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The term “stormwater” refers to the runoff that occurs when rain or snowmelt flows
across the ground. Impervious areas such as roofs, driveways and paved parking lots
prevent stormwater from permeating into the ground. As the stormwater flows across
these impervious surfaces, it picks up pollutants such as oil, dirt and debris. The
stormwater transports these pollutants either directly into a waterbody, or indirectly to
the waterbody through a storm sewer system. Since these waterbodies are important for
wildlife as well as human uses such as swimming, fishing and providing drinking water,
increasing attention is being paid to protecting the quality of stormwater.
To generate funds to treat stormwater, some communities have created stormwater
utilities that charge a fee to residential, industrial and commercial water customers. The
revenue from the stormwater fees are then used by the utility to create “best
management practices” such as wet detention ponds and rain gardens that slow the flow
of stormwater, allowing it to soak into the ground and filter before entering a waterbody.

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