NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


March 30, 2010

The Environmental Protection Agency has started issuing a series of limits on storm water pollution that will require local governments to spend large amounts of money on water quality and soon start slowly reshaping America's roads, housing developments and even the traditional lawn, says USA Today.

Most local governments pay for storm water systems from general tax revenues.  Faced with budget gaps, cities and counties are moving to storm water fees -- like water and utility bills -- based on how much rainwater flows off a property.

The fees have generated stiff opposition in some places:

  • Commissioners in Seminole County, Fla., rejected a fee after 500 people attended a hearing to protest.
  • The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District has been sued by business groups for trying to impose a $4.75 monthly fee in the Cleveland area.

The fees vary by location, but typically range from $2 to $10 a month for an average home.  The amount depends on how much space is consumed by roofs, driveways and other surfaces.  Large retail stores, schools and airports can pay thousands of dollars a month.

Source: Dennis Cauchon, "Cities slap fees on storm runoff," USA TODAY, March 28, 2010.

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