The Benefits of Stormwater Credits
The City of La Crosse Credit Policy program offers residents and business owners a credit of up to fifty percent for stormwater quality improvements, and up to fifty percent for stormwater quantity improvements, of the quarterly stormwater utility charges with a maximum total of eighty percent credit for the parcel.
The program encourages City residents to manage rainwater and address problems arising from stormwater runoff in an urban environment. In La Crosse, and other cities, large amount of impervious surfaces (hard surfaces, such as buildings areas, asphalt or cement, heavily compacted soils) stop stormwater from being naturally absorbed into the ground. The runoff from these areas transports de-icing salt, metals & petrochemicals from cars, excess fertilizer, pet waste and trace amounts from common chemicals, to receiving bodies of water. This is a major source of water pollution in urban areas. In urban environments, the amount of impervious area on a property is the most significant factor affecting both the quality and quantity of stormwater runoff.
By using stormwater Best Management Practices (also known as BMPs), property owners can partially duplicate the effect of the open areas and wetlands, providing natural drainage prior to urbanization. The Stormwater Credit policy offers property owners a credit up to fifty percent of the stormwater charges for the stormwater quality improvements, and up to fifty percent of stormwater charges for stormwater quantity improvements, with a maximum of eighty percent credit for the parcel.
Below is a partial list of stormwater BMPs used:
- Rain Gardens
- Bio-Retention cells
- Rain barrels
- Permeable Pavement
- Disconnected impervious surface
While the reduction in charges offered by the Stormwater Credits may not seem large for smaller sites, there are other potential benefits to participating in the program. In addition to creating a sustainable urban environment, many stormwater BMPs can be built as attractive landscape features that add “curbside appeal” and increase property values. Many realtors state well designed landscape projects are one of the best investments property owners can make, outperforming the costlier projects such as room additions, or kitchen and bath upgrades. Participation in the Stormwater Credits Program by a property owner contributes towards the common good and a worthwhile investment for the individual property owner.