Stormwater Utility Fee

On July 28, 2014, Berkeley County Council adopted a Stormwater Management Utility Ordinance (Ordinance No. 14-07-021) that established a Stormwater Utility Fee.  A copy of the Stormwater Management Utility Ordinance is posted on this page.   Affected property owners of Berkeley County are notified of the new fee in their October 2014 annual Tax Notice.  The fee and amount of the fee is listed as Stormwater Utility Fee on the Tax Notice. 

Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding the Stormwater Utility Fee.

Please contact Berkeley County Stormwater Management Program at 843-719-4195 or email at webswmp@berkeleycountysc.gov on stormwater related questions.

What is a Stormwater Utility Fee?
It is an annual fee assessed on the developed properties in the unincorporated area of Berkeley County to fund the County’s Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) and to comply with the regulatory requirements of the MS4 Permit.

Why does the County have a Stormwater Management Program?
Under the federal Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC) rules and regulations mandate Berkeley County to comply with the MS4 Permit.  The MS4 Permit requires the County to develop, implement, and enforce a Stormwater Management Program to reduce the discharge of pollutants from Berkeley County’s MS4 to the maximum extent practicable (MEP), to protect water quality, and to satisfy the appropriate water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act.

What does the Stormwater Management Program do?
Berkeley County’s Stormwater Management Program is responsible for all stormwater related activities such as construction and post construction inspections, storm sewer mapping, illicit discharge detection and elimination, water quality monitoring, sampling, and tracking, and other SWMP tasks required by the MS4 Permit.  The goals of the program are to protect, maintain, and enhance water quality and the environment of the County as well as the short-term and long-term public health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the County. 

How is the fee assessed?
Stormwater Utility Fee is assessed based on the funding required to implement the SWMP.  Each year as part of the annual budget process, costs and revenues will be reviewed and adjusted to ensure a balance in SWMP funding.  A program of interim fees and classifications has been established for the next three years.  During this time, a Stormwater Management Utility Rate Study will be performed to establish permanent stormwater utility fees and classifications.  The permanent fee schedule will be based on the amount of impervious area.  Section 7 of the Ordinance describes the interim stormwater management utility rates for the next three years.

Who will be charged this fee?
All developed properties in the unincorporated area of Berkeley County, including properties containing single and multifamily residences, mobile homes, nonresidential (commercial or industrial) land uses, tax exempt and non-profit properties are charged with a Stormwater Utility Fee.  The fee will not be imposed on agricultural lands, forestlands, or undeveloped lands. 

Do churches, schools and non-profit organizations have to pay the fee?
Yes, churches, schools, and non-profit organizations will pay a Stormwater Utility Fee.

How much is the Interim Stormwater Utility Fee?
The following table shows the annual fee for the next three years.  A Stormwater Management Utility Rate Study will be performed within this time period to establish permanent utility fees and classifications. 

 

Single Family Residence

Multi-family Residence

Mobile Homes

Nonresidential Land Use

Tax-exempt and Non-profit

Year 1

$36 per parcel*

$18 per unit

$18 per unit

$216 per parcel

$72 per parcel

Year 2

$42 per parcel*

$21 per unit

$24 per unit

$252 per parcel

$84 per parcel

Year 3

$48 per parcel*

$24 per unit

$24 per unit

$288 per parcel

$96 per parcel

*for parcels containing multiple residences on the parcel, an annual fee per unit will be assessed.

Do other communities have a Stormwater Utility Fee?
Yes, most communities in the coastal area have instituted a Stormwater Utility Fee including Charleston County, Dorchester County, City of Folly Beach, City of Isle of Palms, Town of James Island, Town of Lincolnville, Town of Sullivan’s Island, Town of Mount Pleasant, City of Charleston, City of North Charleston, Town of Summerville, Beaufort County, Town of Hilton Head, Georgetown County, Horry County, City of Conway, City of Myrtle Beach, and City of North Myrtle Beach.

Can the fee be appealed?
Yes, the Stormwater Utility Fee can be appealed within thirty days of the mailing of the Tax Notice.  The appeal procedure is explained in Section 13 of the Ordinance. Please fill out this form to appeal.