What happens when it rains?
Rainwater runs across impervious surfaces (parking lots, roofs, streets, etc.) and collects in the City’s storm sewers. Most of this water then travels directly into our streams and rivers. Occasionally, excess rainwater overwhelms the storm sewers, or these facilities fail to function as designed. The water then floods into our homes, businesses and streets. In some locations (depending on the age and design of the storm and sanitary sewers) rainwater may overflow out of the storm sewer system and into an adjacent sanitary sewer system. These excess flows are sometimes discharged directly into the watershed.
What are we required to do with the stormwater?
The Federal EPA has designated Martinsburg as a “Phase II” stormwater community. This means that the City must actively manage stormwater to the new EPA standards. Martinsburg is subject to significant penalties if we fail to comply with the Federal requirements.
What are the benefits of stormwater management?
By enacting stormwater management, we will comply with Federal and State requirements. This also means that we will improve the water quality in our urban watershed. Other benefits may include flood control, a significant reduction in pollution caused by surcharged sanitary sewers, improved watershed planning, public education and the improved maintenance, repair and expansion of our stormwater collection system.
Isn’t this service paid for out of my taxes?
Historically, stormwater management has been funded out of the City’s general revenue fund. Compliance with the new Federal standard requires considerable additional funding. Additionally, to support new construction in our city, we must provide for new stormwater management oversight and facilities. Without additional efforts toward stormwater management, urban development in and around Martinsburg will degrade the quality of our water, and thus our quality of life. To date, the City of Martinsburg has and will continue to rely on funds from the general revenue fund for stormwater management. However, in the future, the City may consider utilizing state legislation which authorizes cities to establish a stormwater utility, whereby separate fees may be collected to fund and operate stormwater activities, such as administration and capital improvements.