Stormwater Utility Fees and Credits for Non-Residential Properties

Nonresidential property owners can view their estimated Stormwater Utility Fee and apply for register for litter cleanup programs for credit under the Phase 1 credit policy adopted by City Council. Register year-round. Apply for credits online annually between December 1 and February 15.

Page updated on Jun 21, 2018 at 4:43 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 will 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, will receive a bill for just the stormwater utility fee.

How can I reduce my fee? 

The City is working to develop the Phase 2 Stormwater Utility Credit Policy, which aims to expand credits to include voluntary structural green infrastructure best management practices (BMPs) and credits for residential properties.

City Council adopted the Phase 1 Non-Residential Credit Manual on October 24. The Credit Policy is consistent with the enabling legislation, which requires that credits be related to the amount of stormwater management provided.  The policy is also consistent with the way other localities calculate SWU credits.The credit policy includes two types of credits:

  1. Credits for mandatory structural practices, including stormwater quality BMPs and detention facilities installed during development; and,
  2. Credits for voluntary litter cleanup activities conducted under three eligible programs: Adopt-A-Waterway, Adopt-A-Block, and Adopt-A-Storm Drain

Annual registration and credit application is required. Property owners may apply during the next credit application window beginning December 1, 2018 and through February 15, 2019. Applicants who meet the program requirements and submit required documentation prior to the February 15 deadline will be eligible for credit during the applied calendar year. 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.

What do I need to apply? 

Mandatory BMPs and Detention Facilities

The approach focuses on a simple, straight-forward credit application process. While some utilities do not include the certification of facilities, most require the applicant to provide an overwhelming amount of documentation, such as pollutant reduction calculations, as-built plans, drainage basin delineations, and credit calculations. Documentation requirements for non-residential BMPs and Detention include:

  • Stormwater Management / BMP Facilities Operation and Maintenance Agreement 
    • No documentation is required with application
    • The City will contact you if an agreement is not on file
  • Annual certification that facilities are functioning properly

To apply using the online form, find your parcel using the property search and view the "Tax & Fee Info" page. Or link to the right place by finding your property on the Stormwater Utility Fee Map Viewer. E-mail us at stormwater@alexandriava.gov for help getting started.  Online forms are only available during the annual credit application window.

Litter Cleanup Programs

Register Now. To register using the online form, find your parcel using the property search and view the "Tax & Fee Info" page. Or link to the right place by finding your property on the Stormwater Utility Fee Map Viewer. E-mail us at stormwater@alexandriava.gov for help getting started. Online registration is open year-round. Registration can be performed by either the owner or the group contact for litter cleanup events.

Apply for credits December 1 through February 15.  Registration in the Adopt-A-Waterway, Adopt-A-Block, and/or Adopt-A-Storm Drain programs is required prior to participation and credit application. Applicants who meet the program requirements and submit required documentation prior to the February 15 deadline will be eligible for credit during the applied calendar year. 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.

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

How much can I reduce my fee? 

Non-residential property owners can reduce their fee by up to 50% for all practices combined:  In no case shall the maximum dollar credit amount exceed 50% of the stormwater utility fee for the property. See below for the max for each credit.

mandatory BMPs AND DETENTION

Stormwater Quality BMPs: Credit Earned = [(20% Credit) * (% Impervious Area Treated)] * (Stormwater Fee)

  • Max 20% BMP Credit

Detention Facilities: Credit Earned = [(10% Credit) * (% Impervious Area Treated)] * (Stormwater Fee)

  • Max 10% Detention Credit

VOLUNTary Litter cleanup programs

Adopt-A-Waterway: Adopt a section of a waterway and perform stream cleanups. The waterway may be located on or adjacent to the property, or elsewhere in the City. 

  • Eligible for 2% credit for every 5 hours of group activity; up to 10% max credit for the applicable property

Adopt-A-Block: Adopt a section of roadway, containing a minimum of four City-maintained blocks and encompassing both sides of the roadway for trash and litter removal.  The blocks may be located on or adjacent to the property. 

  • Eligible for 2% credit for every 5 hours of group activity; up to 10% max credit for the applicable property

Adopt-A-Storm Drain: Adopt five or more storm drains on or immediately adjacent to the applicable property. Keep the drain free of debris/litter and place and maintain drain markers that inform citizens that these drains send water to local waterways, the Potomac River, and ultimately, to the Chesapeake Bay.  

  • Eligible for 2% credit for every 5 storm drains adopted; up to 10% max credit

Public Outreach

City staff is conducting public outreach about the Stormwater Utility Fee and Phase 2 Credit Policy.  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 Phase 1 Credit Policy 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
  • 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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