Rain-event flooding can be reduced by…
· increasing storm-sewer capacity and/or
· detaining rain before it goes down the drain
Because municipalities face major costs to…
· sever storm sewers from sanitary sewers
· build new storm sewage infrastructure
· create bioswales, rain gardens, permeable street paving, etc.
…some municipalities finance remedies by creating stormwater utilities.
Stormwater utilities levy a service fee on property owners to fund capacity upgrades and/or detention infrastructure.
Typically, the fee is proportional to the property’s impervious surface: the more rain the property diverts to the storm sewer, the higher the fee.
Fees (a) fund remedies and (b) incent property owners to reduce their impact on storm sewers, e.g., by installing a green roof, cistern, permeable patio, etc.
Considerations for establishing a stormwater utility are detailed in a report by the New England Environmental Finance Center.
Six municipalities have created stormwater utilities: Portland, Lewiston, Bangor, South Portland, Scarborough, Westbrook — 15% of .Maine’s population.
New London’s stormwater utility – first in state – begins operation January 1, 2019.
Governor Murphy on March 18, 2019 signed bill authorizing creation of county and municipal stormwater utilities.