To report an illegal discharge or accidental spill of chemicals/pollutants into the town’s storm sewer system call the North East Police Department at 410-287-5996.
Timeline of the Permit & Establishment of the Utility
April 2018 – Permit Issued by MDE
On April 27, 2018 the Maryland Department of the Environment made a final determination to include the Town of North East in its Phase II, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System General Permit for Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems General Discharge Permit. The legal framework for permit requirements is outlined in the federal Clean Water Act (CWA), Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Section 122 pertaining to NPDES MS4 programs. Because the Town was identified as a qualified entity by the Maryland Department of the Environment, it is required to obtain a permit to discharge storm water into waterways covered by the federal CWA.
The Town of North East was required to file a Municipal Small MS4 Notice of Intent by October 31, 2018. The Notice of Intent constitutes notice that the Town intends to comply with all the terms and conditions of the permit. The Town’s NOI can be viewed by clicking here.
August 2018 – Study Commissioned
In August 2018, the Town contracted with Soltesz, LLC of Lanham Maryland to undertake a Storm Water Management Study to determine the amount of storm water the Town is required to mitigate under the terms of the permit. The report was completed in April of 2019.
The Soltesz report identified the Town needs to treat run off from 26.100 acres by the expiration of the permit in October 2023. The report identified potential ways the Town could meet the 26.100 acre requirement and potential costs under each strategy.
The Soltesz report goes on to identify ways for the Town to fund a storm water management program. The two funding mechanisms available are a tax increase or the creation of a storm water management utility and fee. The average cost to treat an acre of storm water is $50,000. The report modeled both a tax increase and a storm water fee based on that average. In order to raise sufficient funds, the Town would have to raise the real property tax rate by $0.14 per $100 of assessed value. This would result in tax increase on a residential property assessed at $200,000 of $267 per year. Alternatively, if a storm water fee were to be assessed, the cost to a residential rate payer would be $64 annually according to the report.
The full MS4 General Permit Baseline Establishment Report prepared by Soltesz, LLC can be viewed by clicking here.
May 2019 – Storm Water Utility Established
After reviewing the report prepared by Soltesz, the Mayor and Commissioners held a work session on April 24, 2019 which was open to the public. At that work session, the Mayor and Commissioners reviewed the proposed FY 2020 Storm Water Management Budget of $412,013 and associated fees of $64 per equivalent residential unit which was based on the Soltesz report.
The Mayor and Commissioners on the advice of Town staff decided to reduce the FY 2020 proposed budget to $160,000 recognizing that the probability of being able to start any project in FY 2020 was almost zero. This is due to the fact that a project would need to be engineered and then certified by the Maryland Department of the Environment to ensure it would result in the appropriate credit towards the Town’s MS4 permit requirements.
The Mayor and Commissioners then went on to discuss how the storm water management fee should be apportioned. The options as outlined in the report were a flat fee for single family residential properties and a per equivalent residential unit for non-single family residential properties.
A per parcel fee to cover administrative costs plus a flat fee for single family residential properties and a per equivalent residential unit for non-single family residential properties.
After discussion, the Mayor and Commissioners decided to go with the first option because it is consistent with how the Town calculates minimum water bills. This made the storm water management fee $5.60 per quarter per ERU.
On May 8, 2019, Ordinance 2019-05-01 was introduced to establish a storm water utility in the Town of North East. On May 22, 2019 the Mayor and Commissioners held a public hearing on the proposed ordinance and voted to approve the ordinance with an effective date of July 1, 2019.