MSD News and Alerts
In an effort to address localized flooding and erosion within the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District's (MSD) service area, MSD will propose a Stormwater Capital Rate to MSD’s independent Rate Commission at today’s public meeting. If approved, the rate would generate $30 million dollars annually towards addressing presently unfunded stormwater issues, enabling MSD to address all currently-known issues within approximately 30 years.
“Customers call asking for help with flooding and erosion because they have nowhere else to turn for help,” said MSD Executive Director, Brian Hoelscher. “These are private property issues that are beyond the technical and financial capabilities of most homeowners. MSD is not a flood plain manager and does not own creeks and streams, but because we believe we are in the best position to help, we have been developing a funding solution that would allow us to provide these much-needed comprehensive stormwater services for our community.”
The proposed Stormwater Capital Rate is an impervious surface area charge that would fund MSD’s Stormwater Capital Improvement Program. Each customer would pay based upon the amount of impervious area on their property, a standard among stormwater utilities throughout the country. Impervious surfaces - such as concrete, blacktop, and the footprint of a home or building - do not absorb water. Flooding and erosion issues are directly impacted by the volume of stormwater runoff created by impervious area on each property throughout the St. Louis Area. MSD projects the average charge for a single-family home would be $2.25 a month, totaling just $27 a year.
All public and private property within MSD’s service area, including properties owned by governmental or nonprofit entities and those not receiving MSD sanitary sewer services, would be subject to the Stormwater Capital Rate, if approved. Levee districts currently in contractual agreements with MSD would be exempt, as these districts already provide stormwater services for their residents. All creeks and streams would remain privately owned; local municipalities would retain floodplain management responsibilities.
MSD has identified approximately 500 stormwater issues throughout its service area that are categorized as flooding or erosion. With approval of the Stormwater Capital Rate, MSD would have the funding to expand stormwater services to include property buyouts, rainscaping, natural creek bank stabilization, and the installation of stormwater drainage systems, and like stormwater solutions. Please note, the Stormwater Capital Improvement Program is not a solution for the large-scale flood events that our area has historically seen from major rivers, such as the recent flooding of the Meramec River in 2015 and 2017.
In 2008, MSD attempted to fund comprehensive stormwater services for St. Louis by enacting an impervious area fee that was ultimately struck down by the Missouri Supreme Court. Recognizing the legal challenges created by the Missouri Supreme Court ruling, MSD continued their efforts with a strategic, two-part approach. In April 2016 voters approved MSD’s Proposition S, which equalized operations and maintenance services for the public storm sewer system. This allowed MSD to correct stormwater sewer problems throughout its service area. However flooding and erosion issues caused by stormwater runoff remain unfunded and unaddressed.
The Rate Commission has up to 165 days to review the funding proposal and provide their recommendation to the MSD's Board of Trustees. To assist with their review, the Rate Commission has rate experts, legal counsel, and other technical experts working at their direction. As part of the review process, the Rate Commission will host several public meetings, the sole purpose of which is to hear public feedback about the Stormwater Capital Rate. The schedule for the review process and associated public hearings/meetings will be developed and published in the coming weeks.
Once a recommendation from the Rate Commission is received, the Board of Trustees may approve, modify, or reject the proposal. However, modification or rejection of the proposal is only allowed within narrow parameters laid out in MSD’s voter approved Charter. If the Board of Trustees approves the recommendation, final implementation of the Stormwater Capital Rate would be dependent on voter approval. The earliest such a proposition would be presented to area voters is April 2019.
For more information on the Stormwater Capital Rate Proposal, the Rate Commission, and to see public hearing/meeting schedule as announced, please visit www.STLMSD.com/ratecommission
Today’s Rate Commission Meeting is open to the public. It will be held at 2:00 PM in Room 109 at 2350 Market Street, St. Louis, MO, 63103 (at the southeast corner of Jefferson and Market).