Stormwater Utility

Table 1: Contact information.
Contact Phone Email
Community Response Center
(CRC)
630-434-2255 swutility@downers.us  

Stormwater utility implementation.

Stormwater Utility Fee 

In January 2013, the Village implemented a monthly stormwater fee, billed to all property owners in Downers Grove.

[The fee does not apply to unincorporated Downers Grove parcels.]

Fee Calculation 

An impervious area is any area within a parcel which prevents or significantly impedes the infiltration of stormwater into the soil. Examples of impervious surfaces include:

  • Parking lots
  • Roofs
  • Driveways
  • Patios
  • Decks
  • Swimming pools
  • Gravel and stone areas

The stormwater fee is based on the total amount (in square footage) of impervious area on each parcel, including all of the surfaces listed above. 

Fees are expressed in Equivalent Runoff Units (ERU). One ERU is equal to 3,300 square feet of impervious area, which is the average for a single family residential property in the Village.

1. SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL parcels will be charged based on a tiered system:

Table 2: Stormwater utility residential tiers.
Single Family Residential 2013 Monthly Fee 2014 Monthly Fee
(on bills received AFTER January 1, 2014.)
Tier 1 (1-2,500 s. f. of impervious area) = .75 ERU $6.30    $6.71
Tier 2 (2,501 - 4,000 s.f. of impervious area) = 1 ERU $8.40   $8.94
Tier 3 (4,001- 7,000 s.f. of impervious area) = 1.5 ERU $12.60 
 $13.41

2. NON-SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENTIAL parcels and RESIDENTIAL PARCELS with greater than 7,000 s.f. of impervious area will be charged based on the actual amount of impervious area, measured in ERUs, rounded to the next whole ERU. 

Table 3: Stormwater utility non-residential tier.
Non-Single Family Residential  2013 Monthly Fee 2014 Monthly Fee
(on bills received AFTER January 1, 2014.)
Per ERU (3,300 s.f.) $8.40 $8.94

3.  VACANT PARCELS will be charged .3 ERU.

Table 4: Stormwater utility vacant parcel tier.
Vacant (unimproved) Parcels 2013 Monthly Fee 2014 Monthly Fee
(on bills received AFTER January 1, 2014.)
0.3 ERU $2.52 $2.68

Billing and Payment

The monthly stormwater fee will appear on the same bi-monthly bill currently used for water charges and will be renamed "Utility Bill".   Stormwater fees will be reflected on utility bills beginning in January 2013.

  • Properties on the south side of the Village will receive their first stormwater charges on January 2, 2013.
  • Properties on the north side of the Village will receive their first stormwater charges on February 1, 2013.

Property owners and tenants are jointly responsible for paying the bills.

Utility bill payments will be applied toward the stormwater utility fee first, then to any water charges.

Outstanding utility bill balances that remain unpaid for 45 days may result in the shut-off of water service. The Village may also place a lien against the property.

Credits and Incentives

Opportunities exist for customers to reduce their stormwater fees by applying for an INCENTIVE or CREDIT.

Incentives

An incentive is a one-time reduction in the stormwater utility fee, applied to a customer's account balance. It is offered to assist property owners with the cost of materials, construction and installation of qualifying stormwater facilities.

Incentives are available for qualifying rain barrels, rain gardens, permeable pavers and other projects that reduce the total volume or peak volume of stormwater, and/or improve the quality of stormwater leaving a parcel. Examples include green roofs, cisterns and Best Management Practices outlined in the Village Stormwater Credit and Incentive Manual. 

Incentive amounts are as follows:

Table 5: Stormwater utility incentives.
Type Amount
Rain Barrel $25 per property
Rain Garden $250 per property
Permeable Pavers $300 per property
Other Projects 30% up to $300 per property

Credits

A CREDIT is an ongoing reduction in the amount of stormwater fees assessed to a parcel in recognition of on site systems, facilities, or other actions taken to reduce the impact of stormwater runoff, in compliance with the Village Stormwater Credit and Incentive Manual (Application forms included). 

There are six types of credits available, subject to the maximum levels shown.

Table 6: Stormwater utility credits.
Control Activity Stormwater Fee Credit
Site Run-off Rate Reduction
(detention basin)
Up to 20%
Volume Reduction
(retention basin, permeable pavement,
cisterns, etc.)
Up to 20%
Water Quality
(Best Management Practices- BMPs)
Up to 10%
Direct Discharge
(outside and downstream of the Village's
stormwater system)
Up to 50%
Education Up to 100%
Partnership (provide land/facilities to
Village to manage stormwater)
Up to 100%

Appeals

Decisions affecting stormwater fees including the classification of the parcel, the amount of impervious area, the calculation of the stormwater utility fee, and granting of credits and incentives will be made by the Village's stormwater administrator.

These decisions may be appealed by submitting a written request to the Village Manager. Parcel owners may further appeal the decision of the Village Manager by submitting an application to the Stormwater & Floodplain Oversight Committee. Decisions by the Stormwater & Floodplain Oversight Committee are final.

Background/Stormwater Utility Model

Stormwater originates from rain or melting snow, or other activities involving outdoor water use such as car washing or hosing off the driveway or sidewalk. Water that does not soak into the ground becomes run-off. Every property generates run-off and benefits from the Village infrastructure system that manages stormwater.

The utility model represents an equitable method to collect revenue from those properties that place a demand on the system. Revenue is generated by charging all property owners a monthly stormwater fee, based on the property's impact to the stormwater system. 

There are multiple benefits to implementing a fee based system:

  • All properties in the Village share in the cost of operating and maintaining the stormwater system.
  • Fees provide a predictable and sustainable funding source.
  • A heightened sense of awareness of the stormwater management system is created.
  • Property owners are encouraged to reduce the mount of run-off from their property by installing rain barrels, rain gardens and detention basins, and may be eligible for a credit to their stormwater fee.

Revenues generated by the fee will be allocated to the maintenance and operating costs of the stormwater infrastructure system, which consists of:

  • Approximately 7,000 drainage structures
  • 315 stormwater detention facilities
  • 130 miles of storm sewer pipes
  • 12 miles of streams
  • 140 miles of roadway ditches
  • 47,000 feet of culverts. 

Prior to the Stormwater Utility, operating costs for the stormwater system were funded primarily through property taxes. Shifting the source of funding to a utility/fee based system will result in a reduction in the property tax levy by approximately $2.48 million, beginning with the 2012 levy (collected in 2013).  

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