Stormwater is rain or melted snow that does not soak into the ground. This water flows over the ground into storm drains, ditches, and other channels that flow directly into creeks, rivers, and lakes. Stormwater is not treated to remove pollution.
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As stormwater flows over the ground it picks up pollution like oil leaking from cars, fertilizer from lawns, and bacteria from pet wastes. Stormwater is not treated to remove pollution before it enters our local waterways. Experts believe that almost 70% of the pollution in our rivers and lakes is carried there by stormwater runoff. Stormwater can also cause erosion and flooding.
Water contaminated with sediment and pollution takes more money to treat before it can be used for drinking water. Tourism and recreation businesses suffer along with residents when swimming, fishing, and boating are not allowed because of safety concerns. Damage from unmitigated flooding can raise merchant prices and insurance rates. And the list goes on. Because everyone plays a role in creating the pollution in stormwater runoff, we all have a role in cleaning it up.
Everyone in the city benefits from the Stormwater Management Program. If stormwater runs off your property, the city must have a program in place to manage the increase in runoff and pollution. Other benefits of the program include providing safer roadways and improving water quality. When water is polluted, we all pay in one way or another. The stormwater utility fee is similar to fees paid for water and sewer service, trash collection, or electricity.
All developed land in the city, whether public or private, is billed based on the impervious area on the property. The City of Durham even pays a stormwater utility fee for the impervious areas at its facilities.