The Infamous Tax on Rain Water

In a nut shell, The Watershed Protection & Restoration Fund was enacted in order to control the amount of pollution from stormwater runoff. The tremendous amount of excess stormwater after a heavy rainfall or snowstorm is not absorbed into the ground or treated at a wastewater treatment plant. This excess water then flows directly into our streams, rivers, reservoirs (hello delicious drinking water) and the Chesapeake Bay.

This fund affects Baltimore City and 9 counties in Maryland and goes into effect on July 1, 2013. If you own property in one of these areas, you will be charged a yearly fee reflective of the amount of impervious area that resides on your property. Impervious areas are structures and areas that do not allow for the absorption of water. An area such as the roof of a house, a patio or a driveway does not absorb the stormwater runoff thereby sending it (and all of the pollutants that it picks up along the way) directly to all of our naturally occurring water systems.

Each county has (or is currently determining) a way to charge this fee. For most counties, the fee will be added to your tax bill just as most sewer and trash collection fees are currently added to tax bills. These fees will create a fund that will be used to create new stormwater management systems.

Depending on the county, the fee can be reduced by the implementation of things like rain gardens, ponds and green roofs that help thwart stormwater run off.

Here are the links that we have found so far for each affected county. Some counties have already had this fee in place and some are still in the process of determining a fee schedule.

Anne Arundel County
Baltimore City - Click on Stormwater in the top navigation bar
Baltimore County
Carroll County
Charles County
Frederick County
Harford County
Howard County
Montgomery County

Image taken from the EPA Slideshow - Using Rain Gardens to Reduce Runoff