Watershed Protection Fee
OLWS complies with a number of water quality protection regulations set forth by the state and federal government. The Watershed Protection Fee covers the costs of these regulations as part of the Surface Water Quality Program.
Everyone with impervious (non-absorbent) surfaces pays a Watershed Protection Fee, including homeowners, churches, schools, governments, and businesses. Currently, runoff from impervious areas is the most significant source of water pollution in our state.
How is the Watershed Protection Fee calculated?
This charge reflects the amount of impervious surface on each site, which is a measure of increased runoff into the storm drainage system.
- The monthly surface water management fee is based on the Equivalent Service Unit (ESU).
- One ESU equals 2,500 square feet of impervious surface.
- The current rate is $9.65 per month per ESU. Rates are reset every July 1.
- Single family residences are charged for 2,500 square feet of impervious service area or 1 ESU (shown as “1.00 unit”) based on this average measurement.
- Non-single family properties, including businesses, schools, governments and industrial areas, pay based on their measured impervious area.
- For example, a business with 10,000 square feet of impervious surface (4 ESUs) would be charged $38.60 per month ($9.65 X 10,000 sq. ft. ÷ 2,500 sq. ft. = $38.60).
- Through this approach, properties that contribute more to the need for surface water management pay a greater proportion of the program costs.
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I’m not connected to a stormwater system. Why should I pay?
You may not be directly connected to a stormwater system, but all customers are provided services through the Surface Water Management Program. Because we all live “downstream”, we all support water quality programs.