Starting in May of 2024, Arlington County property owners will see a new fee on their real estate bill called the “Stormwater Utility Fee.”
What is the Arlington County Stormwater Utility Fee?
This new fee is based on the amount of impervious surface on each property. Impervious surfaces include roof area, patios, driveways, walkways, etc. The Stormwater Utility Fee will be based on Equivalent Residential Units (ERU). One ERU is equal to 2,400 square feet of impervious area, which is the average impervious area for a single residence in Arlington County.
Why is Arlington County charging this Stormwater Utility fee?
All of these non-permeable surfaces generate surface runoff during rain storms that impacts downstream properties and public storm infrastructure and causes erosion to local streams. The county is planning to use this fee to fund public stormwater infrastructure projects in the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). The goal is to reduce flooding from high-intensity storms that have become more repetitive in recent years. Furthermore, developers and homeowners redeveloping properties to build the maximum size homes and additions, while also adding rear yard patios and increased driveway sizes, are all factors that are only adding to the county flooding problem.
How much is the Stormwater Utility Fee?
You can use the Arlington County Stormwater Utility Fee Estimator tool to budget for the upcoming annual fee.
The initial proposed fee is $258 for one ERU. Properties with impervious area greater than one ERU (2,400 square feet) will be billed for additional ERUs. For example, a property that has 4,080 square feet of impervious area has 1.7 times more impervious area than the typical Arlington County residence. Therefore, that property owner will pay 1.7*$258 = $438.60 as their stormwater fee each year compared to a property owner with the average amount of impervious area who would pay $258. Essentially, everybody in the County will pay the Stormwater Utility Fee respective to the amount of stormwater runoff their property generates.
Is there any way to reduce the Stormwater Utility Fee?
You can reduce your stormwater utility bill by up to 35% by applying for credits if you have taken action to reduce stormwater runoff on your property. You can either claim credit for mandatory stormwater facilities you had to install on your property as part of a redevelopment or you can claim voluntary credits if you install a rain garden or permeable pavers, plant additional trees, incorporate conservation landscaping, or add a rainwater collection system on your property. Learn more about Arlington County’s Stormwater Utility Credit Program.