What is stormwater?
Stormwater includes rain and melted water runoff (i.e. collected in culverts, collection pipes, ditches and storm ponds). Stormwater services ensure stormwater is safely transported throughout the city to protect roads, properties and local waterways, to avoid flooding and erosion. All City residents benefit from stormwater management.
Is the stormwater charge new for connected properties?
No. Connected properties are already paying for stormwater services through the sewer surcharge on their water bill. The changes proposed will more transparently reflect the services properties are paying for.
Why is there a new stormwater fee?
After 2001, 100% of the stormwater fee was only charged on water bills, which means non-connected properties did not pay the fee.
A new rate structure was developed to be fair and equitable and ensure sustainable funding to keep water delivery assets in good repair (i.e. maintaining infrastructure and water quality).
I don’t receive a water bill from the City. How will I be billed for stormwater?
The stormwater charge will be added to the final property tax bill in May, 2017.
How is the stormwater charge calculated?
The stormwater rate will vary, depending on the following components:
- Property type - Residential vs. ICI (Industrial, Commercial, Institutional)
- Stormwater service area – Urban vs. Rural
- Stormwater service type - Connected vs. Non-connected
To achieve an equitable distribution, the stormwater rates are based on the total estimated hard surface area between Residential properties and Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) properties (67% Residential and 33% ICI).
Residential & Multi-Residential (6+ units) - All residential and multi-residential properties will be defined as having a combination of the following characteristics:
- Property type (single/semi-detached or townhouse/apartment)
- Service area (urban or rural)
- Service type (connected or non-connected)
The stormwater rate is calculated by applying the following discounts from the base rate:
- Townhouse/apartment receive a 50% discount
- Urban non-connected properties receive a 30% discount
- Rural non-connected properties receive a 50% discount
For residential properties with more than one unit, the stormwater fee is charged per dwelling unit.
Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) - All ICI properties will be defined as having a combination of the following characteristics:
- Assessment Range (based on Current Year Assessment Value)
- Service Area (Urban or Rural)
- Service Type (Connected or Non-Connected)
The stormwater charge for ICI properties will be calculated based on current year assessed property value as returned by MPAC annually. Unlike residential properties, the impervious areas of ICI properties are extremely diverse, making it virtually impossible to establish fair averages. Assessment value is considered to be a reasonable proxy for property size.
The stormwater rates for ICI will be a flat fee based on assessment ranges.
ICI properties not connected to City wastewater services will receive a 30% discount on their stormwater charge.
How will the new stormwater fee be charged?
Non-connected: Properties that do not receive a water bill and are not connected to wastewater (approx. 32,000 properties, predominantly rural) will have the stormwater fee included on their 2017 final property tax bill. The fee for non-connected properties will be phased in over the next four years to allow time to adjust:
2017 - 25% 2018 – 50% 2019 – 75% 2020 – 100%
Connected: Properties that receive a water bill will see the stormwater fee identified on their water bills beginning in 2018.
How are properties classified?
All property types are assigned a property code (type) by MPAC.
I believe I have an incorrect property type. Can I appeal?
You may apply directly to MPAC for a correction.
I believe I have an incorrect assessed property value. Can I appeal?
You may apply directly to MPAC for a correction.
Can I appeal the stormwater fee charged by the City?
Assessment code and value are used as a “proxy” for impervious land; this is captured once a year and is used to determine the property’s stormwater charge. The stormwater fees charged by the City cannot be appealed, however will be adjusted for the following year’s fee if assessment and/or property types are corrected by MPAC.
My property includes a municipal drain. Will the changes to the rate structure affect my municipal drain fees?
Municipal drains are part of a separate Provincial regime. The changes to the City’s rate structure have no impact on municipal drains.
How can residents request ditch/culvert maintenance?
Residents can submit a request for ditch maintenance online through Ottawa.ca, or call 311 to input a service request which will be forwarded to the Environmental Services Stormwater group for attention.
Why are there no discount/grants for rain barrels?
Staff have been directed by Council to review Municipal best practices for credits for Stormwater management controls on individual properties including those that recognize rain barrels, trees, cisterns, permeable driveways and/or those other engineered landscape controls, and report back on their findings as a part of the next term of Council’s Long Range Financial Plan for rate-supported programs.
How does meter size affect the stormwater fee?
Meter size has no impact on the stormwater fee.
Meter size will impact the new water and wastewater fixed charges in 2018.
How was the new stormwater fee communicated to affected property owners?
Residents were involved in the development of the new structure through public consultations and an online survey in 2016. On October 26, 2016, Council adopted the new Water, Wastewater and Stormwater Rate Structure.
Communications have included: Ottawa.ca and a pamphlet in 2017 interim tax bills. Letters were mailed to affected property owners who do not receive an interim property tax bill or who pay via mortgages. Posters have been erected in rural facilities (libraries, recreation centres, constituency offices, Client Service Centres). There will be ads in rural community newspapers beginning June 1, 2017. A pamphlet will be included in all 2017 final property tax bills.
How will my water bill change?
The impact of the new water and wastewater rate changes will depend on how much water you use and the size of your water meter. The water and wastewater rates do not differ between residential and non-residential properties.
The impact of the new stormwater rate will depend on:
- Residential & Multi-residential properties - property category, service area, and service type (whether you are connected to City wastewater services or have a private septic system).
- Industrial, Commercial and Institutional (ICI) properties – assessment range, service area, and service type (whether you are connected to City wastewater services or have a private septic system).
My utilities are included in my rent. Will these changes affect me?
Changes in utility costs to your property owner may have an impact on your rent. Ask your property owner for more details.
For most multi-residential properties, the impact of the new rate structure will be minimal and may actually reduce monthly charges due to the economies of sharing one fixed cost for one meter for multiple units and the fact that the stormwater charge would be half that of the single and semi-detached homes.