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Stormwater runoff is the water that flows off roofs, driveways, parking lots, streets and other impervious surfaces during rain events. It is also the rain that flows off grass surfaces and wooded areas that is not absorbed into the soil and pours into ditches, culverts, catch basins and storm sewers. Stormwater runoff does not receive treatment before entering streams, lakes and other waterways.
Water from rain or melting snow either seeps into the ground or runs off to lower areas while making its way to streams, lakes and other water bodies. On its way, runoff water can pick up and carry many substances that pollute water. Examples of common pollutants include fertilizers, pesticides, pet waste, sediment, oil, salt, trace metals, grass clippings, leaves and litter. Polluted stormwater runoff can be generated anywhere people use or alter the land, such as farms, yards, roofs, driveways, construction sites and roadways.
Municipalities across the United States and in Tennessee, including White House, Goodlettsville, Springfield, Gallatin, Murfreesboro, Franklin, Smyrna and Nashville to name a few, have implemented a stormwater utility fee.
No. The stormwater fee is not a tax. Taxes are based on the value of the property. The stormwater fee is assessed based on the amount of impervious surface on the property (i.e., roofs, driveways, parking lots) which is directly related to the amount of runoff the property produces. The runoff generated by these impervious surfaces contributes to flooding problems and potential pollutants. Therefore, all property owners should pay their share of the costs.
You can call the City of Portland Stormwater Department at 615-323-9293. We will investigate your concern and see if there is anything we can do to help. However, it is important to note the Stormwater Department does not operate outside of Public Utility and Drainage Easements (P.U.D.E) or rights-of-way. Flooding concerns outside of those areas on private property is the responsibility of the property owner. We can offer suggestions that may alleviate the issue if we cannot physically perform the work ourselves.
Individual property owners own the portion of the stormwater system that may be on their property. This can include detention areas, swales or other stormwater control measures. The City owns the stormwater system that is on City-owned property or in rights-of-way.
As precipitation falls on undeveloped areas, it is primarily absorbed in the ground or slowly runs offs into streams, rivers and other water bodies with a much lower risk of picking up pollutants. Development of land resulting in more impervious surface (rooftops, driveways, parking lots, etc.) prevents water from being absorbed and creates a faster rate and amount of runoff. This development has the potential to cause flooding or water-quality issues if not properly managed.