What is stormwater and why is it a concern?
Stormwater is water originating from a rain event or snowmelt. Stormwater runoff occurs when the ground is unable to absorb all of the water. Impervious surfaces (such as buildings, driveways, parking lots, sidewalks, roads, and even compacted gravels and soils) prevent most of the runoff from infiltrating into the ground.
Stormwater becomes polluted with litter, sand, bacteria, and chemicals (such as automobile fluids and deicing salts) as it flowers over parking lots and streets and down into storm drains. Many people are surprised to learn that storm drains are not connected to sewer, but discharge directly to a nearby water body, such as a lake or river, usually without any treatment or cleansing.
Stormwater pollutants can seriously impact the water quality of our streams, ponds and wetlands, harming public health and wildlife habitat. Stormwater pollution can even affect our groundwater, which is used for private and community drinking water wells.
Cleaner stormwater means cleaner water for drinking, swimming, fishing, boating, and for protecting wildlife.
How does the Town manage stormwater runoff?
The Town of Shrewsbury has a Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP), created with guidance from the United Stated Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (“MS4”). The SWMP is a living document used to describe and detail activities and measures that the Town is implementing (or planning to implement) to minimize stormwater pollution funded primarily by the Stormwater Utility.
Where can I learn more about stormwater?
Please check out the Education tab! The Town has some educational material made available to the people of Shrewsbury and everyone else on what they can do to prevent stormwater pollution.
What is the Stormwater Utility Fee (STWF) and why is it on my Water/Sewer bill?
Please check out the Utility tab! It offers an explanation on why the Town has a Stormwater Utility Fee and common questions asked by the people of Shrewsbury.
How can I prevent stormwater pollution?
No matter who we are – be it a resident, business, developer, or an industrial facility – there is plenty that we can do to keep common pollutants out of our stormwater.
|General||Stormwater Pollution Prevention for Small Residential Construction Sites|
|Erosion||Stop Erosion in its Tracks to Keep Our Waters Clean|
|General||Stormwater Pollution Prevention for Industrial Sites|
Do Your Part to Stop Spills and Leaks at the Source
Why are we implementing a stormwater utility? Haven't we always been managing our stormwater?
As part of the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) to preserve, protect, and improve the Nation’s water resources from polluted stormwater runoff, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“USEPA”) promulgated the 1987 Stormwater Phase I Rule, which required operators of municipal separate storm sewer systems (“MS4s”) in urbanized areas, using National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) permits, to implement programs and practices to control stormwater runoff. These operators include the City of Boston, and City of Worcester.
The Stormwater Phase II Final Rule was promulgated in 1999 and included additional operators of MS4s to further reduce adverse impacts to water quality and aquatic habitat by instituting the use of controls on unregulated sources of stormwater discharges. Under the Phase II rule, all MS4s with stormwater discharges from Census-designated-Urbanized-Areas are required to seek NPDES permit coverage for those stormwater discharges. These additional operators include the Town of Shrewsbury as well as over 200 communities within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
On May 1, 2003, EPA Region 1 issued its Final General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Small MS4s (“MS4-2003 Permit”) consistent with the Phase II rule. This permit expired on May 1, 2008, but remained in effect until operators were authorized under the MS4-2016 Permit, which became effective on July 1, 2018.
Both of the MS4-2003 and MS4-2016 Permits are unfunded federal mandates with the MS4-2016 Permit being far more comprehensive and demanding than the previous MS4-2003 Permit, requiring operators to bolster and provide additional services to their stormwater management program, including:
- Bolstering its public education and outreach program for residents, businesses, developers, and industrial facilities;
- Detecting and eliminating illicit discharges (discharges to the MS4 that are not comprised entirely of stormwater);
- Developing and implementing a program to inventory, evaluate, map, and annually inspect/maintain all municipal stormwater treatment structures including outfall/interconnections, catch basins, detention basins;
- Managing stormwater runoff during and after construction or land alteration activities;
- Bolstering its good housekeeping practices including the number of street sweepings per year, a catch basin cleaning optimization program, and winter road salt minimization program;
- Developing a stormwater pollution prevention plan ("SWPPP") for all municipal properties; and
- Developing and implementing a lake phosphorus control plan ("LPCP") to minimize pollution due to phosphorus to local water bodies.
The Town estimated the average cost to comply with the MS4-2016 Permit to be $1.75 million per year for the first 5 years, and recognizes that a dedicated stormwater funding source is needed to comply with the extensive requirements.
Who pays the stormwater utility fee?
All properties (including municipal, tax-exempt, vacant, residential, and commercial properties) will pay the stormwater utility fee.
How much am I being charged?
All properties will be charged a fee based on their total impervious area. Impervious area, as defined in Section 4 of the Stormwater Management Rules & Regulations, is any material or structure on or above the ground that prevents water from infiltrating the underlying soil. This includes roads, paved parking lots, sidewalks, walkways, rooftops, pools, decks/porches, sheds, and areas with compacted dirt/gravel. While impervious, public streets and sidewalks will not count against a property owner’s impervious area for the purposes of determining their tier and annual rate.
The Stormwater Utility Rates can be found here or below (adopted February 19, 2019 and effective July 1, 2019).
|Tier (1-3 Family Homes, 2-unit Condos, Townhouses, Multiple Houses)||Total Impervious Area [x1000 sq.ft.]||Annual Rate [$]||Quarterly Rate [$]|
|1||0 to 5||$90||$22.50|
|2||5 to 10||$200||$50.00|
|Tier (Other Residential / Non-Residential)||Total Impervious Area [x1000 sq.ft.]||Annual Rate [$]||Quarterly Rate [$]|
|1||0 to 5||$90||$22.50|
|2||5 to 10||$200||$50.00|
|3||10 to 15||$325||$81.25|
|4||15 to 25||$500||$125.00|
|5||25 to 50||$1,000||$250.00|
|6||50 to 75||$1,500||$375.00|
|7||75 to 100||$2,250||$562.50|
|8||100 to 200||$3,750||$937.50|
|9||200 to 300||$6,250||$1562.50|
Please note that the annual rate and quarterly rate are not in addition to each other. Rather, they are calculated and shown for your convenience.
- about 7% of all properties are Vacant and account for 2% of the revenue;
- about 74% of all properties are Tier 1 and account for 37% of the revenue;
- about 14% of all properties are Tier 2 and account for 15% of the revenue;
- about 2% of all properties are Tier 3 and account for 4% of the revenue; and
- the remaining 3% of all properties are Tier 4+ and account for the remaining 42% of the revenue.
How can I estimate my impervious area?
Property owners can estimate their impervious area using the Shrewsbury MapsOnline website and using the Measure Area tool. You may also e-mail us at email@example.com for inquiries regarding your impervious area.
Can I receive credit against the Stormwater Utility if I manage stormwater on my property?
The Town of Shrewsbury offers up to a 50% credit against the fee for property owners who undertake specific actions that exceed the minimum requirements of any applicable stormwater management guidelines including the Zoning Bylaw, Subdivision Rules & Regulations, Stormwater Management Rules & Regulations, and Wetlands Protection Act.
The Stormwater Management Credit Application is located here.
What happens if I have been billed incorrectly?
The Town of Shrewsbury offers a Petition for Adjustment to ensure accurate billing of the Stormwater Utility Fee. You can submit a Petition for Adjustment to the Department of Public Works, with supporting documents, if:
- There was an error in billing amount (e.g. incorrect tier, approved credit applied incorrectly);
- There was an error in calculating your impervious area (e.g. deck with pervious ground underneath, a building was demolished and the area is now grass, entire/portion of impervious area on property is related to an easement);
- The identification of the property owner was invoiced in error (e.g. change in ownership, closings); and/or
- Other similar circumstances.
The Stormwater Utility Petition for Adjustment can be found here.
What if I still have questions?
You can review the Stormwater Utility Frequently Asked Questions to see if your question has already been answered. Otherwise, you can contact the Department of Public Works - Engineering Division by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 508-841-8502, or at the 2nd Floor of the Richard D. Carney Municipal Building on 100 Maple Avenue, Shrewsbury MA, 01545.
|Regulatory Mechanisms||Link||Last Updated|
|Article 21, Stormwater Management By-Law||Link||Aug 31, 2015|
|Stormwater Management Rules & Regulations||Link||Feb 19, 2019|
|Stormwater Utility Rates||Link||Feb 19, 2019|
|Stormwater Utility Credit Policy||Link||Feb 19, 2019|
|Stormwater Management Application Review & Inspection Fee||Link||Oct 31, 2019|
|Stormwater Utility Petition for Adjustment||Link||Jan 21, 2020|
|Stormwater Utility Credit Application||Link||Feb 25, 2019|
|Stormwater Management Permit Application||Link||Jul 12, 2019|
|Stormwater Management Plan (Last Updated as of Jul 1, 2019)||Link|
|MS4-2016 Annual Reports||Link|
|MS4-2016 Notice of Intent||Link|
|MS4-2003 Annual Reports and Notice of Intent||Link|
|Other Resources||Link||Last Updated|
|Stormwater Utility Frequently Asked Questions||Link||Jan 25, 2019|