Stormwater fee will help update system, reduce sewage into river

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – On the same day that Capital Region Water confirmed that the company initiated 150 sewage discharges into area waterways last year due to record rainfall, representatives met with Midtown Harrisburg residents to discuss a stormwater fee that is set to take effect January 1, 2020.

“It’s not an easy solution and it’s not a cheap solution,” said Charlotte Katzenmoyer, CEO of Capital Region Water (CRW). “We’re going to see more localized flooding events so we need to do something to deal with the amount of stormwater that gets into our system.”

The fee is based on the amount of hard, impervious surfaces your property has – the more hard surfaces like asphalt, concrete, etc. (which is where rainwater cannot absorb and thus, runs off), the more you pay.

The company estimates the fee will be, on average, about $6.15/month for most Harrisburg residential properties; that comes out to about $74 a year.

For their estimates, CRW used the base property size of 1,000 square feet of impervious space.

Katzenmoyer said at Monday’s meeting that Harrisburg’s outdated, aging combined water system (which carries both storm and waste water), decades of deferred maintenance and unfunded government mandates, are several reasons why a fee is so urgent and preferable to alternative revenue sources that included the possibility of wastewater hikes.

“I believe that the impact to the environment, the impact to public health, makes this fee important,” Friends of Midtown member Annie Hughes said. “It’s not so much the need for the fee or that they have a right to collect it, it’s more – how does it play out?”

Right now, Capital Region Water is looking for public feedback about how the fee is determined, how potential credits for green-minded properties might work and what specific concerns residents have.

This fee is only for CRW customers within the city limits of Harrisburg.

The company hopes to make a decision on a fee implementation plan by November and roll out the fee by the new year, with estimates that it will help to generate about $5 million annually.

Some of that money will go toward updating underground pipes and overall system upgrades while some of the money will help to build green spaces and areas where rain can collect.

For more information on future meetings and more in-depth details about the fee, click here.

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