What is a Stormwater Utility Fee?
Have you ever wondered why you have to pay a stormwater utility fee as part of your property tax bill but some of your friends who live in different areas of the state or out-of-state do not?
In 2005 Gwinnett County implemented a Stormwater Utility. The stormwater utility is responsible for operating and maintaining the system of pipes and channels that drain stormwater to protect homes, businesses, and infrastructure from flooding. This protection extends to streams and lakes that can be polluted from excess water runoff. The utility was created to raise the necessary funds for this costly endeavor.
Stormwater is water from rainfall. With a growing number of impervious surfaces (surfaces such as roads, sidewalks, rooftops, decks, and more where water cannot drain through it) the threat of flood increases. The amount of water runoff also increases, creating a greater hazard from pollution to our waterways as runoff water takes detergents, oils, pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, and other contaminants straight into the waterways instead of filtering through the soil first.
Gwinnett County Stormwater Utility User Fee
The Gwinnett County stormwater utility user fee was decided as a fair and equitable way to recover the costs for the management of stormwater regulations.
The fee is determined by your property’s impervious surface limit. The amount you pay in your tax bill annually is calculated per 100 square feet of impervious surface on your property. Figure out how many square feet of impervious surface is on your property and you can determine your annual stormwater utility user fee. The county uses aerial photography when leaves are not on the trees in winter to determine the square footage of your impervious surface limit. Keep this fee in mind when adding outdoor living spaces that are impervious such as porches, decks, swimming pools, and patios.
If you believe your property was improperly assessed, you can appeal. You’ll find all the forms you need on their website.
How to Get a Break on Your Stormwater Utility User Fee
Gwinnett County residents are incentivized to participate in public education programs centered around proper lawn care and water conservation. For instance, you can receive a 5% stormwater utility fee credit for attending workshops about rain gardens, lawn care with integrated pest management, and septic tank maintenance.
There are also fantastic opportunities to learn about Water Wise Landscaping, Rain Barrels, Smart Irrigation and more! You even get to take a Rain Barrel home and some workshops provide you with a water conservation kit.
At Conserva Irrigation of North Atlanta, we are focused on conserving water. We work extensively with our clients to ensure they are not overwatering their lawn and their sprinkler heads are properly adjusted to not water the sidewalk. Every small effort to keep water runoff at a minimum protects our lakes and streams the precious limited freshwater resources we all enjoy.
If your sprinkler system could use optimization for conservation or efficiency, give us a call today.