Stormwater Utility Fees and Credits for Non-Residential Properties

The Stormwater Utility Fee will provide funding for the stormwater management program to reduce the impact of stormwater pollution, flooding, and ensure Alexandria is in compliance with state and federal stormwater regulations. Property owners can apply for Stormwater Utility Fee credits annually between December 1 and February 15. Registration for litter cleanup programs is open year-round.

Page updated on Oct 26, 2018 at 12:41 PM

Non-Residential properties include all properties not considered residential properties, such as commercial or industrial properties, apartment buildings, and non-profit or faith-based properties. 

What's my fee?

To view the Stormwater Utility Fee for any property: Use the property search or Stormwater Utility Fee Viewer and enter the property address. At this time, approved credits will only show on the property search.

Non-Residential Calculated Fee Structure

All non-residential properties will be billed using a calculated method.  This means that the fee will be individually calculated for each non-residential property.  There are approximately 5,000 non-residential properties in the City, compared to over 43,000 single family residential properties, so this calculated fee allows an individual fee to be calculated for each non-residential property. 

The calculated fee is based on a billing unit of 2,062 square feet.  The total impervious area on a property, such as a building footprint and parking lot, are calculated using GIS analysis. The example below shows how the calculated fee will be calculated for each non-residential property. 

Non-Residential Stormwater Fees

The fee for the total impervious area of a non-residential condominium building is divided among the condo units proportionally based on the interior floor area of each condo to the total interior floor area. Non-residential condominiums in a mixed-use building will be charged a flat fee, unless their total interior floor area exceeds a certain threshold of the total building interior floor area. The impervious area calculation still only considers hard surfaces that a rain drop could fall on, so it does not consider the interior square footage of a building. 

Learn more about the Stormwater Utility Fee and the services it funds.

How do I pay? 

Most customers receive the bill as a line item on their real estate tax bill that is received directly or through their mortgage company in May and October each year. Properties who do not pay real estate tax, receive a bill for just the stormwater utility fee.

How can I reduce my fee? 

Online credit application forms are available during the credit application window on your property's "Tax & Fee Info" page of the  property search  site, which is easily accessible via the Stormwater Utility Fee Map Viewer. 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. Fillable PDF Credit Application Forms may also be printed and mailed to the stormwater management division. E-mail us at stormwater@alexandriava.gov for help getting started.  

Registration for litter cleanup programs is open year-round. We encourage property owners or groups associated with the property to register for voluntary programs during the credit application window a year in advance to allow time to conduct the volunteer activities throughout the year. Registration can be performed by either the owner or the group contact for litter cleanup events.

Read the Credit Manual to learn more about the credit policies and visit stormwater management best practices to learn more about the design and construction of these practices. 

Credits for Structural Stormwater Facilities

The Credit Manual includes calculated credits for structural stormwater facilities. Consistent with the enabling legislation, credits are related to the amount of stormwater management provided.

  • Mandatory Stormwater Quality BMPs - Max 20% based on impervious area treated
  • Voluntary Green Infrastructure BMPs – Max 20%, based on impervious area treated
  • Mandatory Detention Facilities – Max 10%, based on impervious area draining to the facility

Annual documentation for all structural stormwater facilities, includes:  

Upon receipt of a completed application, the City will check that the property and the facility meet the eligibility requirements described in the Credit Manual, including whether a Stormwater Management / BMP Facilities Operation and Maintenance Agreement is on file. The City will contact you if the agreement is not on file or if additional information is required to process the credit application.

Additional documentation and coordination with the City are required for voluntary Green Infrastructure BMPs, which may include, design calculations, as-built drawings, and a certification letter that the facility has been installed according to approved plans.

Credits for Litter Cleanup Programs

The Credit Manual includes credits for three different litter cleanup programs: Adopt-A-Waterway, Adopt-A-Block, and Adopt-A-Storm Drain.

Step 1: Register during the year. Use the following guides / maps to identify features for adoption:

Step 2: Apply for credit during the annual credit application window. Documentation requirements for non-residential voluntary activities include:

  • Completed program registration
  • Total number of cleanup hours (Adopt-A-Waterway) and (Adopt-A-Block) or total number of private storm drains adopted (Adopt-A-Storm Drain)
  • Cleanup event waivers / sign-in sheets
  • Date-stamped photos from cleanup events
  • Tally Sheets of pounds of litter collected

CREDITS FOR New Tree Planting

The Credit Manual includes a calculated, rebate-like credit for new tree planting.

  • New Tree Planting - native tree planting, minimum 1" caliper in size - Max 30% in year planted, based on number of trees planted. Tree caliper is a standardized measurement of tree diameter. For 1" caliper trees, the diameter of the tree trunk is measured at 6" above the ground.

Public Outreach

Customers interested in having City staff visit their community, business, or non-profit organizations to discuss stormwater management and the credit policy should email  stormwater@alexandriava.gov to schedule a meeting.

Consistent with the Stormwater Public Outreach Framework, City staff has made presentations on the Stormwater Utility Fee and Credit Policies to local groups, including:

  • Carlyle Group
  • Chamber of Commerce
  • Federation of Civic Associations
  • Eisenhower Partnership
  • Budget and Fiscal Affairs Advisory Committee
  • Apartment and Office Building Association (AOBA)
  • Northeast Old Town Civic Association
  • Goodwin House
  • Environmental Policy Commission
  • NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association
  • And more…

Additionally, City staff has directly engaged non-profits and faith-based property owners with a letter campaign providing customers with information on the new fee specific to their properties and the first annual credit application window. More information on Public Outreach efforts can be found on the Stormwater Utility Fee webpage.

Additional FAQs

These FAQs address the most common questions from property owners. For more information, see FAQs on the  Stormwater Utility Fee

1. How is the Stormwater Utility Fee different from the water bills I receive?

The Stormwater Utility Fee is based on the generation of stormwater runoff and pays for the management of that stormwater by the City. Most customers will receive the bill as a line item on their real estate tax bill that is received directly or through their mortgage company. In addition to the Stormwater Utility Fee most Alexandria customers receive two other water-related bills – one from Virginia American Water, which provides clean water to your home, and one from AlexRenew, which cleans your dirty water after it is flushed to the sanitary sewer.

2.     Is this related to the combined sewer overflow mitigation?

No. The State and Federal mandates for reducing combined sewer overflows are different than the those for reducing stormwater pollution to the Chesapeake Bay, which motivated the adoption of the Stormwater Utility Fee.

3.   How is the rate determined?

The rate is reviewed annually and set by the City Council in the approved annual budget to be effective July 1 each year.

4.     What is a billing unit?

The billing unit is an Equivalent Residential Unit or ERU and is defined as 2,062 square feet of impervious area, which is typical for a detached single family home in the City of Alexandria.

5.  What are impervious areas?

Impervious area is a surface composed of any material that significantly impedes or prevents natural infiltration of water into the soil. Impervious surfaces include, but are not limited to: roofs, buildings, streets, parking areas, and any concrete, asphalt, or compacted gravel surface.

6. Is the City’s mapping of my property’s impervious area correct?

The impervious area is mapped from aerial photos with the actual measurement done via computer imaging, which produces a high degree of accuracy. Non-residential properties may view their impervious area on the  Stormwater Utility Fee Map Viewer by turning on the layer. If you have questions about your stormwater utility bill, or how to use this tool, please call us at 703.746.4357 or email stormwater@alexandriava.gov.

Property owners with a calculated fee may submit an appeal for an error in impervious area consistent with the adopted ordinance. More information on Appeals is available on the Stormwater Utility Fee Information webpage.

7. Can I see an example of a SWU Fee credit calculation for BMPs and detention facilities?

Yes. Consider the non-residential property below, which has an impervious area of 38,021 ft², has one BMP (a Stormfilter), and a detention chamber. 

Credit Manual Calculation Example

Stormwater Utility Fee Calculation

Impervious Area = 38,021 ft² (0.87 acres)

# of ERUs = 18 (1 ERU = 2,062 ft²)

Annual SWU Fee = $140.00/ERU * 18 ERU = $2,520.00

Credit Calculation (performed by City staff reviewer)

Site has 1 BMP (potential 20% credit) and 1 Detention (potential 10% credit)

  • Bioretention Filter treats 98.5% of total impervious area
  • Detention Chamber captures runoff from 98.5% of total impervious area

Using the Calculation for Credits:

Credit Earned = [(% Credit) * (% of Impervious Area Treated)] * (Stormwater Utility Fee)

%Fee Reduction = [(20%)*(98.5%) + (10%)*(98.5%)] = 29.6%

Credit Earned = 29.3% * $2,520.00 = $745.92

Summary of Calculated Fee Credit and Final Reduced Fee
Credit Calculation Summary Table

8. I am already a participant in Adopt-A-Block. Am I eligible for Stormwater Utility Fee Credit?

The City of Alexandria has an existing Adopt-A-Block Litter Program which is administered by the Street Cleaning Division and is not eligible for Stormwater Utility Fee Credit. Current Adopt-A-Block participants who would like to apply to potentially reduce their Stormwater Utility Fee Credit will need to register and apply annually for the Stormwater Utility's Adopt-A-Block program. Program requirements are different, because participants in the Stormwater Utility program may receive a financial benefit from participation, while participants in the Street Cleaning program do not. 

9. I am a resident. If I volunteer for my church or school, will I receive credit off my Stormwater Utility Fee?

No. Volunteers for groups registered in the Stormwater Utility voluntary programs will not receive credit off their Stormwater Utility Fee. Instead, credit will be earned by the non-residential property that was associated with the group upon registration. The City is working on the development of the residential credit policy to apply to 2019 fees.

10. I would like to participate in a voluntary activity, but I am not a property owner. What can I do?

You have options.

If you know of a non-residential property that has registered for one of the Stormwater Utility Credit voluntary programs, you may contact them to inquire about participating in their efforts to reduce their stormwater utility fee.

If you are interested in volunteering with the City for the intrinsic benefits of improving water quality, you can apply to volunteer for Storm Drain Marking and Tracking at www.alexandriava.gov/Volunteer or participate in the Adopt-A-Block Litter Program, which is open to everyone in the City of Alexandria who has an interest in keeping Alexandria’s streets clean and safe. The City also hosts annual waterway cleanups at Four Mile Run and Oronoco Bay Parks. Please sign up for environmental eNews to learn more about City sponsored waterway cleanups.

Visit https://www.alexandriava.gov/93347 for more information on how you can protect water quality in Alexandria. 

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