The City of Columbia’s Stormwater Utility Fee came into effect on July 1, 2002 and was updated effective July 1, 2017. All monies collected from this utility fee go strictly to fund stormwater related activities such as:
- Designing and constructing capital improvement drainage projects,
- Routine cleaning, maintenance and repair of the City’s stormwater drainage system,
- Developing an inventory of the City’s stormwater drainage system,
- Master planning for capital improvements, and
- Complying with the City’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System stormwater quality requirements.
Stormwater runoff is water that flows over yards, streets, buildings, parking lots and other surfaces when it rains. Stormwater runoff eventually empties, untreated, into our local rivers, ponds and lakes.
As properties are developed, stormwater runoff increases. This increase has negative impacts on both the City’s storm drainage system and on natural drainage-ways which is directly proportional to the impervious area found on the developed property.
For stormwater billing purposes, the impervious area of a property are those surfaces that prevent or impede the infiltration of stormwater into the soil as it entered in natural conditions prior to development. Since the amount of stormwater runoff generated by a given property is directly proportional to the property’s impervious surfaces, the stormwater fee for a property is also directly proportional to the impervious area of the property.
The City of Columbia has established an Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) for stormwater billing purposes. One ERU is equal 2,454 sq. ft., the average amount of impervious area found on a typical single-family residence*.
*This value was found using aerial photography of the area.