New Storm Water Management Charges take effect July 1, 2010 in Philadelphia

Real Estate Update

Do you own a Shopping Center, Industrial Building, Parking Lot, unimproved parcel or any Commercial, Industrial, Institutional or Multi-Family Residential property in the City of Philadelphia? Your monthly bill from the Philadelphia Water Department may be increasing.

Beginning on July 1, 2010, the Philadelphia Water Department will significantly revise its method for charging customers for storm water management. In a major urban city like Philadelphia, when rain falls, a portion of that rain runs from impervious surfaces like buildings, parking lots and other paved areas into the City’s sewer system. This rain water isn’t absorbed into the ground like rain that falls on pervious land so it must be managed.

Significant portions of the City of Philadelphia still have a combined sewer system, that is, a system that carries both sewage and rain water. Unmanaged, significant volumes of rain water under extreme conditions can result in combined sewer overflows into the City’s creeks and streams and even into homes. The cost of storm water management has increased significantly for the City in recent years and the City is passing these costs along to the consumer.

The new system of billing takes into account the size of the property, in terms of acreage or square feet as well as all areas of impervious ground cover in order to calculate the amount of the monthly storm water charge. The new charge will be phased in over a five year period, beginning in 2010 and continuing through 2014.

Blank Rome can assist you with:

  1. An assessment of your storm water charge to ensure that the bill is accurate, including.
  • A determination of whether credits have been properly applied for existing storm water management controls;
  • A determination of whether existing storm water management controls have been under credited;
  • A determination of whether the assessment has been accurately applied to the property under your ownership.
  1. The filing of plans and related documents with the Water Department to ensure credit for existing storm water management controls.
  2. Working with local engineering firms to design, present and implement new storm water management improvements in order to gain credits and reduce your monthly bill.
  3. The filing of all related documents and any appeals with the Water Department.

The storm water management charge can have a significant impact on a property owners’ monthly overhead expenses. In some instances, water bills are projected to increase from a few hundred dollars a month to over a thousand dollars a month.

Notice: The purpose of this newsletter is to identify select developments that may be of interest to readers. The information contained herein is abridged and summarized from various sources, the accuracy and completeness of which cannot be assured. The Advisory should not be construed as legal advice or opinion, and is not a substitute for the advice of counsel.