Stormwater Utility Fee FAQ
Why is it important to manage stormwater?
In urban environments, hard surfaces like parking lots, sidewalks, and rooftops prevent stormwater from soaking into the ground. This stormwater will "run off" into the City's storm drain system, discharging directly into our lakes, creeks and the Mississippi River. Stormwater runoff picks up pollutants, trash and debris along the way, creating health and safety issues for residents and wildlife.
Managing stormwater protects homes, businesses and the environment and helps to prevent flooding, erosion and pollution.
How does the Stormwater Utility Fee work in Minneapolis?
The Stormwater Utility Fee pays for the City's stormwater system and maintenance costs, and helps prevent and correct stormwater runoff problems. All properties within City limits (with very few exceptions) pay a monthly stormwater utility fee. This fee had existed prior to 2005, but was included as part of the combined sanitary sewer/stormwater fee.
Because the stormwater utility fee is a user fee and not a tax, all properties regardless of ownership are required to pay for the services of the stormwater management system. This includes non-profits like churches, schools and institutions, as well as city-owned properties, State of Minnesota properties, as well as federal government properties.
How is the stormwater utility fee calculated?
The stormwater utility fee is based on impervious area and is charged on a per unit basis. Each ESU ( Equivalent Stormwater Unit) is 1,530 sq.ft. of impervious area on a property. This area is calculated based on the property size and current use. Single family properties are billed using one of these rates:
Group 1: (less than 1,485 sq.ft.)
Group 2: (1,486 sq.ft. - 1,585 sq.ft.)
Group 3: (greater than 1,586 sq.ft.)
All other properties are billed as follows: Gross Lot Size (sq.ft.) X Runoff Coefficient (based on land use class) divided by 1,530 sq.ft. equals the number of ESU’s.
What is an impervious area?
An impervious area is a surface where water cannot flow through freely, including:
- Building footprints
- Parking lots
- Detached garages
- Concrete air conditioner pads
- Brick pavers
This also includes all non-improved (vegetated or grass cover) areas that are used for parking or are driven upon. In urban environments, a property’s impervious area is the most significant factor affecting both stormwater quality and quantity.
How can I reduce my stormwater fee?
Stormwater fees can be reduced through the Stormwater Credits Program, which offers fee reductions to property owners who use approved methods to manage stormwater runoff on their property. Fees can also be reduced through replacement of impervious areas with green space.
How does the Stormwater Credits Program encourage helpful environmental practices?
The Stormwater Utility Fee gives property owners the ability to reduce their stormwater bill by taking environmentally friendly steps. Stormwater utility fee reductions (also known as credits) are available by using or installing stormwater management tools on their properties. Installing rain gardens or impervious pavers allows stormwater to soak into the ground, rather than run into the City's storm sewers.
How can I get a stormwater credit on my utility bill?
You can find guidelines and application forms in the Stormwater Utility Fee website, or call (612) 673-2226.
Last updated Feb 7, 2019