Stormwater Rate FAQ
It is the goal of the City of Yelm to keep stormwater utility rates as low as possible for our customers. Stormwater utility rates ensure safe management of runoff from roads, driveways, parking lots, rooftops and other surfaces that prevent water from soaking into the ground or into our landscape during storms.
What is a Stormwater Utility?
Stormwater is an enterprise funded utility. This means that any funds collected as stormwater fees and charges must be used to fund stormwater management activities. This utility is responsible for funding the operation, system planning, construction, and maintenance of stormwater management devices.
How much is my stormwater service charge?
Effective January 1, 2019, stormwater monthly service charges will be $8.50 per single family residency. These rates will properly support the utility and will increase each year for three years to catch-up to actual operating & capital costs the City incurs.
What is polluted stormwater runoff?
Stormwater runoff is the number one cause of stream pollution in urban areas. It is created when rain falls on roads, driveways, parking lots, rooftops, and other paved surfaces and picks up the chemicals, oil, grease, fertilizers, animal waste, litter, pesticides, and other toxins from our cars and buildings.
How is the stormwater utility funded?
The Stormwater Utility is funded throgh monthly service charges paid by all customers owning developed property in Yelm. This charge is included on the utility bill customers receive every month. Grant opportunities from state and federal agencies are pursued to help fund planning efforts and capital construction projects.
We do not maintain facilities located on private property, or facilities that fall under the jurisdiction of other governmental entity. However, the City must ensure that all private facilities are maintained and operating as designed to prevent impacts to your groundwater and drinking water.
What is a stormwater management system?
Roads, driveways, parking lots, rooftops and other surfaces prevent water from soaking into the ground or into our landscape during storms. Stormwater control measures are designed to manage the polluted water from contaminating drinking water sources, manage treatment of contaminants and control any potential flooding.
What is the city's responsibility for stormwater?
The City is responsible for managing all aspects of stormwater within city boundaries. The city operates and maintains drainage facilities located within the public right of way or public easements.
Why are stormwater rate adjustments necessary?
From 1999-2017, the stormwater utility collected a monthly service charge of $2.50 per single family residency. Multi-family is charged $1.25 per unit, and Commercial properties were charged a flat fee of $4.00 plus an additional fee based on the amount of impervious surface on the property. This fee had not been changed since it was adopted into Yelm Municipal Code in 1999.
Stormwater utility revenues did not cover expenses. The Street fund, which is a General Fund account, was used to subsidize stormwater maintenance activities (approximately $200,000 annually) instead of funding federally required stormwater operations and maintenance.
Other important components of this program include:
- Monitoring and reduction of illicit discharges and pollutants.
- Development and implementation of stormwater design standards and regulations.
- Field inspections and enforcement of these standards.
- Regular maintenance and repair of the City’s stormwater system.
- Construction of stormwater infrastructure as required with capital improvement projects.
Public information and education concerning stormwater issues.
Why is stormwater a problem?