What is Stormwater?
Stormwater runoff occurs when rain or melting snow flows across land and impervious surfaces like roofs, driveways, parking lots, streets, and other hard surfaces. Because these impervious surfaces don't allow stormwater to soak into the ground, the runoff can cause flooding. As it flows across the ground, stormwater runoff may pick up pollutants like grease, oil, pet waste, fertilizer, metals, and other pollutants before entering the City's storm drain system. Stormwater is not treated, so the City's storm drains lead directly to local waterways, such as Taylor Run, Four Mile Run, Strawberry Run, Timber Branch, Hooffs Run, Holmes Run, Backlick Run, Cameron Run, and ultimately, the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay. Unless stormwater is first treated, the pollution picked up by the stormwater runoff enters our waterways. Stormwater pollution and flooding harms our environment, pets and wildlife, and can damage property.
The Stormwater Utility Fee was adopted to provide a dedicated funding source for existing stormwater management services and new capital projects to reduce sediment and nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorous) pollution into our local waterways, the Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay. It is just one part of the City's larger Eco-City Clean Waterways Initiative. Funds raised by the fee go toward:
- street sweeping
- leaf pickup
- operation and maintenance of public stormwater infrastructure and separate storm sewer system,
- stormwater quality initiatives,
- compliance with our MS4 stormwater permit,
- plan review, and,
- our flood management program.
Several Stormwater Infrastructure Projects are underway to help the City meet State and Federal MS4 stormwater mandates, while City Drainage and Flooding Projects mitigate drainage issues in problem areas. The City focuses on the use of green infrastructure and other stormwater best management practices (BMPs), and stream channel maintenance and restoration strategies to address stormwater infrastructure concerns.
Stormwater Utility Fees
To view the Stormwater Utility Fee for any property (single family residential or nonresidential): use the property search or Stormwater Utility Fee Map Viewer and enter the property address. The fee is billed to property owners as a separate line item on their real estate tax bills, half in May and half in October. Properties who do not pay tax receive a bill for just the stormwater utility fee. The Stormwater Utility Fee is based on a property’s impervious area, or hard surfaces like roofs and driveways that don't let rain runoff soak into the ground.
All property owners may apply annually to reduce their Stormwater Utility Fees between December 1 and February 15. The City’s credit policy allows property owners to reduce their annual fee by earning “credits” described in the comprehensive Stormwater Utility Credit Manual.
- Stormwater Utility Fee Credit Manual
- To access online forms use the property search - available during the credit application window only
- Use this link for Adobe/paper forms.
The manual includes credits adopted by City Council in October 2017 and October 2018 under both phases of the credit policy development. The City’s Credit Policy also includes a credit for Alexandria Renew Enterprises, adopted in October 2018, for their extraordinary efforts to construct over $350M in new infrastructure that reduces stormwater pollution entering our waterways and treats offsite area over 10 times larger than their on-site impervious area.
The City will review the application and approve or deny the requested credits. Approved credits will be applied to the following year’s Stormwater Utility Fees and split between the May and October bills.
You may request an adjustment to the fee if there is an error on your bill. Appeals are due in June within 30 days of billing.
- To access online forms use the property search - available during the appeal window only
- Use this link for Adobe/paper forms.
Pay your stormwater utility fee even if you’ve submitted an appeal, because payments are applied first to fees, then to any prior period outstanding balance. This may cause late payment penalty and interest to the assessed on the current tax and fees, if the total due is not paid by the respective due date of the real estate property tax bill.
Once you’ve submitted an appeal, the City will review and make a determination upon the receipt of a complete application, including any additional information requested by the City. If a petition to adjust your fee is approved, you will receive a revised bill or payment credit.
For More Information
Interested in having City staff visit your community, business, or non-profit organization to discuss stormwater management and the Stormwater Utility Fee? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a meeting or call 703-746-6499.
- Stormwater Utility Implementation History
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