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Harrisonburg Passes Stormwater Utility Fee

Keep It CleanHarrisonburg has decided to keep it clean–their stormwater that is. By passing an innovative Stormwater Utility Fee on February 24th,  the City of Harrisonburg joins several others in Virginia implementing fees on the amount of pavement, roofs, and other impervious surfaces that add polluted runoff to our streams and rivers. This program will generate over $1.9 million per year in funds to improve the quality of water in local streams. Everyone in Harrisonburg will be doing their part for the Shenandoah River.

Congrats to the city staff and volunteer committee members who worked so hard in considering all the alternatives and trying to make this as fair as possible for everyone in the City.  Thanks also to the many citizens who turned out to support the measure.

Friends of the North Fork believes this utility fee is the most sensible, simple, and equitable approach to raise the revenue needed to improve the quality of water that brings a mix of chemicals and pollutants from parking lots, driveways and other hard surfaces in the community. The money from the fee will be used to develop major projects throughout the City over the coming years. These projects will help slow and filter polluted runoff before it reaches streams like Blacks Run, Linville Creek, and Smith Creek, eventually flowing into both the North and South Forks of the Shenandoah River.

Each property will be charged $10.50 per 500 sq. ft. of impervious surface — your roof, driveway, patios, and such. For most homeowners that will be about $40 to $60 per year. Large businesses or institutions will pay more.

Credits will be available for those who choose to install things like rain barrels or rain gardens.

Visit the City’s stormwater page for details on the program:

Read about the City-wide assessment done with the Center for Watershed Protection which points to various projects these funds could be used to construct.

Read this great piece from Old South High for further background on the Harrisonburg proposal.

Visit our stormwater page to learn more about polluted runoff.