Stormwater Utility Fee
The Town of Pepperell was recently issued a new permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s). The terms of the permit began on July 1, 2018 and will continue for the next five years. New permits are expected to be issued every five years after that. The permit will require the Town, an MS4 permittee, to manage its’ municipal drainage system to assure the protection of water quality throughout the community and within the receiving waters. This permit will significantly increase the work the Town of Pepperell must perform to meet the requirements. It is important to note that the MS4 permits are issued by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and this program is in force nationwide. The permits have been in place for most other MA communities for over thirteen years, and this is the second issuance of the MS4 permit. Newly regulated communities such as Pepperell have a significant amount of work to do to come into full compliance with the permit terms in a short five-year window. In order to meet these new permit requirements, the Town of Pepperell voted to establish a Storm Water Enterprise Fund to function as a stormwater utility.
Beginning in February 2019, the Town of Pepperell will begin issuing a Storm Water Utility fee to all town parcels. The fee will be assessed quarterly and will be included on your Water and Sewer billing. If you do not currently receive a Water/Sewer bill, you will still receive an invoice for the Storm Water portion only.
Every parcel in Town will be assessed a flat quarterly fee estimated to be $15.00. The purpose of this fee is to generate adequate funding to comply with the recently issued NPDES MS4 permit from the EPA. There are many tasks that must be completed on an annual basis, including but not limited to:
• Clean & inspect municipal storm lines and drainage infrastructure
• Perform public education & outreach to various target audiences
• Inspection & sampling of stormwater at outfalls
• Develop a system-wide Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination (IDDE) program
• Develop & implement a Storm Water Management Plan (SWMP)
• Develop & implement a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) for all municipal sites
• Map the storm drainage system and identify catchment areas associated with the outfalls
• Benchmark & evaluate the effectiveness of mitigation efforts
• Prepare & file annual report with EPA
Beginning in August 2020, those customers who are billed for Stormwater only began receiving an annual bill rather than four quarterly bills. The reason for the change was the result of several requests by Stormwater only customers. Now that the first annual bill has been issued, questions are being raised as to the time period the bill covers.
The Stormwater Enterprise Fund was approved by Town vote at the Special Town meeting held on October 1, 2018 and officially established in November 1, 2018. The first billing, which was a quarterly bill, was sent to all customers on or around February 1, 2019 and covered the period from November 1, 2018 to January 31, 2019. Bills were then issued every quarter in May, August, November and February which covered the previous three months. (Example: The May bill covered the months of February, March and April; The August bill covered months May, June and July; The November bill covered months August, September October.)
Over the last year, we have received several requests from our Stormwater only customers that they would prefer to receive one annual bill for $60.00 rather than four quarterly bills for $15.00 each.
As a result of those requests, we began annual bills for the Stormwater only customers in August 2020.
Questions have been asked regarding the time period that the $60.00 amount covers.
Similar to the quarterly bill cycle, which receives four quarterly bills in August, November, February and May and covers the period between May 1 through April 30, three months for each quarterly bill as describe above, the $60.00 annual bill issued in August covers the same twelve-month period. Annual bills, unlike the quarterly bills will only be issued once per year in August.
Annual billing Examples:
Bill Issued: August 2020
Period covered May 1, 2020 through April 30 2021
Bill Issued: August 2021
Period covered May 1, 2021 through April 30 2022