The Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance establishing the City’s stormwater utility and its fee structure at the February 2008 meeting.
As mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Stormwater Phase II program requirements, the City was required to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
Phase II stormwater permit from the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC)
. Permit requirements include system-wide erosion and sediment controls, pollution control, and public education initiatives. The stormwater utility will serve as an alternative to increasing taxes to meet the added expense of funding these requirements set by the federal government. The utility will apply only to properties inside the corporate limits of the city.
Alcoa residences and businesses will see stormwater fees appear on their April 1, 2008 bills at a rate of $3 per month for Residential Units and $4 per Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) per month for Commercial Units. For the City of Alcoa, one ERU equals 2,696 square feet of impervious surface, an area where water does not permeate the ground such as a driveway.
Alcoa’s stormwater utility is similar to many across the southeast that have been or are in the process of being adopted. To help facilitate federal stormwater compliance, creating a stormwater utility provides a long-term, stable funding source for unfunded stormwater mandates from the Clean Water Act
. Unlike a tax that could fund any number of city projects, all stormwater fees collected can only be used for stormwater related programs.