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Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees (2018)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
×
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25320.
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3 It is important that airport decision makers understand what a stormwater utility is and why such utilities are formed so they can ensure their airport is treated fairly under any new or existing stormwater utilities. 1.1 What Are Stormwater Utilities? A stormwater utility is an entity established by local governments to provide services to manage stormwater runoff through construction, operation, and maintenance of the stormwater collection and disposal system. The utility considers the stormwater needs of the community and sets up a governing body and funding mechanism (i.e., stormwater fees) to estimate the funds required for anticipated stormwater management needs. A stormwater utility may be a stand-alone entity, or the utility may reside within an existing utility such as the water and/or wastewater utility or department such as the Department of Public Works. A 2014 survey by Black & Veatch with 78 respondents found that stand-alone utilities were the most common, comprising 55 percent of respondents. Stormwater utilities can have city, county, or regional jurisdiction. The 2014 Black & Veatch survey showed that 87 percent of the 78 responding utilities were city based, and 8 percent had county-level jurisdiction. Only 4 percent were regional. 1.2 Why Do Local Governments Establish Stormwater Utilities? Many local governments (i.e., cities, towns, or counties) are facing increasing capital and operating expenses to manage and replace aging stormwater infrastructure and to address new regulatory requirements. Local governments must manage the stormwater utility to comply with local regulations and to accommodate increased stormwater volumes due to development (i.e., increased impervious area). The costs of stormwater system maintenance have increased in some locations due to the local and state requirements [i.e., monitoring, operation and maintenance (O&M), permitting, and record-keeping] associated with revisions to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) storm- water regulations. See Appendix A for additional discussion of stormwater regulations. According to the 2017 report card from the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), the cost of replacing aging infrastructure in the United States will reach $4.6 trillion by 2025. The report found that over the next 20 years, wastewater and stormwater needs would require $271 billion in capital investments. Despite growing stormwater concerns, however, many municipalities lack a source of funding dedicated solely for stormwater management. Although stormwater management can be funded through other sources (e.g., taxes and general funds, grants, bonds, and public/private partnerships), many of these options may not provide C H A P T E R 1 Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports

4 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees adequate funding to meet stormwater needs. In addition, stormwater management may not be a high priority, and these funding sources may be applied to higher priority areas. To finance the staff and equipment needed to implement stormwater management plans, many local governments have turned to stormwater utility fees to provide a dedicated, equitable funding source. For example, a stormwater utility can be established as an enterprise fund to ensure that stormwater expenses and revenues are managed separately from the municipality’s general fund. This will depend upon the local municipality and how the utility was originally set up. 1.3 How Many Stormwater Utilities Are in the United States? As of 2017, more than 1,600 local governments across the United States charged stormwater fees, according to the annual stormwater utility survey conducted by Western Kentucky University (WKU). This survey has identified an increase in stormwater utilities across the country over the last several years: from 1,112 in 2010, to 1,417 in 2013, to 1,639 in 2017. 1.4 Where Are Stormwater Utilities Located and Where Are Airports Affected? There is at least one stormwater utility in 40 states, with seven states (Washington, Texas, Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Florida) having more than 100 utilities. These clusters of stormwater utilities, which include other states along the west coast and in the southeast, are illustrated in Figure 2. This map can serve as a good starting point for airports that want to learn where stormwater utilities are located across the country and if a particular airport is potentially close to a utility. Proximity to stormwater utilities means an airport is more likely subject to fees. As the need for stormwater utilities continues to grow and the number of stormwater utilities Stormwater Utilities Figure 2. Map of stormwater utilities in the United States. (Data from Campbell et al. 2017)

Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports 5 increase, airports not previously affected may see utilities being developed in their area. For that reason, it is important for airports to stay up to date on stormwater utility advancements (see Section 2.1). 1.5 What Are Stormwater Fees? Stormwater fees are the fees charged to landowners by a stormwater utility to recover the costs associated with managing stormwater regulatory compliance as well as the installation, adoption, operation, and maintenance of a stormwater system. 1.6 How Are Stormwater Fees Determined? As with other utilities, stormwater utilities meet their revenue needs by collecting a fee. The fees should be based on the estimated funding needs for stormwater management goals for flood control, resource protection, and water quality. Stormwater utilities must establish a fee structure that dictates how these fees are assessed. There are several types of fee structures used for assessing stormwater fees described in Section 1.9. 1.7 How Is a Stormwater Utility Established? To establish a stormwater utility, typically a feasibility study is conducted by the local govern- ment to identify and evaluate program needs, issues, and strategies. The feasibility study can include the following (also see Figure 3): • Stormwater program assessment: The needs of the utility are evaluated, along with status of the program. This would include a review of the structural and non-structural stormwater best manage- ment practices (BMPs), stormwater system maintenance, regula- tory compliance, capital needs, and current and anticipated future expenditures. • Evaluation of funding strategies: Funding strategies are evaluated based on current and future levels of service for stormwater man- agement. Options for fee structures are evaluated, and a fee credit program to reduce fees based on on-site stormwater management What’s in a Name? Alternate Terms for “Stormwater Fees” The term “stormwater fees” will be used throughout this guidebook for consistency. However, stormwater fees can be describing various combinations of terms. Some examples include • stormwater utility fees • surface water drainage fees • stormwater user fees • stormwater management service charge • surface water assessment TIP If the airport is in communication with local government representatives developing the stormwater utility, this stage can be an opportunity to offer input on proposed fees, credits, and other aspects of the program.

6 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees may be developed. The effects of the fee on diverse types of customers (e.g., residential and commercial) would be identified at this point. • Administration: Various administration activities, such as billing methods, how the utility will maintain its databases, the appeals process, and administering credits, are identified and evaluated. • Implementation requirements: Implementation steps are identified and an implementation schedule, a stormwater utility ordinance, and a credit manual are developed. Throughout all steps, public outreach and education are important to gain public acceptance. This also provides an opportunity for airports and other stakeholders with substantial amounts of impervious area to participate in stormwater utility development and to learn how the proposed utility would affect them (see Section 2.2 for guidance on engaging with stormwater utilities). Table 1 contains considerations for airports during each of the steps of the stormwater utility feasibility approach. Figure 3. Stormwater utility feasibility approach. (Adapted from Maker, 2017) Steps Considerations for Airports Stormwater program assessment Airports should be aware of how the local current stormwater management system relates to their facility, especially if any airport property discharges runoff to a local municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). Evaluation of funding strategies This step can provide an opportunity for airports to give feedback on proposed fee structures. Airport staff should give feedback on what aspects of a credit structure would be helpful for airports. (See Section 2.3) Administration Airports should be aware of how billing is expected to take place (e.g., separate bill or part of another bill), the process for applying for credits, and any other relevant administrative processes. (See Section 2.2) Implementation This step can provide an opportunity to work with the developing utility so that airport on-site stormwater management practices will be reflected in the credit manual. (See Section 2.3) Table 1. Considerations for airports during stormwater utility development.

Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports 7 1.8 How Is a Stormwater Utility Operated and Managed? A stormwater utility is designed to manage the stormwater. To do this successfully, the utility must have funds to employ administrative and technical staff, operate the system, and maintain the stormwater system. It needs to fund the following elements of its program: • Administration and overhead: General management, asset management, geographic infor- mation systems (GIS), information technology, planning, customer service, billing, training, and public education and outreach. • Operations and maintenance (O&M): Maintenance of the drainage and collection system, including the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), BMPs, and, if applicable, com- bined sewer system (CSS), street sweeping, and other activities. • Environmental permit management and regulatory compliance: Water quality improve- ment, pollutant prevention, flood reduction, permit reporting, plan review and inspection, and monitoring and enforcement. • Capital improvement program (CIP): Design, construction, and replacement and repair of system infrastructure, such as outfalls, storm sewers, catch basins, drainage structures, deten- tion facilities, roadway culverts/ditches, and structures that might be required to implement some BMPs. Airports should remain aware of the relevant points of contact at the utility and how the above functions are administered. See Sections 2.1 and 2.2 for guidance on remaining informed about stormwater utility programs. 1.9 What Are Common Stormwater Fee Structures? Several types of fee structures are used for setting stormwater fees. The most common structures are based on the impervious area of a property. Impervious surface is defined as pavement, building footprint, sidewalks, decks, etc. (see Figure 4). Because impervious area is tied to runoff rates and pollutant loadings, basing fees on impervious area is considered equitable and affords visibility and transparency, which are critical for stormwater fees to be accepted by the public and local government. According to the 2014 Black & Veatch stormwater utility survey, approxi- mately 80 percent of 78 stormwater utilities included in the survey used impervious area as the basis for calculating fees. There are also utilities that use simple flat fees or other approaches. Figure 4. Relationship between impervious surface cover and stormwater runoff. (Source: EPA, 2003)

8 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees Stormwater utilities usually have different fee structures for residential and nonresidential properties. For example, a utility might assess residential properties according to a tiered struc- ture based on ranges of impervious area but assess nonresidential properties according to actual impervious area. In a flat fee structure, nonresidential properties may be assessed a higher flat fee than residential properties. Typically, airports are charged fees from the nonresidential category. Understanding the spectrum of stormwater rate structures and the methodology by which nonresidential rates are developed is important to airports, even though some structures are more common than others. The benefits and disadvantages of stormwater fee structures are described in detail in a 2005 report by the New England Environmental Finance Center. Brief descriptions of some of the more common stormwater fee structures follow, along with examples of how the storm water utility implements the fee structure. Table 2–Table 4 show examples of several stormwater utilities in the United States, including their nonresidential fee structures, credit programs, and exemptions for airports, if any. These utilities are provided as examples only and do not represent the prevalence of any type of fee structure or exemptions across the country. Location ERU Fee or Rate Utility Policy SourcesExemptions for Airport Property Credits Alexandria, VA 2,062 $11.67 per ERU per month No For BMPs and detention For voluntary activities City of Alexandria, 2018a City of Alexandria, 2018b NEORSD, OH 3,000 $5.15 per ERU per month Runways and taxiways For quantity (BMPs control peak flows and volumes) and quality Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, 2017 Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District, 2016 Portland, ME 1,200 $6.00 per ERU per month Runways, taxiways, and aprons For quantity and quality City of Portland, 2015 Florence, SC 2,500 $3.50 per ERU per month + declining rates down to 0.2 ERU per month No For on-site stormwater management that controls peak runoff rate Florence, 2007 Extra credits: if standards exceeded Table 2. Examples of stormwater utilities using an ERU fee for nonresidential properties as well as airport exemptions and credits. Location Other Imp Area Unit Fee/Rate Utility Policy SourcesExemptions for Airport Property Credits Addison, TX 1,000 sq. ft. $2.59 per 1,000 sq. ft. per month Runways, taxiways, and airport streets For quantity and quality exceeding development requirements For state issued permits Addison, 2014 Spokane, WA Acre $1,039/Imp Acre per year + $0.86 per 100th Imp Acre per month, + CSO surcharge of $75 per acre or equivalent Airport and tenants For on-site detention and treatment For rainwater harvesting or green roofs Extra credit: For use of low-impact development City of Spokane, 2013 City of Spokane, 2018a City of Spokane, 2018b Table 3. Examples of stormwater utilities using an impervious area fee for nonresidential properties as well as airport exemptions and credits.

Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports 9 What Do You Use? Raleigh, North Carolina . . . uses fees for single-family properties according to five tiers of impervious area, with a flat fee per month within each tier. The flat fee ranges from $2/month in the lowest tier to $14.50/month in Tier 4. Some properties are billed at the commercial rate. These properties are: • Single-family properties exceeding 9,500 square feet of impervious area (Tier 5) and • Multifamily properties, offices, institutional properties, and commercial industrial land uses. The commercial rate uses a single-family equivalent unit of 2,260 square feet, with a billing rate of $5 per single-family equivalent unit per month. Source: https://www.raleighnc.gov/home/content/PWksStormwater/Articles/UtilityFee.html Tier Impervious Area (Percent) Monthly Charge (per 1,000 sq. ft.) 1 ≤ 20% $0.29 2 > 20–40% $0.43 3 > 40–65% $0.56 4 > 65% $0.71 Table 4. Example of a tiered fee applied to nonresidential properties (City of San Antonio). Equivalent Residential Unit An equivalent residential unit (ERU) is generally defined as the average (or sometimes median) impervious area (typically expressed in square feet) for a single-family residence (SFR). It is also referred to by other names, such as equivalent service unit or equivalent runoff unit. A base fee, or a single ERU fee, is charged for an SFR parcel. An ERU-based structure strikes a balance between complexity and equity compared to flat fees for all properties (which can be too simple and not equitable) and other more complex methods (more equitable but too costly). The 2017 WKU database identified approximately 766 ERU utilities in the United States, with the median ERU being approximately 2,900 square feet. Fees for multi-family and nonresidential parcels are also based on their respective impervious area relative to the ERU. See Table 2 for examples of ERU fees for nonresidential properties. This approach is by far the most widely used fee structure for stormwater utilities. Impervious Area Some fee structures are based on the amount of impervious area (typically expressed in square feet), either for both residential and nonresidential properties or for nonresidential properties (Table 3). In some cases, impervious area may be counted in increments of 500 square feet or

10 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees 1,000 square feet for convenience. This is mathematically like an ERU system in that impervious area is divided by a standard unit; however, the unit in this case is not based on a typical SFR as it is with an ERU. What Do You Use? Arvada, Colorado . . . uses stormwater fees for both residential and nonresidential properties that are based on the amount of impervious area on a single parcel. Arvada has measured the impervious area of every parcel in the city; therefore, every property in the city is assessed a different amount for their fees. The monthly rate is $0.00152 per square foot (or $1.52 per 1,000 square feet) of impervious area. Billing is bi-monthly. Source: https://arvada.org/residents/services-and-sustainability/calculating-the-stormwater- utility-fee What Do You Use? Bay County, Florida . . . uses a dual fee structure of $200 for nonresidential parcels and $40 for residential parcels. Fees are charged annually as a non-ad valorem charge on the Bay County Property Tax bill. Source: Reilly et al., 2014. http://www.co.bay.fl.us/206/Stormwater-Utility Tier System This system divides impervious area into tiers, with all properties falling within a given tier paying the same stormwater fee. For example, if a tier ranges from 20,000 to 50,000 square feet of impervious surface, then a property with 20,001 square feet of impervious surface would pay the same fee as a property with 49,999 square feet. Tiers may also be based on percentage of impervious area. The fee within each tier may be flat (each property pays the same amount), or there may be different ERUs for each tier. The 2017 WKU database indicated that tier systems are used by 236 communities in the United States. Flat Fee Another fee structure is the flat fee in which every parcel is assessed the same stormwater fee. Because of their simplicity, flat fee structures greatly reduce administrative costs, but they are not as equitable as ERU systems. The fee may be determined by spreading stormwater utility costs across properties based on some relevant standard (e.g., land use) or spread across all properties in general at a similar rate. A variation on the flat fee is a dual system in which residential proper- ties pay one fee and nonresidential properties pay another—usually higher—fee. The 2017 WKU database has identified 233 flat fee structures and 106 dual fee structures.

Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports 11 Residential Equivalent Factor In the residential equivalent factor (REF) structure, the runoff from a standard storm is determined using standard hydrologic methods for an average SFR. Runoff from other properties in the area is determined by the same method. Fees are based on the ratio of runoff from the property in question to that of the average SFR property. For example, assume the standard storm is two inches in 24 hours. If an average residential property produces 0.5 inches of runoff from the standard storm and a commercial property produces 1.5 inches of runoff, then the commercial property would pay three times as much per acre as residential properties. The 2017 WKU database has identified 139 REF systems, many of which are found in Minnesota. What Do You Use? San Antonio, Texas . . . uses a stormwater fee that includes one tiered fee for residential properties and a different tiered fee based on percentage of impervious area for nonresidential properties. The tiers for the nonresidential properties are shown in Table 4. Nonresidential properties are charged a base monthly rate of $64.53 and an additional tiered rate per 1,000 sq. ft. Source: http://www.saws.org/service/rates/stormwater_fee.cfm What Do You Use? West Saint Paul, Minnesota . . . uses the following method to set fees: • Single-family residential properties have a single REF, and • Commercial and other properties use an REF based on the volume of runoff generated. Properties are assigned REFs based on land use (single family residential, other residential, public/semi-public, commercial, or industrial). REFs are generated based on the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) method of calculating runoff. Source: Reilly et al., 2014. Other Methods Other methods involve intensity of development or equivalent hydraulic area. • The intensity of development method categorizes parcels (including vacant and undeveloped properties) based on the percentage of impervious area relative to the parcel’s total area. • The equivalent hydraulic area method is based on the runoff generated from both pervious and impervious surfaces. These methods may be considered more equitable and more robust compared to the ERU approach, but they are resource-intensive to implement and more complicated to explain to

12 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees customers compared to impervious area methods. In addition, there are other fee structures, including fees based on the size and number of water meters, the gross property area, and the number of parking spaces. These methods are much less common than the structures discussed above. 1.10 What Are Stormwater Fee Credits? Stormwater fee credits are reductions to stormwater charges that are given because a land- owner has either • Reduced demand on the stormwater system, or • Reduced the stormwater utility’s responsibility to provide service by implementing on-site stormwater management practices. Stormwater fee credit programs are considered an important part of stormwater fee pro- grams, making the fee more equitable, particularly for landowners that manage stormwater runoff on-site. Stormwater fee credit programs vary widely and are discussed more in the next chapter. 1.11 How Do Stormwater Regulations Apply to Airports? Since 1990, many airports have been subject to NPDES stormwater permit requirements. Airport operations, depending on the activity, may be subject to three of the permits in the NPDES stormwater program: (1) the industrial stormwater permit, (2) the construction general permit (CGP), and (3) the MS4 stormwater permit. See Appendix A for additional information on how airport activities are permitted under these various NPDES permits. Roles and responsibilities regarding compliance with stormwater regulations vary depend- ing on airport ownership and administration and types of activities conducted at the airport. Local governments that operate a municipal airport may have NPDES coverage through an MS4 stormwater permit, the NPDES industrial stormwater permit, or an individual NPDES permit. If the airport is covered under the MS4 general permit, then the municipal permit holder (e.g., local government) usually holds ultimate responsibility for the airport’s NPDES compliance. If the airport is operated by an independent authority, permit compliance, at times including airport land leaseholders or tenants, is typically the responsibility of the airport authority. General or individual industrial stormwater permits are typical at most airports. See Appendix A for additional information on how NPDES permits affect airports. 1.12 How Can Airports Mitigate Stormwater Fees? Using Stormwater Fee Credit Programs A stormwater utility’s credit program can be a highly effective way for airports to reduce their fees. The applicable elements vary from program to program. Some credit programs are applicable to or geared toward both resi- dential and nonresidential customers, while others are applicable to only one or the other. Common measures that can qualify for credits and noted by participants in this project include installing structural TIP Airports should work directly with the utility to ensure they are receiving the maximum credit.

Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports 13 and incorporating non-structural BMPs, holding or obtaining stormwater permits, and adher- ing to development requirements. The stormwater utility may make use of local stormwater BMP guidance in setting criteria for a stormwater fee credit program; this may include a list of eligible BMPs. Credits for quantity and quality may be awarded separately, and credits may be awarded for other measures as well (e.g., NPDES permitting). The stormwater fee credit programs are, however, not always straightforward, especially for nonresidential properties. In some cases, a stormwater utility has worked with an airport to find ways in which the airport can receive stormwater credits. To obtain stormwater fee credits, airports need to submit an application and supporting documentation. The supporting documentation varies in extent but can include items such as a stormwater management plan, documentation of BMP design, and maintenance agree- ments. The award of credits may be given with ongoing verification of maintenance or the stormwater utility may periodically review or renew the airport’s fee reduction. Six out of 14 participating airports for this project have received fee reductions through credits. Other airports did not receive credits for various reasons, including a lack of a utility credit program, airport ineligibility for credits, and lack of airport resources to complete a labor-intensive application process. Reviewing Impervious Area Calculations Stormwater utilities frequently calculate impervious area through use of aerial photography and GIS systems. Airports can use similar methods to perform their own calculations. If the calculated areas vary, the airport should work with the stormwater utility (or utilities) to review the calculations. Consolidation of Parcels If the stormwater fees are parcel-based, airports can also work to consolidate parcels on their property. Although this may be a resource-intensive process for the airport, ensuring effective consolidation of parcels can reduce fees. Including Fees in Tenant Lease Agreements Airports might choose to include stormwater fees in the overall airport expenses upon which tenant lease agreements are based. In some cases, airports have charged tenants according to their use of the airport stormwater system. Negotiating with Stormwater Utilities Some airports have worked with utilities to reach agreements regarding fee reductions and exemptions. These are typically case-specific agreements, based on an airport’s rigorous on-site management of its stormwater and lack of need for the local stormwater system. Advocating for Exemptions Some stormwater utilities have exempted certain airport land uses (e.g., runways, taxiways, and aprons) from stormwater fees. Exempting runways and taxiways is analogous to an exemption of publicly owned highways and roadways, which are considered public rights-of-way. In such TIP Reviewing calculations of impervious area ensures that fees are accurate and avoids double-counting if the airport pays to more than one utility.

14 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees cases, the airports still pay fees on other areas such as terminals and parking lots. Airports may be exempt entirely if they are owned by the municipality or county charging the fees. In North Carolina, exemption of runways and taxiways has been accomplished via state legislation. If the introduction of legislation is pursued, it requires lobbying at the state level and could prove sensitive with local stakeholders and decision makers. Establishing an MS4 Establishing an airport as an independent MS4 is a challenging measure in that it separates the airport from the regulatory framework of the existing stormwater fee program. This approach should exempt the airport from paying stormwater fees to the municipality, however, it requires potentially politically sensitive negotiations with regulators (and additional legal expertise) to complete. What Is an MS4? An MS4, or a municipal separate storm sewer system, is a conveyance or system of conveyances that is • Owned by a state, city, town, village, or other public entity, • Designed or used to collect or convey stormwater, • Not a combined sewer, and • Not part of a sewage treatment plant. Source: https://www.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater-discharges-municipal-sources Example Stormwater Fees and Mitigation Strategies Several approaches for mitigating stormwater fees have been used by airports. Chapters 2 and 3 contain additional information and guidance on ways to mitigate stormwater fees. Table 5 presents examples of airport stormwater fees and the mitigation options used for airports. The examples come from the participating airports, which are kept anonymous throughout the document. Note that only 13 of 14 participating airports are listed in Table 5 because one airport was not successful in employing strategies to mitigate stormwater fees. 1.13 What Are the Challenges for Airports? Although the need for funds to finance the management of the local and regional stormwater system is recognized, stormwater fees pose challenges specific to airports, including • Fees that can be high due to large amounts of impervious area, • Variability in whether airports can or do receive services from stormwater utilities, and • Situations where stormwater programs and guidance may differ from stormwater manage- ment needs at airports. Stormwater fees may affect airport budgets differently depending on airport type and size, operating budget, and revenue.

Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports 15 Significant Impervious Area Airports may be subject to significant stormwater fees because of their large impervious area, from parking lots, terminals, ramps, runways, and taxiways. The fees may or may not represent a sizable portion of an airport’s annual revenue. If an airport undergoes expansion, additional impervious area will increase its fees. Furthermore, in some cases, an airport’s property may Table 5. Examples of airport stormwater fees and mitigation from the participating airports. Airport # Airport Category Facility Area (acres) FAA Region Fee Structure Total Amount Paid Annually % of Annual Budget Fee Mitigation 1 Non-Primary 430 Eastern ERU $66,568 9.23% Credits, fee recovery 2 Non-Primary 700 Southern Impervious area $118,000 20.00% Exemptions (taxiways and runways); interlocal agreement 3 Non-Primary 1,320 Northwest Mountain Tiered based on impervious surface per parcel $372,399 <2% Credits, fee recovery, managing parcel-based fees 4 Other Primary 910 Eastern ERU $193,475 2.05% Credits 5 Small Hub 1,900 Southern ERU $150,000 1.00% Credits, exemption (airport), credits (for tenants) 6 Small Hub 2,630 Central ERU $819,879 3.80% BMPs to reduce impervious area 7 Medium Hub 3,900 Southern Tiered based on impervious surface per parcel $35,247 N/A Initial involvement, consolidation of parcels 8 Medium Hub 1,050 Western Pacific Flat fee and impervious area $65,000 N/A BMPs to reduce impervious area 9 Medium Hub 1,400 Great Lakes ERU $135,416 N/A Exemptions (runways, taxiways, aprons, deicing pads), fee recovery 10 Medium Hub 3,000 Northwest Mountain Tiered $3,659,884 1.64% Credits, fee recovery 11 Large Hub 33,530 Northwest Mountain Fee per parcel $989 Minimal Interlocal agreement 12 Large Hub 2,500 Northwest Mountain Flat $450,000 N/A Interlocal agreement, fee recovery 13 Large Hub 4,700 Southern ERU $480,000 Minimal Credits, accounting of impervious area What Can an Airport Pay? The portion of any airport’s annual revenue that is paid in stormwater fees can vary. • Some participating airports, both small and large, pay fees that represent 2 percent or less of their annual budget. • Three participating small airports have been paying more than 7 percent, 9 percent, and 20 percent of their annual revenues, respectively.

16 Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees span more than one jurisdiction, making it potentially subject to fees from more than one storm- water utility. Availability of Services from Stormwater Utilities Airports generally manage their runoff on-site and maintain their own stormwater system. Airports may or may not discharge runoff to a local stormwater system. Even if an airport does discharge to a local stormwater system, it may not receive maintenance or capital assistance on its property from the local stormwater utilities. Some airports receive assistance, especially if the airport is city- or county-owned. This could include maintenance such as vegetation or trash removal or maintenance of conveyances such as ditches. Also, stormwater utilities might main- tain infrastructure outside of the airport property that benefits the airport (e.g., clearing debris and maintaining the system that receives airport runoff). What Are Some Factors . . . involved in deciding what services a stormwater utility provides? Discussions with the participating airports revealed the following examples regarding some of the factors involved, both from the utility and the airport side: • If an airport property is considered commercial, the property may not be eligible for services. • Maintenance of airport stormwater systems, especially on the airside, requires specialized training that the utility may not be able to provide. This can prevent airports from pursuing services. • Airport drainage problems that occur on an emergency basis need to be addressed quickly, and there may not be time to go through the utility even if the utility has the authority to provide services. Applicability of Credit and Development/ Redevelopment Requirements to Airports Some stormwater fee credit programs are geared largely toward residential properties, and the stormwater BMPs included in some fee credit programs might not be appropriate for all large land- holdings, especially the unique needs of airports. A utility may propose granting credits for restoration activities or grant credits for specific BMP types that could conflict with safety concerns for an airport. For example, BMPs that have standing water or certain types of vegetation can be wildlife attractants. Similarly, require- ments for use of low-impact development BMPs may need to be reconciled with the airport’s stormwater management needs when development or redevelopment is taking place. Some BMPs could be effective parts of an airport’s stormwater management but not automatically credited if they are not included in the local utility’s credit manual. TIP Use of BMPs that have standing water or certain types of vegetation within 10,000 feet of an airport runway is discouraged by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for safety reasons due to the potential increase for wildlife strikes. If such a conflict occurs, airports may need to confer with the stormwater fee programs regarding which BMPs will qualify for credits and whether there is flexibility if they need to deviate from state or local stormwater management guidelines on which credits are based.

Understanding Stormwater Fees at Airports 17 Revenue Diversion Revenue diversion is the expenditure of airport revenue for purposes other than the operat- ing and capital costs of the airport. Several federally funded airports participating in this project expressed concern that the payment of stormwater fees would be considered revenue diversion by the FAA and a violation of the Anti-Revenue Diversion Provision, 49 U.S.C. § 47133(a) because the fees are not expended for the capital or operating costs of the airport. However, airports have not pursued or successfully used this issue to mitigate stormwater fees. Some air- ports who have their own on-site stormwater system and receive no outside services continue to pay stormwater fees. It is unclear if the FAA would consider such payments without receiv- ing services as revenue diversion. In some cases, FAA and other funding sources are tracked so that federal funds are not used to pay fees. In one case, at the Port of Portland, Oregon, it was determined by court decision and affirmed in an appeal that stormwater utility fees were not in violation of the FAA Grant Assurances. For clarification, it is recommended that airports considering this strategy for mitigation of stormwater fees consult their local FAA Regional or District office.

Next: Chapter 2 - Strategies for Fee Mitigation for Airports Anticipating Stormwater Fees »
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TRB's Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) Research Report 193: Strategies for Airports to Reduce Local Stormwater Utility Fees offers airports guidance in managing the stormwater-related utility fees that many local governments charge to help finance their capital and operating expenses. U.S. airports are experiencing a trend of local governments charging and increasing fees to operate and maintain stormwater infrastructure. These trends are having a growing impact on airport budgets. This report identifies, evaluates, and implements strategies for managing stormwater fees based on each agency's unique situation.

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