Storm Water Utility

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In 2004, Bloomington created a “Storm Water Utility” to operate in similar fashion to other utilities, such as an electric company. With it, the City adopted a rate system for storm water that was based on the need created by the individual customer to manage storm water.  Whereas water is metered, the City uses a storm billing method under a principle that storm water fees cannot fairly be based on water consumption. The two have little in common. That need is based on size of a property and the type of construction on the property. 

The City’s Storm Water Utility manages urban storm sewers, detention basins, culverts, ravines, ditches, streams, drainage channels and ponds to control flooding, improve water quality and comply with federal clean-water regulations. Urban storm water management becomes necessary because of construction of materials – buildings, roads, parking lots, etc. – that do not absorb water.

Single-family residential storm sewer fees are based on the size of a property. Other parcels also are billed based on the size. However, for large lots, the City measures the amount of “impervious” material covering land on the property – essentially, structures and paved areas -- rather than estimating. These other parcels include property of governmental agencies, apartments, commercial businesses, industry, not-for-profits and churches. None is exempt; storm management runs under a “utility,” and the billing constitutes a “fee,” not a “tax.” 

Some property owners and developers take it upon themselves to reduce the stress their property creates on the storm water system through structure and land designs. They qualify for bill reductions – credits – based on those designs. 

All parcels, regardless of their location in a watershed, have an impact on our water resources. Pervious surfaces, such as lawns, allow rain to seep into the ground. Impervious surfaces, such as roofs and parking lots, block this absorption, which increases runoff volumes. The City of Bloomington’s storm water management system collects the runoff through a series of gutters, inlets, storm sewers, detention basins, and stream channels. In the older section of the City, the existing sewer systems are mostly “combined” sewers. A combined sewer conveys both domestic sewage and storm water runoff in the same pipe.   

Storm Water Utility Credits
Storm Water Appeal Application