Stormwater Utility Home Page
** The most recent stormwater bills were mailed in January 2020, with payments due February 21, 2020. Stormwater fees in January 2021 will be at the same rate as 2020: $52.00 per ERU. Fees cover the town’s fiscal year time period of July 1 through June 30.
Payment can be made by cash, check (made out to "Town of Colchester") and debit/credit card payments - More information is on the payment options page. 1% penalty is added monthly to delinquent accounts.
Information about the fee structure and the stormwater utility budget can be found below.
The Town of Colchester adopted a stormwater utility as part of the Department of Public Works on July 1, 2017 to better address our community’s water quality needs. Under a utility structure, funds are collected from all property owners, including those that are tax exempt, through annual fees billed in January. Fees are based on the amount of impervious surface on properties.
Base Fee: This is the minimum utility fee of $52.00, paid by single family, duplex, and triplex properties, as well as vacant or undeveloped sites.
Base Fee Capped: These are properties in the above category that have more than one acre of impervious surface onsite. Their fee is "capped" at one acre, which is $520.00 (10x the fee for one-tenth acre).
Directly Assessed: These are commercial, educational, institutional, industrial, or other developed properties who pay $52 per tenth-acre of impervious surface onsite. Properties in this fee category are eligible to apply for fee credits up to 50% of the site’s fee (learn more about fee credits).
Impervious surfaces are areas that cover the natural ground and do not allow for easy infiltration of rainfall; they include any paved areas (driveways, sidewalks, parking areas, roads, buildings) and dirt, gravel, or other compacted areas (parking areas, roads).
Stormwater management is important both because of what stormwater carries and how fast it moves. Water has tremendous power and can cause erosion, property and roadway damage, river bank instability, and other safety concerns when moving quickly. However, the primary concern is that when rain falls and water rushes off of our roads and driveways, it also picks up oils, debris, bacteria, and nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus naturally found in soils. This stormwater carries these pollutants to our streams and rivers, which all drain to Lake Champlain.
These nutrients accumulate and can cause cyanobacteria, algae blooms, and threaten the quality of our water bodies. More information about water quality concerns can be found here. Numerous waterways in our community are considered impaired by the State of Vermont, by sediment, bacteria, phosphorus, or chloride, and as a result the town has millions of dollars worth of required investments to make in our stormwater systems by 2036. The stormwater utility was specifically adopted to ensure the community has the technical capacity and financial resources to meet these long-term obligations. For more information about program funding and grants received, please click here.
Water Quality Testing
During the summer months, the town tests for bacteria at Bayside Beach and other locations twice weekly. More information can be found here.
Note: The VT Department of Health currently tests for blue-green algae, also known as cyanobacteria (the town does not test). Visit the Department of Health website to view their interactive map. Select "Colchester" from the dropdown menu to see current testing results. ______________________________________________
If you have questions about the stormwater utility that are not answered by this website, please contact Karen Adams.