Institute for Public Administration, Biden School of Public Policy & Administration
Stormwater Utility Feasibility
Newark maintains a stormwater system in the Christina/White Clay watersheds with 60 miles of sewers, 200 miles of curb/gutter, 3,000 catch basins, 34 stormwater ponds, and 500 floodplain acres.
The City proposes to adopt a stormwater utility as a dedicated funding source to recover $1.6 million annually for the operation of stormwater, water-quality, and floodplain programs largely required by federal and state laws and regulations.
The goals of the Newark stormwater program are to:
Prevent/reduce flood and stormwater problems
Improve water quality
Decrease pollutant loads to City drinking water sources.
Stormwater utility advantages include:
Treats stormwater as a utility resource (like drinking water) instead of waste stream
Equitable by stormwater contribution from impervious roof and pavement
Accrued to tax-paying and tax-exempt properties, which both contribute stormwater runoff.
There are more than 500 stormwater utilities throughout the USA:
The average stormwater fee for a single-family home was $3.67 per month.
College-town monthly residential fees:
$1.50 (Burlington, Vt.)
$3.43 (Orono, Maine)
$14.26 (Ft. Collins, Colo.)
U.S. EPA survey in mid-Atlantic, residential stormwater fees range from $2 to $40 per quarter.
Wilmington and Philadelphia monthly residential fees are $3.03 and $10.80, respectively.
About 34 percent of the land on 7,500 parcels in Newark is covered by impervious area.
The mean impervious cover of single-family residential parcels in Newark is 4,000 sq. ft., which is defined as an equivalent residential unit (ERU).
Annual revenues from a stormwater utility in the City of Newark would range from
Option 1—$716,174 for $0.01 per sq. ft. of impervious cover ($3.33 per month single-family residential) to
Option 2—$1,432,348 for $0.02 per sq. ft. of impervious cover ($6.75 per month single-family residential).
The following table lists possible options for a City of Newark stormwater utility fee:
The City and IPA’s Water Resources Agency should initiate a public education program to inform property owners about the benefits of a stormwater utility to reduce flooding/stormwater problems and improve water quality, including:
Meet with commercial properties that generate high stormwater runoff and tax-exempt properties.
Establish a stormwater-utility website.
Create a stormwater-utility brochure to be sent to all customers before initial billing.
Municipalities are authorized to form a stormwater utility in Chapter 40, Title 7, Delaware Code.
The City should consider the water/sewer/electric or property-assessment billing systems to assess the stormwater fee, with the latter being the preferred mechanism.
City Council should consider adopting a stormwater-utility ordinance to recover annual costs of stormwater services provided to parcel owners with an ordinance effective date of January 1, 2010.