsd.org/I_Library.php?a=download_file&LIBRARY_RECORD_ID=5692 for an explanation of the single-family credit forms and instructions. Homeowners may apply for credits for their own homes, but a licensed Professional Engineer (P.E.) must prepare all other applications on behalf of the owners. The District encourages single-family homeowners to install rain barrels, rain gardens and pervious pavements. It promises to grant up to a 25% residential credit for the proper installation and operation of these BMPs. To qualify, be sure to study thoroughly their instructions.
Larger sites, such as commercial, multifamily or industrial facilities may receive credits from engineered BMPs such as “green” roofs, properly landscaped storm water detention ponds, rain water harvesting cisterns, various manufactured units, and pervious pavements, all in accordance with approved storm water management plans. The amount of credit varies according to many factors such as capacity, water quality enhancement, and infiltration rate. Theoretically, a fully managed site could receive as much as 100% credit. However, many sites may benefit from retro-fitting in order to qualify for credits. Surely, new facilities will be designed and constructed to better manage storm water runoff because of this new economic incentive.
You may reach the author, Mr. Zwick, at www.getstormwatercredit.com or at Zwick Engineering at (440) 235-2729.