Minneapolis Stormwater Utility Fee FAQ
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is runoff from a rainstorm or melting snow. City landscapes - unlike forests, wetlands, and grasslands that trap water and allow it to filter slowly into the ground - contain great areas of impermeable asphalt and concrete surfaces that prevent water from seeping into the ground. Because of this, large amounts of water accumulate above the surface. This water will run off before eventually entering into our lakes, rivers and streams.
Why is it important to manage stormwater?
Minneapolis needs to manage stormwater to protect people's homes and properties, the environment, lakes, streams & rivers. If this is not done, stormwater will cause flooding, erosion and pollution. Heavy rains that flood streets and yards can result in property damage. Stormwater runoff also picks up pollutants and debris from streets, parking lots & yards, carrying them into our lakes, rivers and streams.
What is the stormwater utility fee on my bill?
The stormwater utility fee pays for the City's current stormwater system and annual maintenance costs. This helps to prevent and correct stormwater runoff problems throughout Minneapolis. All properties within City limits (with very limited exceptions) are charged a monthly stormwater utility fee. This fee had existed prior to 2005 but was included as part of the combined sanitary sewer/stormwater fee.
Because the stormwater utility fee is a user fee and not a tax, all properties regardless of ownership are required to pay for the services provided by the Minneapolis stormwater management system. This includes non-profit entities such as churches, schools and institutions, as well as properties owned by the City of Minneapolis, the State of Minnesota, as well as the federal government.
How is the stormwater fee calculated?
The stormwater utility fee is based on impervious area and is charged on a per unit basis. Each ESU ( Equivalent Stormwater Unit) is 1,530 square feet of impervious area on a property. The impervious area was calculated based on the size of the property, as well as the current use. Single family properties are billed using one of the following rates:
All other properties are billed as follows: Gross Lot Size in square ft. X Runoff Coefficient (based on Land Use class) divided by 1,530 square ft = # of ESU’s
What is impervious area?
Surfaces where water can not flow through freely. Examples of impervious surfaces include, but are not limited to the following:
- House footprints
- Parking Lots
- Detached garages
- Concrete air conditioner pads
- Brick pavers
It also includes all non-improved (vegetated or grass cover) areas that are used for parking storage or are driven upon. In an urban environment such as Minneapolis, a property’s impervious area is the most significant factor affecting both stormwater quality and quantity.
Is there a way to reduce my stormwater fee?
Yes. Stormwater fees can be reduced through the City of Minneapolis Stormwater Credits Program. The credits program offers a reduction in fees to property owners who use approved methods to manage stormwater runoff on their property. Fees can also be reduced through the replacement of excess impervious area (such as unused parking lots) with landscaped green space.
How does the City's stormwater credits program encourage helpful environmental practices?
The stormwater fee incorporates opportunities for property owners to reduce their stormwater bill by taking environmentally friendly steps. Stormwater utility fee reductions, also called credits, are available to those who are using or installing stormwater management tools/practices on their properties. Installing rain gardens or other materials, such as impervious pavers, allows stormwater to soak into the ground, rather than run into storm sewers.
How can I get a stormwater credit on my utility bill?
Credit guidelines and application forms can be found on the on the City of Minneapolis stormwater fee website . If you need additional information, please contact (612) 673-1114.
Last updated Mar 13, 2013