Stormwater Utility Fee Credit & Appeals

Below is a list of frequently asked questions regarding Stormwater Utility Fee Credits & Appeals.

Please contact Berkeley County Stormwater Management Program at 843-719-4195 or email at webswmp@berkeleycountysc.gov on stormwater related questions.

What types of appeals are appealable grievances?

  • Incorrect Parcel Billed - This can originate from an incorrect mailing address, a recent property transaction, or an account for impervious surface being assessed to the incorrect parcel
  • Incorrect Parcel Classification - This can originate when a parcel is under development or re-development and the original property classification no longer applies, or if there is a change in use of the parcel from non-residential to residential.
  • Incorrect Impervious Area - The impervious surface area on a parcel is collected via two mechanisms. One, via flyover and aerial imagery. Two, via engineering plan submittals. However, aerial imagery mapping could be inaccurate, development & re-development may remove impervious surfaces that were once previously mapped, or gravel locations may be mapped as impervious surfaces when an allotment of gravel locations may qualify as semi-impervious.

What if I am being billed for impervious surfaces that serves another parcel and my parcel receives no benefit from the impervious surface?

A parcel owner may reallocate a stormwater utility fee charge to other parcel owners. However, the impervious surface, for which the fee exists, must exist to serve the adjacent or adjoining parcel and the parcel owner receiving the fee must provide documentation indicating that their parcel doesn’t benefit from that impervious surface. Additionally, the adjoining or adjacent parcel owner(s), to which the fee is being reallocated to, must agree to accept the new fees from the re-allocation.

What is required to be submitted for review of Stormwater Utility Fee Appeal?

  • Stormwater Utility Fee Appeal Form or a Stormwater Utility Fee Reallocation Application found in Appendix A of the Stormwater Utility Fee Credit and Appeals Manual.
  • Right-of-Entry Agreement found in Appendix C.
  • Supporting documentation that proves your claims under one of the available appeal grievances.

Can I receive retroactive reimbursement of stormwater utility fees for granted appeals?

Granted appeals- can be retroactively applied to the current property owners’ bill for payments received up to three years prior to the effective date of the granted appeal, but no earlier than January 14, 2019. To receive reimbursement, the basis or conditions for the appeal granted must have been in place on the property for all previous years. The property owner must provide evidence satisfactory to the County Engineer establishing the existence of the basis or conditions for the appeal for those years.

Who is eligible for a Stormwater Utility Fee Credit?

Any non-residential property subject to the stormwater utility fee may be eligible for a reduction in their fee through stormwater utility fee credits.

The credit will apply only to developed land containing a Berkeley County Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) approved Stormwater Control Measure (SCM) eligible for the credit. These measures can include on-site practices such as bioretention cells, vegetated swales, and other practices that manage stormwater at its source.

Credits are available only when qualifying SCMs have been properly installed and maintained, whether implemented before or after initiation of the County’s Stormwater Utility Ordinance.

Stormwater Utility accounts with past-due balances will not be eligible to apply for stormwater fee credits. Existing credited Stormwater Utility accounts not paying their stormwater charges will be deemed ineligible for future credit and revocation of existing credits.

How is the Stormwater Utility Fee Credit applied?

Credit earned = (% Credit eligible for a SCM) x (Stormwater Fee) x (% of impervious or pervious area treated)

For example, if a site has a detention pond installed which qualifies the site for a 20% credit toward its Stormwater Utility fees, but only 50% of the impervious area on-site drains to the pond, then the site can only be granted a 10% credit (20%*50%). Furthermore, if the fee paid for the site is $350, then the site receiving a 10% credit will have a fee of $315 throughout the entirety of the property owner’s ownership.

What is the maximum amount of Stormwater Utility Fee Credit a parcel owner can receive?

Non-residential property owners can apply for credits from any or a combination of the categories listed in Credit & Appeals Manual. The maximum allowable credit is 42% of the gross billing amount for commercial, industrial, tax-exempt and non-profit, institutional, HOA common areas, multi-family (duplexes and townhomes not subdivided by parcel lines), boat slips (dry stack marinas), and properties whose primary function is not a single-family residence or mobile home residence, regardless of how many individual credits for which the property qualifies.

What is required to be submitted for review of Stormwater Utility Fee Credits?

To apply for a credit, the non-residential property owner or his/her representative must complete a Credit Application or Renewal Credit Application form (Appendix A), a Right-of-Entry form (Appendix C), and a Maintenance Covenant for specific stormwater control measures (Appendix D) to furnish to the Berkeley County SWMP. To be considered complete, all applications must include all required owner contact information, property information, the “type” of credit selected, and a brief description of the proposed credit. It is recommended that you provide all supporting calculations, plans, sketches, photos, and other documentation which may assist the County in reviewing the Credit Application. All credits will be verified by the County Engineer or designee to ensure compliance with this credit manual.

When is the required documentation for Stormwater Utility Fee Credit to be submitted by?

All Credit Applications must be submitted before May 1st of each year and if it meets the requirements of the Stormwater Utility Fee Credit & Appeals Manual, will be approved by July 1st in that given calendar year for any awarded credits to be applied on the subsequent years billing cycle. The County will issue a letter of acceptance or denial of a yearly credit renewal request within forty-five (45) business days of receiving the request. Denied renewal requests may be resubmitted addressing Berkeley County comments but must be received no later than July 1st.

What are the potential credits and their applicable percentages of credit granted?

The below table summarizes the potential credits available to non-residential property owners within Berkeley County. Each credit is explained in further detail within the Stormwater Utility Fee Credit & Appeals Manual.

Type Term Potential Credit Applications require preparation by a Qualified Individual*?
Structural SCM Credits
Specific SCM Credits
Above or Below Ground Cistern Credit Annually Up to 20% N
Rain Garden Annually Up to 20% N
Pervious Pavement Credit Annually Up to 25% Y
Vegetated Filter Strip Credit Annually Up to 25% Y
Peak Discharge Rate Reduction Credit Annually Up to 42% Y
Runoff Volume Reduction Credit Annually Up to 42% Y
Quality Treatment Credit Annually Up to 10% Y
Non-Structural SCM Credits
Low Impact Parcel Credit Annually Up to 42% N
Education Credit Annually Up to 42% N
Industrial NPDES Permit Credit Permit Term Up to 20% N
Watershed Stewardship Credit Annually Up to 30% N
*Calculated report must be signed and sealed by a S.C. registered professional engineer or a landscape architect

Can I receive retroactive reimbursement of stormwater utility fees for granted credits?

Granted credits - can be retroactively applied to the current property owners’ bill for payments received up to three years prior to the effective date of the granted credit, but no earlier than January 14, 2019. To receive reimbursement, the credit being sought must have been in place on the property for all previous years. The property owner must provide evidence satisfactory to the County Engineer establishing the existence of the credit for those years.