Every property owner in the City of Chesapeake who has any kind of improvements (buildings, parking lots, driveways) on their property is assessed a stormwater fee. Agricultural or undeveloped property is not assessed a stormwater fee.
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Rainwater falling on rooftops, pavement, and other impervious (solid, non-porous) surfaces runs off in greater quantity and contains more pollutants than rain falling on unimproved forests and grasslands. In developed areas, this runoff must be managed to keep it from causing flooding and to remove the pollutants before it is discharged into streams and rivers. The revenue generated from the Stormwater Utility Fee is used to maintain public ditches, piped systems, and other stormwater structures, and also to ensure that pollutants carried by stormwater runoff are removed before the runoff reaches our waterways.
The Stormwater Utility Fee funds the Comprehensive Stormwater Management Program (CSMP), which is mandated by state and federal law. This includes things like the maintenance and repair of public ditches, stormwater pipe systems, and other drainage structures, water quality and flooding capital improvement projects, investigation and prevention of pollution discharges, and more. It’s important to note that with more than 2,700 miles of open ditch, nearly 1,100 miles of underground pipe, and nearly 37,000 drainage structures throughout the City, the Public Works Department must prioritize stormwater system maintenance and repair.
There are both public and private ditches throughout the City. A private ditch collects water from private property only, such as those located between houses. The maintenance of a private ditch is the responsibility of the property owner.
Chesapeake City Council reviews and approves the Stormwater Utility Fee rate, with input from the Stormwater Committee and City staff.
In May 2022 as part of the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget, Chesapeake City Council approved an increase to the Stormwater Utility Fee in order to enhance the level of stormwater maintenance provided by the Public Works Department. This increase was the first in more than a decade, with the last increase taking place in 2010.
All single-family customers pay a flat fee based on the current monthly rate. The current monthly rate is listed on the bill. Multi-family units are charged the current monthly rate per ERU. An Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) is equal to the average impervious area determined from an evaluation of all the residential parcels within the City. For Chesapeake, 1 ERU equals 2,112 square feet.
Commercial and industrial customers' stormwater bills are calculated as follows:
Total annual fee = the (total impervious area) ÷ the base ERU (2,112 square feet) × (current approved rate/ERU/month) × (12 months)
The stormwater fee rate is reviewed and approved annually by City Council.
Best Management Practices (BMPs) are devices used for on-site control of stormwater runoff and provide water quality improvements. Examples of BMPs include wet retention ponds, dry retention ponds, grass swales with check dams, and infiltration devices. Non-residential property owners who use BMPs can apply for a credit in stormwater fees.
If you have questions about your current stormwater bill, you can contact the Division of Stormwater Management at 757-382-3330.