City of Albany Stormwater Utility
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- Last Updated: February 1, 2017 February 1, 2017
Stormwater management and how to fund it has been the subject of numerous City Council work sessions since January 2015. The purpose of these discussions has been to learn more about stormwater operation and maintenance needs, funding options, the pending state and federal stormwater regulations being imposed on Albany and the City’s ability to respond. The conclusion is that stormwater management has and will continue to be a significant need of the City. Unlike most larger cities in Oregon, Albany has not had a dedicated funding source for stormwater services. Without dedicated funding, Albany has struggled to comply with tightening regulatory requirements and to maintain approximately 128 miles of stormwater pipes, 70 miles of ditches, 4,200 catch basins, and other stormwater facilities.
In November 2015, the Council reviewed numerous funding options and decided the utility approach warranted further consideration. Like our water and sewer programs that are supported by dedicated fees for services, stormwater is an important part of the City’s infrastructure. In March 2016, the Council reviewed a tentative implementation schedule and public outreach strategy that could lead to implementing a service charge in early 2017. Much of 2016 was spent further reviewing system needs, considering rate structure alternatives, conducting public outreach, and evaluating program funding levels. The City Council passed a stormwater service charge on November 9, 2016. Please explore this website to learn more.
Albany is a growing community. Past and future development of land (in the form of roads, parking lots, buildings, etc.) results in more and more impervious surface area. These surfaces prevent water from soaking into the ground and cause a significant increase in the volume of water that runs off the land when it rains. This runoff also contains pollution which affects the water quality of local waterways and ultimately the Calapooia and Willamette Rivers. This pollution is the focus of state and federal stormwater regulations. In Albany, most stormwater flows from private property to a stormwater grate in the street where it drops into a pipe and is carried, untreated, to the nearest waterway. The network of stormwater pipes is completely separate from the sewer system. These stormwater pipes must be maintained and replaced over time, just like pipes for the water and sewer systems. Stormwater infrastructure needs, maintenance requirements, and regulatory compliance put an additional financial burden on Albany that cannot be met with current funding. Over the last 25 years, many Oregon communities have implemented service charges to fund stormwater management and comply with regulatory requirements. In fact, approximately 40 communities in Oregon already have stormwater utilities with service charges (user fees), including Lebanon and Corvallis. Albany is the last community of its size in Oregon without a dedicated stormwater funding source. The Albany City Council is considering the stormwater utility and user fee concept for the City for potential implementation in 2017.
This website was created as a resource for you to learn more about Albany’s stormwater system and what implementing a utility and user fees could mean. To learn more: