Baltimore City Department of Public Works (DPW) recently announced several changes to the City’s Storwmater Remediation Fee, based on citizen feedback. Blue Water Baltimore supports these policy changes, and appreciates DPW’s approach to making changes, which include:
- Tax-exempt veterans’ organizations are now exempt from paying the stormwater fee;
- Charitable, nonprofit organizations may be eligible for an exemption if they can show a financial hardship and have an approved Alternative Compliance Plan;
- Streets in cemeteries that are privately maintained and open to the public are exempt;
- The number of volunteer hours needed to receive a $10 Participation Event credit has been reduced to 4 hours
- Rain barrels (of at least 50 gallon capacity) are now eligible for a one-time $25 credit
- The credit for trees has been increased from $3 to $5 (two trees planted)
Often called the “Rain Tax” the Stormwater Remediation Fee is based on how much hard surface – like driveway, parking lot or rooftop – exists on a property. Funds from this fee can be used for a variety of practices aimed at reducing trash and filtering rainwater before it rushes into nearby streams. Opportunities abound in Baltimore for these kinds of practices, collectively called “Green Infrastructure” because they use trees, plants and soils to capture and treat polluted rain runoff. Blue Water Baltimore supports funding for such projects because often the benefits reach far beyond water quality.
Every day, Blue Water Baltimore staff members work in Baltimore neighborhoods and see the benefits Green Infrastructure can provide communities. These benefits improve the environmental health of Baltimore through simple solutions like greater shade from trees, which can lower energy bills and moderate high summer temperatures. Green Infrastructure can also reduce pollution flowing into our streams and the harbor, and can improve air quality, which can lead to better health outcomes for those who suffer from asthma or other respiratory challenges.
For more information on Baltimore City’s Stormwater Utility Fee, including recent policy changes, please click the link.
To take action with Blue Water Baltimore as a volunteer or financial supporter as we continue to advocate for improved environmental policies, please click here.