Stormwater includes rain and melted water runoff, and is 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.
Under the previous billing structure, connected properties (those that receive a water bill), were paying for stormwater services through the sewer surcharge on their water utility bill.
The stormwater rates vary, depending on the following:
- Property type - Residential or Non-Residential (Industrial, Commercial, Institutional)
- Service area – Urban or Rural
- Service type - Connected or 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) - Residential and multi-residential properties are discounted from the base rate as follows:
- 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) - ICI properties have 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 is a flat fee 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.
Rural ICI properties not connected to City wastewater services receive a 30% discount on their stormwater charge.
Can I appeal the stormwater charge?
As stormwater fees are charged based on assessment, they cannot be appealed. However, the fees will be adjusted going forward if assessment and/or property types are corrected by MPAC. If you believe you have the incorrect property code, you must contact MPAC directly.
Under the previous water billing structure, 100% of the stormwater fee was only charged on water bills, which meant that non-connected properties did not pay the fee. Since everyone benefits from stormwater services, this was unfair. Starting in 2017, non-connected properties have been contributing to stormwater services through their property tax bills.
Understanding the difference between stormwater and wastewater
Wastewater is used water discharged from your home’s plumbing system. This water flows through enormous sewage pipes buried into the ground to Ottawa’s treatment plant. Once the water has gone through a series of treatment processes, it is returned to the Ottawa River.
Stormwater begins as rainfall and melting snow/ice and is known as runoff. In rural areas, this runoff will either be absorbed by plants and soils, evaporates or make its way back to ponds and streams. However, in developed areas, hard surfaces like roads, roofs and driveways prevent water from seeping into the ground. Instead, stormwater runoff flows to storm drains while picking up contaminants along the way. Storm sewers then carry the rainwater to stormwater outlets draining to creeks, streams, and rivers.
For further information on the wastewater and stormwater functions and infrastructure, please refer to Drinking water, stormwater, and wastewater.