About Our Stormwater Utility
The South Burlington Stormwater Utility was formed in 2005 by a resolution of the South Burlington City Council. The Utility was established after a planning process that included an advisory committee consisting of local professionals, residents, and city officials. Revenue collected by the Utility provides a stable and efficient funding source that enables the Utility’s full time staff to maintain and improve South Burlington’s stormwater infrastructure.
Additional information about the Utility can be found in the City’s Ordinance Regulating the Use of Public and Sanitary Sewerage and Stormwater Systems or by reviewing our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is the water that runs off impervious surfaces such as rooftops, paved and gravel roads, driveways, parking lots, and other hard surfaces after a rain storm. All properties with impervious surfaces generate stormwater runoff.
Stormwater can be seen flowing along the side of the road during rainstorms. This water flows in road side ditches, or is collected by the storm drains that are visible along the curb line of paved streets and parking lots. Storm drains are part of a drainage network consisting of underground pipes and concrete structures. The stormwater collected by the stormwater drainage system is discharged to streams, wetlands, or the Lake at stormwater outfalls (i.e. discharge points at the end of a pipe).
Stormwater Utility Fees
The Stormwater Utility fee is comparable to other utility bills (water and wastewater) in that a fee is paid in exchange for a service. The Stormwater Utility User Fee is included with the sewer and water bills received quarterly by all developed properties in the City. A fee based utility reduces the pressure on property taxes because it can assess properties that are normally tax exempt.
The stormwater billing rate is determined by the South Burlington City Council as part of the City’s annual budget process. Current rates for residential properties are as follows:
- Single-family homes are assessed $7.32 per month
- Duplexes with fee-simple ownership are assessed $3.66 each per month.
- Triplexes with fee-simple ownership are assessed $2.44 each per month.
The annual fee is $87.84 for single-family homes, $43.92 for duplexes, and $29.28 for triplexes (cost information current as of 11/28/22).
All other developed property (e.g. condominiums, businesses, institutions, and government) in the city is assessed a fee based on the actual amount of impervious surface on the property. The square footage of impervious surface on a property is determined using a careful analysis of satellite imagery. In order to determine the fee for these properties, the total impervious area is divided by the “Equivalent Residential Unit” or ERU. An ERU is the average impervious area on a residential property and in South Burlington this value was calculated to be 2,700 square feet. The flow chart below provides a detailed explanation of the process, which is contained in the City’s Ordinance Regulating the Use of Public and Sanitary Sewerage and Stormwater Systems.
Benefits of a Utility
A Stormwater Utility provides many benefits to the City and its residents. The Utility:
- Maintains the city’s ongoing compliance with the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit and other Federal and State water quality regulations.
- Conducts the long term and strategic planning required by environmental regulations like the Lake Champlain Phosphorus TMDL and the Stormwater Impaired Stream TMDL promulgated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and State of Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.
- Maintains, assesses, and improves the city’s stormwater drainage infrastructure including storm drains, stormwater pipes, and culverts.
- Maintains the City’s stormwater treatment practices including stormwater detention ponds, bio-retention areas (also known as rain gardens), stormwater treatment wetlands, and similar infrastructure designed to treat stormwater runoff before it reaches our streams and Lake Champlain.
- Completes and funds stormwater capital improvement projects with the goal of improving water quality and complying with Federal and State permit requirements. See examples of some of our projects here.
- Provides technical assistance to South Burlington property owners who want to bring their stormwater system up to current standards. A valid stormwater permit is part of the value of your home and property. Contact the stormwater superintendent for more information.
Last Updated: 12/2/2021