MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The City of Martinsburg has released information regarding its implementation of a Stormwater Utility Fee.

On Thursday, October 14, 2021, the Martinsburg City Council adopted an ordinance establishing the Martinsburg Stormwater Utility after several years of studies, discussion, workshops and public meetings. A fully funded and operational stormwater program is required by the United States Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) and the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) under the Clean Water Act. The City of Martinsburg is required to address the amount and type of pollution carried by stormwater runoff that is deposited into the local creeks and streams to ensure that our local waterways remain clean.

The Martinsburg Stormwater Utility has the obligation to protect, to the greatest extent practicable, surface waters and receiving waters from pollution, erosion, flooding, excessive flows and other conditions which degrade the water environment and drinking water or endanger aquatic life within the Martinsburg urban water shed. The Utility also has the duty to meet all requirements of State and Federal law and the City’s municipal stormwater National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit issued by the West Virginia DEP.

The City of Martinsburg was designated as a Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System in 2004. Since 2003, the City has utilized revenues from the general revenues to fund the operation and maintenance of the stormwater system and to perform capital improvements. The general fund budget is made up of revenue resources that are collected by the City and funds police, fire, streets, parks and all other general operations of the City.

Stormwater must develop a dedicated revenue stream and a stormwater utility fee provides a reliable and fair method for collecting money in order to allow the City to provide increased and improved stormwater management services to ensure compliance with its NPDES permit. With the renewal of Martinsburg’s revised NPDES permit which requires the City to create a comprehensive program to seek out and eliminate, to the maximum extent practical, pollutants carried by stormwater runoff, it is simply impossible to comply with the permit requirements without a new dedicated funding source. The City’s general fund does not have sufficient annual revenue to adequately fund a separate stormwater utility. Thus, the City of Martinsburg has adopted a stormwater utility fee which will go into effect in 2022. The initial stormwater utility fee shall be effective January 1, 2022. Billing will be quarterly with an anticipated first billing date of March 2022.

The stormwater utility fee is a flat rate charge based on the amount of impervious surface on a real property within the City of Martinsburg. This fee includes service charges for the operation, maintenance, improvement of, and necessary additions to the stormwater system. All owners of real property in the City shall pay the monthly stormwater utility fee based on the amount of square footage of impervious surface on a real property which is calculated as an Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU). The average impervious surface of a real property was used as the basis for determining the size of an ERU. 1 ERU = 2,280 feet of imperious surface. Impervious surface is materials, like buildings, roofs, and parking lots, that significantly inhibit rainwater from penetrating the soil. The rainwater that does not soak into the ground is called stormwater runoff.

The City established a monthly utility fee that will bill by 1/2 of an ERU. This allows smaller properties to have a more accurate billing statement. No bill will be less than 1/2 ERU or $6.00 per month. An average residential property with a rooftop, driveway and sidewalk is equal to 1 ERU (2,280 ft² impervious surface) = $12.00 per month. An average small commercial property with a rooftop, sidewalk and parking lot is equal to 10 ERUs (22,8000 ft² impervious surface) = $120.00 per month.

The City of Martinsburg Stormwater Utility has developed an interactive map on the City’s website that will show property owner’s their estimated fee and attempts to answers all questions related to stormwater and the fee at

The new stormwater fee will be phased in over 3 years. For residential properties over 1 ERU, the following 3-year phase-in will be applicable:

2022 – No more than 1 ERUs charged per month
2023 – No more than 2 ERUs charged per month
2024 – No more than 4 ERUs charged per month
2025 – No maximum cap per month

For commercial properties, the following 3-year phase in will be applicable:

2022 – No more than 25 ERUs charged per month
2023 – No more than 50 ERUs charged per month
2024 – No more than 100 ERUs per month
2025 – No maximum cap per month

The City of Martinsburg is very cognizant that an additional fee is not something that many individuals would prefer and its enactment will probably not be incredibly popular. However, the City has waited as long as possible to implement the fee. The requirements placed on Martinsburg by the EPA and DEP leaves the City with little choice but to do so – just as many jurisdictions surrounding us have implemented a separate stormwater fee over the last decade to comply with DEP and EPA mandates. Should the City choose not to comply with the Federal stormwater regulations, penalties for willful non-compliance can reach up to $50,000 per day for each day of a separate offense or imprisonment, or both. Failure to comply with State stormwater regulations are subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $25,000 per day of the violation.

For more information related to the formation of the Martinsburg Stormwater Utility and/or associated fee, please visit or contact the Martinsburg Stormwater Utility at 304-263-7187.