Stormwater Utility

Stormwater Management

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality stormwater permit requires the county to reduce pollutants in stormwater before flowing into nearby streams, lakes and rivers that lead to the Chesapeake Bay.

Stormwater Pollution

When it rains, millions of gallons of stormwater flow off our roofs, streets, and parking lots into the several hundred miles of pipes, ditches, and paved channels that carry stormwater to our streams and rivers transporting pollutants such as:

  • Animal Waste
  • Fertilizers and Pesticides
  • Sediment
  • Trash and Debris
  • Vehicle Fluids

In efforts to comply with the permit and reduce the existing pollutants discharging to local waters and ultimately to the Chesapeake Bay, the county has developed a compliance plan that details the county’s program.

Stormwater Runoff-diagram, sources of pollution

Stormwater Utility

A stormwater utility was created in 2016 to support the compliance plan and meet its stormwater permit requirements. Across the nation, there are over 1,500 municipalities with dedicated fees for stormwater management programs. County residential and commercial properties pay a stormwater utility fee based on the amount of impervious area such as artificial structures (roads, sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, etc.) that are covered by impenetrable materials (asphalt, concrete, brick, stone, rooftops, etc.). These are areas of significant contribution of stormwater pollutants on the property. This fee is included as a separate line item on the real estate tax bill.

The stormwater utility fee will provide funding to complete projects for compliance with the county's stormwater permit and Chesapeake Bay requirements. View current projects on the Capital Improvement Program map.

Properties Required to Pay the Stormwater Utility Fee

Developed residential and commercial (nonresidential) properties are subject to the stormwater utility fee. The stormwater utility fee is not a tax, but a fee based on the property’s impervious areas. If a property does not receive a real estate tax bill, a bill for the stormwater utility will be issued.

Neighborhoods with existing stormwater conveyance and retention or detention ponds still contribute runoff and pollution to the overall drainage system. The program’s costs are distributed to all county property owners as stormwater management is a countywide service.

Undeveloped property, defined as any property that has less than or equal to 250 square feet of impervious area, does not pay a stormwater utility fee. Additionally, federal, state, local and public entities that hold a permit to discharge stormwater are exempt.