STORMWATER 101: WHAT DOES A STORMWATER UTILITY DO?

In this article, we will explain what a stormwater utility DOES for its customers, and why establishing a stormwater utility makes good sense in addressing Dalton’s current stormwater-related issues.

A stormwater utility is a single entity established to address stormwater management and stormwater-related issues like flooding, water quality and erosion.

Some of the specific services a stormwater utility provides include:

  • Proactively inspecting and maintaining stormwater management systems to ensure that they are operating properly and at the designed capacity.
  • Cleaning stormwater inlets, outlets, pipes,  ponds, and other stormwater systems.
  • Fixing stormwater collection pipes and treatment systems.
  • Sampling streams and creeks to identify and eliminate sources of pollution.
  • Monitoring active construction projects for proper management of stormwater runoff and the associated erosion.
  • Ensuring proper design of stormwater collection and treatment systems associated with new development projects.
  • Educating the public on how to minimize water pollution associated with stormwater runoff.
  • Responding to issues 24 hours a day (such as spills and other emergency situations) that might result in pollution to our creeks and streams;
  • Maintaining maps and drawings of stormwater collection, storage, and treatment systems, so proper maintenance, management and rehabilitation can be handled in a cost effective manner.
  • Ensuring that the community complies with State and Federal regulations.
  • Preparing and planning for future stormwater system upgrades and replacements and providing funding for those future needs.

Stormwater management improves local water quality and aesthetics, resulting in a higher quality of life for existing residents and a more attractive community for quality economic development.  Additionally, the improved quality of creeks and streams means they can be opened for recreational opportunities.

Communities with stormwater utilities are attractive to outside entities doing economic development.

A stormwater utility can issue debt to raise dollars to fix large stormwater collection systems that have reached the end of their useful life. The funding of stormwater management is reliable and consistent.  Revenues raised through a stormwater utility are all dedicated to the proper management of stormwater – nothing else.

By addressing the problems now, a stormwater utility can reduce the future costs of managing stormwater because problems will no longer be put off for your children and grandchildren.

So what steps need to be taken to create a local stormwater utility?

Our next article, “Stormwater: How Are Service Fees Assessed?” will discuss how revenues will be collected and how fee structures will be created.

For more on this subject, visit our website: www.du-sw.com