Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Storm Water Utility

What is Stormwater?

Stormwater is exactly what is sounds like. When it rains, or when snow melts, water that is not soaked into the ground may go directly into a storm drain and straight to a nearby river or creek.  Fort Wayne's Stormwater Utility is responsible for managing both stormwater quality and quantity.

A resource for learning more about stormwater and its impact on river water quality is the Allen County Partnership For Water Quality at

Who Manages the Stormwater?

Fort Wayne's Stormwater Utility has responsibility for operating, maintaining and improving an extensive system of open waterways and enclosed storm sewer lines. This system exists to collect the rainwater that runs off yards, roofs, streets and parking lots and carry it away from neighborhoods to area rivers. Without a stormwater collection system every rainstorm could turn into a flood. Thanks to the stormwater system, when Fort Wayne's rivers flood it's usually caused by runoff from areas upstream, NOT poor drainage in the City.

The stormwater system contains more than 600 miles of sewer lines, ditches, open channels and drains. It drains more than 68 square miles and serves approximately 72,200 residential and commercial customers inside the boundaries of Fort Wayne.

Portions of the system, like the brick sewer lines in the central city area, were built in the mid- and late-1800s. These brick sewers, that are so old, are one of the problems we are facing as we work to maintain and improve the system-they need ongoing inspection and repair.

The utility must also ensure that Fort Wayne meets state and federal requirements for improving the quality of stormwater runoff.  Because most stormwater receives no treatment before it goes into a stream, lake or river it is important that we keep as many pollutants as possible out of stormwater runoff.

How is Stormwater Management Paid For?

The services of the stormwater utility are paid for by a monthly fee added to sewer and water bills. All residential customers of Fort Wayne City Utilities pay $3.65 per month to support the system and non-residential customers pay $3.65 per 2500 square feet of impervious land (land with a hard surface that won't absorb rainwater such as driveways, rooftops, and sidewalks). The City's authority for collecting this fee is found in Chapter 53 of City Code and Indiana Code 8-1.5-5.

How are the Stormwater Utility Funds Spent? 

The Stormwater Utility has a budget of about $10 million per year. This money is spent:

  • Repairing, replacing and improving the stormwater drainage system
  • Cleaning drainage inlets and catch basins
  • Maintaining swales and ditches
  • Ensuring compliance with the EPA's Clean Water Act 
  • Providing higher water quality standards to the residents of Fort Wayne
  • Monitoring and controlling pollution levels in stormwater that is returned to the rivers

It is important to our environment that we all work to reduce the amount of pollution carried by stormwater.  Click here to find out what you can do to prevent stormwater pollution.