Stormwater Utility


The Town of Wake Forest is pursuing a more proactive approach to stormwater management due to increasingly stringent unfunded stormwater regulations under the MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) Permit and NPDES regulations created by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and subsequently adopted by the NC Department of Environmental Quality (NCDEQ).

NPDES stands for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, which is a permit program administered by individual states that controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waterways. The Town of Wake Forest must meet the stormwater permitting requirements set forth by these entities.

However, it is the Town's goal to not only meet these new permitting requirements, but to also provide current and future residents with a stormwater management program that will protect our drainage infrastructure, improve the efficiency of the overall drainage system, and ultimately enhance the local environment.

Stormwater Utility Fee

To meet the funding needs for a new Stormwater Management Program, the Town's Board of Commissioners approved a new Stormwater Utility that'll go into effect July 2024. The new utility fee will appear as a line item on each property's tax bill. 

A stormwater utility fee is a fee charged to property owners to help fund the management and maintenance of stormwater infrastructure and associated drainage systems.  The fee is based on the amount of impervious surface on a property, such as roofs, driveways, and parking lots that contribute to the generation of stormwater runoff. 

Benefits of a Stormwater Utility Fee

Below is a summary of some of the many benefits a stormwater utility fee may provide:

  1. Improved Water Quality
    Stormwater runoff can carry pollutants and contaminants into local waterways, which can harm aquatic life and degrade water quality. The fee helps fund a stormwater management program that can help educate residents on clean water practices and implement programs which aim to reduce pollutants.

  2. Reduced Flooding
    Properly maintained stormwater systems can help reduce the likelihood of flooding during heavy rainfall events, protecting properties and infrastructure from damage.

  3. Increased Sustainability
    Stormwater Management Programs often include green infrastructure practices, such as rain gardens, bioretention areas, and permeable pavers to help absorb and filter stormwater runoff, reducing the burden on traditional stormwater infrastructure and promoting more sustainable land use practices.

  4. Fairness
    The fee is typically structured so that those who generate more stormwater runoff, due to larger impervious surfaces, pay more of the cost of managing and maintaining the stormwater infrastructure. This helps ensure that the cost burden is distributed fairly among property owners based on the level of impact on the system.

A stormwater utility fee can help ensure that the community‚Äôs stormwater infrastructure is being properly maintained and managed, benefitting the environment, public health, and our local economy.