Northampton adding new stormwater fee

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Northampton residents will notice a new fee on their water bills this quarter; a fee that will be based on the size of residents’ roofs and the length of their driveways.

The fee will help fund city projects like fixing aging stormwater infrastructure and protecting flood dykes along the Connecticut River.

Residents are expected to get their bills in July, but before that, the Board of Public Works will look at how much to charge each household and business.

Residents and businesses with larger roofs and longer driveways will face higher charges than those with smaller roofs and short driveways. Northampton Department of Public Works Director Ned Huntley told 22News the fee could amount to as little as $60 per year, or as much as $230 annually. There are ways to lower that cost, though.

“A discount on a rain barrel that you can put under your gutter line to hold the water that you can water your garden or your bushes at a later point. There are credits also; you can build a rain garden on your property to control storm water, let it infiltrate into the ground,” Huntley said.

The DPW has a maximum of $2 million they can collect for projects. If less is needed, stormwater bills will be adjusted.

Huntley said Westfield and Chicopee have already been doing this for a couple years.

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