WVSA Stormwater Management Vision
Aging stormwater infrastructure and increasing regulatory obligations are placing an increased
burden on municipalities in the Wyoming Valley Region. A stormwater authority through WVSA provides
opportunities for streamlined regulations, economies of scale, strategic partnerships and a more
equitable distribution of costs amongst property owners benefiting from stormwater service.
Initially, WVSA will serve as the
MS4 Permit Administrator
for municipalities within its service area and
provide regulatory support through the following services:
Preparation of a Regional Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction Plan (PRP) and Watershed Based PRPs
for submission by municipalities to Department of Environmental Protection (due September 2017).
Design, implementation and ownership of Best Management Practices (BMPs) outlined in the PRP
(implementation of BMPs must be complete by March 2023).
Operation and maintenance of BMPs installed by WVSA.
System-wide mapping of separate stormwater infrastructure (including Pollution Control Measures
(PCMs) included as part of Appendix A and Appendix C of various MS4 permits held by individual
Completion of all efforts necessary for municipalities to comply with Minimum Control Measures (MCM)
#1(Public Education), #2 (Public Involvement) and #6 (Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping).
Completion of mapping activities and regional training for municipal staff related to MCM #3 (Illicit
Development of standard ordinances relative to MCM #5 (Post-Construction Runoff Control).
Provision of emergency operation and maintenance support to municipalities relative to separate
storm sewer system operation.
Provision of funding to municipalities to support repair, rehabilitate and replace existing stormwater
infrastructure, or the implementation of local BMPs (currently assumed to be $10/year/ERU).
Development of two to four regional stormwater parks in the Wyoming Valley Region.
Provide documentation to municipalities relative to BMP implementation of MCMs completed by
WVSA for use by the municipalities in submitting annual MS4 Status Update Reports. Provide
additional guidance to municipalities relative annual MS4 reporting requirements.
Increasing Regulatory Requirements
As the result of The Chesapeake Bay Agreement of 1983, The United States Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA) has mandated the governance of stormwater and reduction of pollutants entering the
Chesapeake Bay. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) ensures affected
municipalities satisfy these mandates through the imposition of Municipal Separate Storm Sewer
(MS4) permits, first issued in 2003.
New requirements of the 2018 MS4 Permit
include the following:
1. Implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) by 2023 to reduce sediment pollution from
each municipality by 10%, phosphorus by 5% and nitrogen by 3%.
2. Implementation of BMP’s by 2023 to reduce pollution in the drainage area of impaired waterways
in each municipality.
3. Complete Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction Planning and impaired water pollution reduction
planning by September 2017.
4. Complete mapping of stormwater infrastructure for use in developing PRPs.
5. Complete Pollution Control Measure (PCM) mapping and analysis (related to acid mine drainage
and priority organic compounds.)
6. Develop adequate staffing and funding to complete the above items while continuing to
implement the six Minimum Control Measures, and submit annual Status Update Reports.
MS4 permits are renewed in five year cycles. It is assumed that requirements of the permit will
continue to increase in future years and will be supported via WVSA. Current permit requirements are
an unfunded mandate which would place a significant strain on municipal budgets.
Benefits of Regionalization
Regional stormwater management enables watershed based planning and implementation; a more
holistic solution to stormwater management problems at a fraction of the cost.
Under a “per municipal” approach to MS4 permit compliance, each municipality would bear the
cost of developing their own pollution reduction plans and siting BMPs within their municipality,
and within the drainage area of impaired waterways, in order to ensure the required pollutant
load reductions (10% sediment, 5% phosphorus and 3% nitrogen) are met.
Under a regional approach in Wyoming Valley, DEP will accept a single Chesapeake Bay
pollution reduction plan for all 36 municipalities and six watershed based plans for the Region.
If a municipality were to complete Pollution Reduction Planning and implementation on their own,
they are limited to the available land in their municipality and, in many cases, in the drainage area of
an impaired stream. A regional plan provides significant flexibility in that the BMPs may be located
anywhere within the watershed. This provides the opportunity to site and select BMP’s in ways which
provide the greatest pollutant reduction for the lowest cost. In the case of the Wyoming Valley
regional Pollution Reduction Planning results in a reduced number of required BMP’s for
permit compliance which cuts the average cost per municipality by more than half.
The region will experience additional savings as economies of scale are realized in tackling MCM’s,
and fixed administrative costs are spread over a larger number of property owners. In future years, a
regional approach to existing infrastructure operation, maintenance and improvements will yield
even more cost savings.
Cost Effective Stormwater Management Solutions
The initial cost for a municipality in the Wyoming Valley Region to implement the proposed
stormwater management program on their own is at least double
and in some instances
significantly more, than the cost of a regional approach.
In considering operation, maintenance and
improvement costs relative to stormwater over the next 20 years,
municipal leaders can save their
community over 1/2 the cost by opting into WVSA’s regional approach.
Relying on general tax revenue for stormwater improvements isn’t practical for most communities.
WVSA’s stormwater management fee will provide a steady, dedicated revenue stream for
stormwater improvements, allowing municipal leaders to redirect tax revenue to other needs of their
Equitable Funding of Stormwater Needs
Stormwater fees charged directly to property owners fairly apportion cost of stormwater service to
properties benefitting from the service. Fees are based on a property’s impervious area which better
correlates to the quantity or quality of stormwater runoff leaving a property, as compared to
assessed property value. Fees are charged to all property owners of developed parcels, even tax
The result is an additional savings to residential property owners, as high as 57% in WVSA’s
, when compared to paying for stormwater through taxes.
WVSA anticipates commencing stormwater fee billing in mid- 2018.
The fee for an average
residential property is estimated to be $3.00 - $4.50 per month
. Fees will be set through a rate study
completed following the development of impervious area estimates.
WVSA is partnering with key stakeholders in the region to implement stormwater solutions at a
reduced cost. Initial stakeholders include:
Luzerne County Flood Prevention Authority (FPA)
- Collaborating with the FPA to implement BMPs is a
strategic opportunity to treat stormwater runoff in a centralized location, and yields significant cost
savings compared to implementing small BMPs throughout the municipalities.
United States Amy Corps of Engineers (USACE)
- WVSA is entering into a
partnership with the USACE to provide long term, multi-year grant
financing in the form of technical assistance related to storm sewer
mapping, infrastructure analysis and condition assessment. The
partnership includes a 50/50 cost share, enabling the Authority to
perform services at a reduced cost than if the municipalities were to
do so individually.
- DEP sees WVSA’s approach to regional stormwater management to be a strategic and
forward thinking solution to improve water quality for a fraction of the cost, while reducing the
burden placed on individual municipalities. DEP requirements in order for a municipality to
participate in WVSA’s regional Pollution Reduction Plan include entering into an Intermunicipal
Cooperation Agreement with WVSA and sharing in plan preparation costs, set by WVSA to be $3,000
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why has the importance and cost of stormwater management increased?
In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is charged with regulating stormwater
pursuant to the Clean Water Act (CWA). Portions of the stormwater requirements of the federal CWA are
administered under the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s Municipal Separate
Storm Sewer (MS4) Program. As part of their 2018 MS4 permit, municipalities in the Wyoming Valley
Region a faced with new unfunded mandates, requiring them to spend considerably more money over
the five year permit cycle than ever before to improve water quality, both local streams and the
2. What aspects of stormwater have to be addressed to meet these new regulations?
Municipalities are required to complete pollutant reduction planning (PRP) and implement Best
Management Practices to reduce pollution loadings entering local waterways and eventually the
Chesapeake Bay. Over the 2018 MS4 Permit term (2018-2022) municipalities will be required to reduce
sediment by 10%, phosphorus by 5% and nitrogen by 3%. In order to complete the PRP, municipalities
must have the separate storm sewer systems mapped. Additional Pollution Control Measures (PCMs)
much be completed by thirty municipalities in WVSA’s service area relative to mapping, testing and
analysis related to acid mine drainage and priority organic compounds.
3. How can the 2018 pollution reduction requirements be met?
Requirements to reduce pollutants are met through Best Management
Practices (BMPs). BMPs are used to protect water quality, enhance
water availability and reduce flooding potential through effective
stormwater management. Examples of structural BMPs include, but are
not limited to, wet ponds, constructed wetlands, permeable
pavement, riparian buffers, and stream restoration.
4. Who is responsible for undertaking these projects?
Municipalities who are designated as MS4 Permit holders are required to complete all aspects of the
permit, unless delegated to another responsible entity, such as a municipal authority.
5. Why is WVSA involved?
As regulatory requirements and the cost of compliance increase, finding ways to reduce costs through
regional collaboration, sharing of resources and economies of scale becomes vital. WVSA will relieve
municipalities of the time and expense relative to:
Pollution Reduction Planning
BMP implementation, operation & maintenance
Impervious area development
Pollution Control Measure requirements
Various Minimum Control Measures (refer to WVSA Stormwater Management Vision)
The use of WVSA as the regional stormwater authority allows the municipalities to garner
efficiencies in the use of a trained staff, equipment and knowledge of how to operate and
manage a regional authority. WVSA has a working relationship with the municipalities, DEP, state
legislators and have a proven track record for meeting permit limits and implementing large scale
capital improvements driven by regulatory requirements. WVSA may assume an expanded role in the
future which includes operation, maintenance and improvements to existing storm sewer systems, along
with meeting additional regulatory requirements anticipated in the future
6. How will costs be reduced by undertaking a regional approach to stormwater management?
DEP will streamline regulatory requirements for a regional approach, allowing WVSA to site BMPs over a
larger geographical area than if a municipality were to tackle pollution reduction planning on their own.
Frequently Asked Questions
This will provide more flexibility for WVSA to site projects on publically available land, and chose BMP’s
which provide the greatest pollutant reduction for the lowest cost.
WVSA will also enable the region to benefit from economies of scale and strategic partnerships with
entities such as the Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority and the USACE, which will provide millions
of dollars worth of cost savings to the region over the 2018 permit cycle.
The initial cost for a municipality
in the Wyoming Valley Region to implement the proposed stormwater management program on their
own is double, and in some cases significantly more, than the cost of a regional approach.
As a municipal authority, WVSA has the opportunity to charge stormwater fees, which is a more equitable
way to allocate the growing costs of stormwater management throughout the community, based upon
7. What is all of this going to cost?
All stormwater revenue will be placed into a dedicated fund used only for the operation, maintenance,
and improvement of stormwater infrastructure. Over the first five years of the program, funds will cover
estimated costs associated with the following:
8. How will stormwater fees be set?
The fee will be based on the amount of impervious surface on a property (rooftops, parking lots,
driveways, etc.) that inhibits infiltration of rainfall into the soil. Single family residential properties will likely
be billed a tiered flat rate, while non-residential properties are billed based on the actual amount of
impervious surface on their property.
9. Is there a way for property owners to reduce their fee?
Yes. It is the intent that WVSA’s Stormwater Management Fee Rules and Procedures will allow for credits.
Credits are a monthly percent reduction in the Stormwater Management Fee for having and maintaining
infrastructure which reduces the quantity or improves the quality of stormwater leaving a property.
10. What is the anticipated stormwater fee?
All property owners with impervious surfaces on their property will pay a fee. The amount will differ
between residential and non-residential properties. The residential properties will likely be billed a tiered
flat rate in which one Equivalent Runoff Unit (ERU) is anticipated to be billed $3.00 - $4.50 per month.
Non-residential properties will pay a multiple of the ERU based on the amount of impervious surface on
11. Why is paying a stormwater fee more equitable than property tax?
A stormwater fee based upon impervious area is more equitable because properties that create more
stormwater runoff pay more, and properties that create less stormwater runoff pay less. Empirical
studies show impervious area provides the best correlation to the quantity or quality of runoff leaving a
property; as opposed to assessed property value. In addition, all developed properties contribute
stormwater runoff and should pay the stormwater fee; however, some properties are exempt from
taxes. The general result is an additional savings to residential property owners of roughly 55% - 75% in
paying for stormwater management through a fee as opposed to a tax.
12. When can I expect this fee to be enacted?
Implementation of billing is expected to occur in mid-2018 to early 2019.
Regulatory compliance ($25 million)
O&M of installed BMPs ($1 million)
Program administration ($5 million)
Stormwater parks ($3 million)
Emergency O&M services for municipalities ($8 million)
Best Management Practice
Clean Water Act
Department of Environmental Protection
Environmental Protection Agency
Equivalent Runoff Unit
Flood Prevention Authority
Multiple Separate Storm Sewer System
Operation and Maintenance
Pollution Control Measure
Pollutant Reduction Plan
United Stated Army Corp of Engineers
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