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Yes, all developed property in the county is subject to the stormwater fee. It is based on the demand a property places on the stormwater management system.
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Every property in Georgetown County with 400 square feet of impervious area or more will pay a stormwater user fee. Single-family residential, multi-family residential and non-residential properties will pay the fee, including the County itself. While all developed properties will be charged a fee, it may be reduced for services provided, such as maintenance, reduction of developed flow discharges, etc., on non-residential properties. This reduction is called a credit.
The stormwater user fee is billed once a year. Property owners will see the new fee on their tax bills.
The Equivalent Runoff Unit, or ERU, is the base unit for the stormwater user fee, similar to the base unit for other utilities. An ERU is a measure of the amount of impervious surface on a property. One ERU is equal to 3,770 square feet of impervious area. This is the average amount of impervious surface found at the average single-family residence in Georgetown County. The charge for one ERU will be $52 per year.
Residential properties will pay $52 per year, for one Equivalent Runoff Unit (ERU).
All non-single-family residential (NSFR) properties will be charged on the basis of measured impervious area rounded up to the next whole Equivalent Runoff Unit (ERU). Thus the number of ERUs on any NSFR property is equal to the total impervious area divided by 3,770 square feet and rounded up to the next whole number.
Owners of property with a fee, including Georgetown County and other owners of public buildings in the unincorporated county, are required to pay the stormwater user fees.
The amount of stormwater runoff originating from individual properties is significantly increased by the amount of impervious area on each property. The impervious area consists of houses, buildings and other structures; driveways, patios, parking lots, and other manmade surfaces that do not allow precipitation to infiltrate into the ground. Pervious surfaces include grass, pasture, cropland and most undeveloped land. Impervious surfaces decrease the amount of infiltration into the ground and increase the amount of runoff that will enter the county’s stormwater system.
Over the long term, the amount of impervious area on a property is related to the amount of stormwater that flows off the property and into the nearby streams and creeks. Impervious surfaces also increase the amount of pollution that is carried by stormwater runoff that is carried into the county’s drainage system and surface waters.
Billing based on the amount of impervious surface on a property is the most equitable method to determine the fee. Impervious surfaces decrease the amount of infiltration into the ground and increase the amount of runoff that will enter the county’s stormwater system. Over the long term, the amount of impervious area on a property is related to the amount of stormwater that flows off the property and into the nearby streams and creeks.
County Council can adjust the rate by passing a change to the stormwater utility ordinance. Based on program cost estimates and rate base increases, the rate is not expected to change in the first five years of the utility.
The County used aerial photographs to measure impervious surfaces, and the calculation is accurate in almost all cases, but the technology that currently exists cannot guarantee 100% accuracy. In most cases of error, the calculated amount will err on the side of the customer.