Baltimore needs a fair stormwater pollution reduction fee

Clean waterways, a healthy Inner Harbor and a restored Chesapeake Bay improve the quality of life in the city and region.
Clean waterways, a healthy Inner Harbor and a restored Chesapeake Bay improve the quality of life in the city and region.

Stormwater runoff is a long-ignored and growing source of pollution and sediment—which hurts the quality of our streams, the harbor and the entire Chesapeake Bay—and causes flooding and property damage.  Our 2012 Healthy Harbor Report Card grade of C- illustrates the impact that stormwater pollution can have even in a relatively dry year.

Baltimore City officials are creating a fee on stormwater pollution to pay for critical improvements to the stormwater infrastructure.

Under Maryland law, Baltimore City and other jurisdictions must impose a water pollution reduction fee on owners whose properties create polluted stormwater runoff. The fee in Baltimore would be based on the amount of hard or paved services on a property.

For the average homeowner in Baltimore, the fee will be about $72 a year. Larger properties, with more paved surface, will incur a higher fee because larger properties produce more stormwater pollution.

Funds collected through the fee will be dedicated specifically to upgrading pipes and equipment and paying for job-creating projects that filter and clean water, such as planting trees and grasses, restoring streams, or installing rain gardens.

Baltimore needs a fair fee that will raise enough money to overhaul our stormwater system. The water pollution reduction fee will have a credit that encourages owners to reduce the pollution their properties cause and save on the fee. This credit would be available to homeowners, churches, businesses and other property owners.

Get Involved

If you support improving the health of our streams and making our communities safer and healthier, please contact your Baltimore City Council member before their June 11th meeting and tell them:

  1. It’s time for Baltimore to take major steps to fix its inadequate stormwater system.
  2. I support the utility fee on polluted stormwater runoff to pay for these urgently needed repairs.
  3. The fee should be applied fairly across the board to all property owners.
  4. The fee should have a credit that encourages property owners to take steps to reduce runoff from their properties; in doing so, they will improve the quality of our waterways and reduce the fee they pay.

To find your City Council representative, visit:

More Information

Healthy Harbor and Blue Water Baltimore have created a set of documents that explain the water pollution reduction fee in more detail.  Click the links below to download and read these


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