James Cochran, Chairman
Richard Castranio, Vice Chairman
Paul Rigney, Treasurer
Kenneth Martin, Board Secretary
Virginia Anderson, Board Secretary
The Upper Allen Township Stormwater Authority (SWA) was established by Upper Allen Township on June 20, 2018. The board consists of five (5) members appointed by the Board of Commissioners.
The SWA was created by the Township Board of Commissioners for the sole purpose of repairing and improving the Township’s extensive system of stormwater infrastructure and program. It is the objective of the Authority to fulfill this mission in a way that is fair to all residents and taxpayers of the Township. For more information on the Township's stormwater/MS4 program, please see the link in the right-side menu.
Stormwater Fee Newsletter/Outreach
Stormwater Fee Information and Document Links
Township Interactive Map - Locate Your Property ERU Calculation
The Interactive Map is just a tool to help property owners understand and prepare for the upcoming fee. It is only providing estimated numbers at this time.
To use the Township Interactive Map when looking up your ERU amount:
(1) Click the link.
(2) Type your address in the search box (as seen in the image below):
(3) Click on your property.
(4) You will then see a table with information on your property.
(5) Scroll to the bottom of the table to find your property's ERU calculation.
Once you have determined the amount of ERUs calculated at your property, please see below for an estimated annual fee amount:
$66 per ERU (4206 sq. ft.) per Year . ERU designation for each property is subject to change at this time.
Please note, Undeveloped parcels and parcels with less than 2,123SF of impervious area will assessed one-half (.50) an ERU $33 per year.
Stormwater Fee Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a Stormwater Fee?
A: A Stormwater Fee is a "fee for service" based on the cost to manage stormwater that runs off impervious areas. All money collected by the fee can only be used for stormwater management activities.
Q: What are impervious surfaces and how do they contribute to stormwater problems?
A: Impervious surfaces are hard surfaces that do not allow rain or snowmelt to infiltrate at the same rate as natural surfaces such as grass or dirt. They include rooftops, driveways, patios, parking lots, sidewalks and other man-made structures.
Q: Hasn’t the Township always had a stormwater system? Nothing has changed on my property. Why will I be charged now when I haven’t been in the past?
A: Yes, the Township has had a stormwater system for a long time. The Township was first regulated under the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) program in 2003. The MS4 program is a collection of unfunded mandates that are handed down by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and administered in Pennsylvania by the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Prior to 2018, the Township was able to comply with these unfunded mandates using revenue from normal tax collections. Many new federal and state requirements were introduced in March of 2018 under the Township’s five-year National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to combat the water pollution problems into the Cedar Run and Yellow Breeches creeks, as well as their tributaries. The most important (and costly) of these is the requirement for the Township to implement a Pollutant Reduction Plan (PRP). Compliance with these unfunded mandates is expected to cost the Township over $2.8 million over the next five years. Complying with all the regulations is expected to cost $1 million annually. Tax revenue alone is no longer sufficient to pay for these costs of compliance, so a dedicated stormwater management fee is necessary now even though it has not been necessary in the past.
Q: Why not just include the stormwater program costs in our property taxes?
A: The primary reason for assessing the stormwater fee instead of raising property taxes is to link the amount that each property pays to the amount of stormwater that is generated on the property. There is not necessarily a correlation between the tax-assessed value of a property and the amount of stormwater that the property generates. Additionally, some properties are exempt from taxes, but all properties contribute stormwater runoff and should pay the stormwater fee just like all properties have other utility bills like water, sewer, electric, etc. Furthermore, the revenue can only be used for stormwater management and cannot be redirected for other uses in the way that tax revenues can. This ensures that the Township will have funds to meet all MS4 program requirements.
Q: What will the Stormwater Fee pay for?
- Regulatory Compliance for increasing state and federal requirements
- Stormwater system cleaning and repairs
- Capital projects, including the following:
- Mandated pollution reductions
- Drainage Improvement projects to address local flooding
- Major Drainage projects needed to improve the Township's stormwater system
Q: How was the fee determined? How much will be charged?
A: The fees are all based on the amount of impermeable surface on a property that will not allow rain water to seep into the ground (i.e. buildings and parking areas). A Township-wide survey that found the average single-family lot has 4,206-square-feet of impervious coverage, which became the basis for one ERU or Equivalent Residential Unit. The value of a single ERU is $66 per year ($16.50 per quarter) to cover the cost of the anticipated $1 million annual stormwater management budget. Every property owner will be charged a fee based on the number of ERUs found on their property, which will be multiplied by $16.50 to determine the quarterly charge. This area was measured on aerial photography using computer mapping software.
Q: How often will I be billed?
A: The stormwater fee will be billed quarterly. The first fee would appear as a separate charge in the January 2019 sewer bill. Property owners not connected to the public sewer would receive a standalone bill.
Q: How are undeveloped parcels treated?
A: Undeveloped parcels and parcels with less than 2,123SF of impervious area will assessed one-half (.50) an ERU $33 per year
Q: What happens when a property is vacant?
A: The Stormwater Management Fee applies whether the property is occupied or not.
Q: Was there a public input process for considering the Stormwater Fee?
A: Yes, there were public meetings for the stormwater fee held on September 12 and October 2, 2018. Public Comment periods were also accessible at the Board of Commissioners’ and Stormwater Authority’s meetings. The meetings were announced via the Township website, newsletters, newspaper, and media sites.
Q: My water stays on my property; it doesn’t flow to a storm drain. Am I exempt?
A: No. Even if stormwater does not flow directly to the street or into a storm drain, all runoff accumulates pollutants as it travels across land. The storm drain system allows for the continuity of traffic, commerce and public safety in the event of a storm. Furthermore, the removal of pollutants from our waterways is necessary for the long-term health and vitality of our community. Everyone benefits from those conditions regardless of how runoff may be directed on their personal property.
Additionally, all property owners benefit from services provided by the Township that are beyond their property lines, such as permit compliance, MS4 system maintenance, street sweeping, storm clean-up, and stormwater improvements throughout the Township. The MS4 and roadway drainage systems serve all residents and allow people to commute to work, school, church, local businesses, parks, etc. Stormwater management is a community-wide service and the program costs need to be distributed to all property owners.
Q: Why do I have to pay if my subdivision is built-out, and has an adequate storm sewer system, already?
A: All properties in the Township contribute stormwater to the system, so all should contribute to the costs of operating the system. A portion of the fee’s revenues will be used to maintain and to make water quality improvements to the existing system, including the one in your neighborhood. As facilities age, they require a higher level of maintenance and eventual replacement.
Q: Does this mean the Township will take care of the drainage in my yard?
A: No, Upper Allen will take care of stormwater pipes within easements and rights-of-way. Property owners are responsible for mowing and general landscape care in easements, as well as other yard areas, including portions of the right-of-way that front on their property.
Q: Will the Township provide credits to the Stormwater Fee for on-site stormwater controls or BMPs?
A: The Township will not be implementing a credit program in 2019. At this time, the Township will be looking into a credit program for Best Management Practices BMPs (I.e. raingardens, basins or swales - that control and treat stormwater runoff) in the future, possibly 2020. Please check back for updates on this topic.
Q: Are gravel and compacted stone charged at the same rate as other types of impervious surfaces?
A: Yes, gravel and compacted stone is considered impervious because this material, used for roads and parking lots, is engineered and compacted to withstand heavy loads. These compacted materials form a seal through which water will not readily infiltrate.
Q: If I believe there is an error in my impervious coverage calculations, can I appeal?
A: Yes, the Upper Allen Stormwater Authority (SWA) has approved an appeals process. The appeal form and instructions are available on this web page, as well as the Applications page, and at the Township building. Property owners must prove either the square footage of impervious area listed for their property is incorrect or there was a mathematical error in the fee calculation. Please note: in no event shall any property be charged less than half (.50) of an ERU.
Q: When are Stormwater Authority meetings held?
A: Meetings are held the third Wednesday every month at 6:00 P.M.
Q: What is the lowest ERU calculation a property can be charged?
Each property shall initially be charged a utility fee of half (.5) an ERU through a quarterly billing process. All properties shall be billed on a quarterly basis based upon the additional number of square feet of measured Impervious Surface. Therefore, in no event shall any such property be charged less than half (.50) of an ERU.