Minneapolis Stormwater Utility Fee FAQ
What is stormwater?
Stormwater is rain or melting snow that runs over the land. In nature, most stormwater soaks into the ground where it lands. Extra stormwater makes its way to the nearest lake, river, or wetland. These natural systems provide water storage and prevent flooding.
Why is it important to manage stormwater?
In an urban environment like Minneapolis, hard surfaces like parking lots, sidewalks, and rooftops prevent water from soaking into the ground. This stormwater will "run off" into the City's storm drain system, discharging directly into our lakes, rivers and creeks. Stormwater runoff also picks up pollutants, trash and debris along the way, which can create health and safety issues for residents and wildlife.
Minneapolis manages stormwater to protect homes & businesses, as well as the environment, lakes, streams & rivers. Gone unchecked, stormwater could cause flooding, erosion and pollution.
What is the stormwater utility fee on my bill?
The stormwater utility fee pays for the City's current stormwater system and annual maintenance costs. This helps to prevent and correct stormwater runoff problems in Minneapolis. All properties within City limits (with very few exceptions) are charged 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 provided by the Minneapolis stormwater management system. This includes non-profit entities such as churches, schools and institutions, as well as properties owned by the City of Minneapolis, the State of Minnesota, and the federal government.
How is the stormwater 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 square feet of impervious area on a property. The impervious area is calculated based on the size of the property, as well as the current use. Single family properties are billed using one of the following rates:
Group 1: (less than 1,485 square feet)
Group 2: (1,486 square feet to 1,585 square feet)
Group 3: (greater than 1,586 square feet)
All other properties are billed as follows: Gross Lot Size in square feet X Runoff Coefficient (based on land use class) divided by 1,530 square feet = # of ESU’s.
What is an impervious area?
Surfaces where water can not flow through freely. Examples of impervious surfaces include, but are not limited to the following:
- 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 the urban environment of Minneapolis, a property’s impervious area is the most significant factor affecting both stormwater quality and quantity.
Is there a way to reduce my stormwater fee?
Yes. Stormwater fees can be reduced through the Stormwater Credits Program. These programs offer a fee reduction to property owners who use approved methods to manage stormwater runoff on their property. Fees can also be reduced through replacement of excess impervious area (such as unused parking lots) with landscaped green space.
How does the City's Stormwater Credits Program encourage helpful environmental practices?
The stormwater fee incorporates opportunities for property owners to reduce their stormwater bill by taking environmentally friendly steps. Stormwater utility fee reductions (also known as credits) are available to those using or installing stormwater management tools/practices 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?
Credit guidelines and application forms can be found on the on the Stormwater Utility Fee website. For additional information, contact (612) 673-2965.
Last updated Jan 23, 2017