Frequently Asked Questions

Since our sewage system serves primarily a rural area, we are unable to consistently base charges on water meter sizes, flows, or pipe size.  Therefore, LCWSA has consistently used the fixed based “EDU” calculations for our fee assessments.

An Equivalent Dwelling Unit or one (1) EDU is defined as a single family residential household.

Multifamily residential units and non residential facility EDU assessments are also calculated on a fixed “EDU basis” depending on the use.   EDU’s are assessed per the Rules and Regulations noted in Section 6.1.5.

DEFINITION: “EDU or Equivalent Dwelling Unit”   The unit of measure by which the periodic User Charge for sewer services provided by the Authority is calculated and imposed upon each improved property served by the Sewer System, as determined in accordance with the schedules contained in the applicable rate resolution or any subsequent rate resolutions of the Authority, from time to time.

Tapping Fees are distinctively different than ongoing monthly sewer service fees.

The tapping fee is not a fee to “physically connect to” the system, but instead a fee to pay for and secure a portion or share of the sewage and/or water capacity needed in the collection, conveyance, and treatment facilities of the Authority.

The individual property owner is also responsible for the physical connection to the sanitary sewer or public water system.   This work is done by his or her own contractor – following the Authority’s requirements.

A tapping fee is the initial fee charged to homeowners and customers who desire to receive water and/or wastewater service.   The fees are determined through a prescribed method known as Act 57 and previously Act 203.

The basic concept of Act 57 or Act 203 fees is to recover a portion of the embedded fixed capital investment from new customers.   The fee(s) charged to the new customer, or to the current customer increasing its demand on the system, reflects the cost required to provide service as well as recover a portion of the embedded capacity available to provide that service.

The current tapping fee schedule for both water and sewer is provided on the website under “Rates.”

Yes. LCWSA offers either ACH payment which is directly withdrawn from you checking or savings account on or near the 20th of the month, or an automatic credit card payment.  Forms to sign up for either option can be found by going to the Bill Payment Option page or the Setup ACH Payment page.

Unfortunatley we do not take payments over the phone.  For your convenience we offer online payments through our website, www.LCWSA.net.

 If the residence is going to be unoccupied, you can contact the water company to have the water shut off. Once the water is shut off, the borough or village water will contact us and billing will stop.  If you choose not to have the water turned off, billing will continue until the residence has been vacant for 6 months.

A duplicate bill can be sent to the tenant of a rental property.  However, the property owner/landlord is the person ultimately responsible if a sewer bill becomes delinquent therefore the property owner/landlord will also receive a bill so they will know if the sewer bill is being paid or not.

LCWSA will need to be notified, in writing, by a third party, either the realtor or the attorney handling the sale can fax the information to 570-546-3315.

Stormwater originates from rain events, snow/ice melt and other surface runoff and drainage.  Stormwater pollutants include sediment, nutrients, bacteria, oil & grease, oxygen demand, trace metals, toxic chemicals, chlorides and thermal impacts.  Stormwater from both Boroughs of Duboistown and South Williamsport makes its way to the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and ultimately ends up in the Chesapeake Bay. 

 

Regulations have grown more stringent and now demand investments in infrastructure and reductions in volume and loading from stormwater.

The Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) is a federal program overseen by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  MS4’s are conveyances or systems of conveyances including roads with drainage systems, catch basins, curbs, gutters, ditches and man-made channels, or storm drains that are owned or operated by a public entity.  MS4s are not part of a sanitary sewer system.  A municipality is bound by EPA regulations when the municipalities falls within an Urbanized Area as determined by the US Census Bureau.

Communities subject to the MS4 program must obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and develop and implement a stormwater management plan according the terms of the permit.   In Pennsylvania, the MS4 program has been delegated to Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) which manages and administers this program on behalf of EPA.  Both agencies have enforcement powers over this program.

Failure to comply with the terms, conditions, or effluent limitations of the MS4 permit is grounds for enforcement action, permit termination or revocation.  In addition, if there is a violation of certain provisions of the Stormwater permit, the Boroughs would be subject to civil, administrative and/or criminal penalties under the US Clean Water Act and criminal and/or civil penalties under the PA Clean Streams Law.

The Regional SMP has been developed to achieve compliance as cost effectively as possible while avoiding enforcement actions which can be very expensive and do not result in any benefit to the communities.

All property owners who have 400 square feet or greater of impervious surface on their property are being assessed a fee.  During the development of the Regional Stormwater Management Program, LCWSA and the Boroughs evaluated several different means of raising the revenue needed to sustain the program.   It was determined that a fee on all property owners whose parcels generate Stormwater from impervious surfaces was more equitable than a tax on only taxable property owners. 

In January 2020, Lycoming County Water and Sewer Authority (LCWSA), South Williamsport, and Duboistown entered into an Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement to work together to develop a Regional Stormwater Management Program (SMP) and ultimately share in the costs associated with the program and achieve compliance with the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System or MS4 permit, regulated by Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP). 

As responsibilities were assigned to each partner, LCWSA was the entity delegated to do stormwater billing for the stormwater program.

The stormwater fee will be implemented with the July 2020 utility bills sent by LCWSA.  The stormwater fee will appear as a separate line item on your existing sewer bill.  For those properties without current sewer accounts or those properties with tenant billed sewer accounts, the property owner will receive a separate stormwater bill for their property. 

The basis of the stormwater fee is the square feet of impervious surface area on each property.  Impervious area (IA) is a surface that prevents infiltration of water into the ground and includes but is not limited to roofs, patios, garages, driveways, storage sheds, and similar structures.  Stormwater utilities across Pennsylvania have utilized this methodology as a fair, equitable, and uniform mean of assessing user fees since it is a quantifiable indicator of the area of a property from which stormwater runoff originates and impacts the stormwater infrastructure system.

Impervious area is any surface which inhibits infiltration of rainfall and snow melt into the soil.  This includes pavement, asphalt, concrete, rooftops, patios, sidewalks, and compacted gravel surfaces such as parking and driveway areas/stoned areas.

Consistent with the loading calculations for the Boroughs’ permitting requirements, the Chesapeake Conservancy Land Cover Data was obtained for each parcel to determine the impervious area.  The land cover data combined with Lycoming County property records were used to arrive at each properties’ imperious area.  It was determined that the typical property regardless of use in both Boroughs had 2,480 square feet of impervious surfaces to determined the basis of an Impervious Area Unit or an IAU.

The financial obligations of the Regional Stormwater Management Program, which includes not only the regulatory compliance portion but also the stormwater infrastructure needs within the Boroughs, are significant.  The annual/monthly fee was determined by evaluating the budgetary needs of each Borough and evaluating the number of IAUs in each community.

A tier structure was established to group like properties into five different Tiers based on the impervious area of a parcel (2,480 square feet of impervious area representing 1.0 Impervious Area Unit).  Each Tier has a specific range of impervious area and an associated IAU or billing unit.  Tiers 1 through Tier 4 capture the majority of parcels.  Tier 5 includes parcels with 6,000 square feet or more of impervious area

Due to COVID-19, a COVID Credit will automatically be applied to all fees for the 2020 calendar year which will result in a 50% reduction per District:

 

Rate District:             Borough of South Williamsport - $5.00 per IAU per month

COVID CREDIT       (NON COVID Borough of South Williamsport - $10.00 per IAU per month)

 

Rate District:             Borough of Duboistown - $7.50 per IAU per month

COVID CREDIT       (NON COVID Borough of Duboistown - $15.00 per IAU per month)

 

REGIONAL STORMWATER MANAGEMENT PROGRAM FEE STRUCTURE

(With COVID Credit)

Tier

Tier Impervious Area (IA) Range in Square Feet (SF)

IAU (Impervious Area Unit or billing units)

 South Williamsport -Stormwater User Fee per month

Duboistown - Stormwater User Fee per month

0

0-399

No Charge (de minimis)

No Fee

No Fee

1

400 - 1,599

0.5

$2.50

$3.75

2

1,600 - 3,399

1

$5.00

$7.50

3

3,400 - 4,199

1.5

$7.50

$11.25

4

4,200 - 5,999

2

$10.00

$15.00

5

6,000 and greater

2.5 or greater - Calculated (1 IAU = 2,480 SF)

(IA/2,480 SF) X $5.00

(IA/2,480 SF) X $7.50

(Note – The MS4 Permits of both boroughs require specific projects to be completed over a five-year period in order to meet compliance.  In order to fund these projects within the time period of the permit, the COVID Credit expires as of 12/31/2020.)

With compliance and cost implications of the MS4 program, the three entities – LCWSA, South Williamsport, and Duboistown – are working together to cost effectively achieve compliance and ultimately share in the costs associated with the complex regulatory program.  The program also includes stormwater infrastructure and public works costs within both Boroughs.

The stormwater user fees established for each Borough are not the same because the “Level of Service” included in the public works portion of each Borough is allocated directly.   The Tier structure is the same, but the rates are different based on the costs included in the program and the number of stormwater accounts and IAU or billable units.

Each month you will receive a stormwater bill - with some properties receiving a combined sewer and stormwater utility bill.  Property owners are required to pay monthly but since the fee won’t change (unless you make changes to your impervious area), you can pay the bill in advance.

The stormwater user fees established for each Borough are not the same because the “Level of Service” included in the public works portion of each Borough is allocated directly.   The Tier structure is the same, but the rates are different based on the costs included in the program and the number of stormwater accounts and IAU or billable units.

For the year 2020, there is no discount, but property owners can pay in advance.  LCWSA will reevaluate the fee for 2021 and may consider a discount for a full year payment during the 2021 budget process. 

The stormwater user fees established for each Borough are not the same because the “Level of Service” included in the public works portion of each Borough is allocated directly.   The Tier structure is the same, but the rates are different based on the costs included in the program and the number of stormwater accounts and IAU or billable units.

LCWSA - together with the Borough of South Williamsport and the Borough of Duboistown - undergoes an extensive budgetary process for the Stormwater Management Program.  

 

LCWSA evaluates its budget in five year cycles – consistent with the permit cycle – and  will establish its annual stormwater fee together with the approved budget for each year.  This is also being done through detailed budget coordination with both boroughs since a portion of the fee covers public works costs performed directly by each borough.

The Stormwater annual budget funds the costs of administration & legal, engineering & planning, operations & maintenance (traditional public works), regulation/enforcement, stormwater quality and capital improvements.  Most of the annual costs of the stormwater program are mandated under the stormwater permit issued by DEP.  DEP renews the Boroughs’ permits every 5 years. The next DEP renewal is in 2024.  There is no way to predict what mandates will be placed in the next DEP permit.

The Regional Stormwater Management Program Rates, Rules, and Regulations have an appeal procedure that can be instituted by any property owner that believes their impervious surface calculation is incorrect.  The appeal procedure is outlined in the Credit and Appeal Process Manual. 

If you believe that the Impervious Area (IA) calculation is incorrect, you may appeal the assessment by using the Stormwater Adjustment Appeal Form.  The appeal form is used to review and address Impervious Area, Property/Parcel Boundary, and Property Ownership issues.

At this time, there is no fee associated with submitting an adjustment appeal.  However, you are solely responsible for any costs incurred in the preparation and submission of the adjustment appeal and all required appeal documentation.

Within ten (10) days of submission, an LCWSA representative will review your appeal for completeness.  The Authority has 60 days from the date of submission to either approve or deny your appeal.  If the Authority fails to take action within the 60-day period, your appeal is deemed denied.

Approved and adjusted Impervious Area and Tier changes resulting in SMP Fee adjustments will be applied to the current Stormwater bill and all future billings.

The challenges with COVID-19 have forced a reprioritization of tasks and projects to align with the reduction in anticipated revenue.   With no relief on MS4 permit requirements and no extension given for implementation of Chesapeake Bay pollution reductions, the program implementation continues to move forward to avoid unnecessary penalties and violations.

The fee will be used to pay for Administrative and Management Costs for the MS4 program, the designated Public Works related expenses contained within each Borough per the SMP budget, and Capital Investments needed to achieve compliance with the MS4 program and related Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction Plan as well as those projects identified for stormwater infrastructure.

Gravel/stone driveways and parking areas are generally considered to be impervious surfaces due to the compaction of the gravel/stone and the underlying soil by vehicular traffic.   In addition, over time, gravel/stone driveways and parking areas collect debris/dirt that is also compacted into the surface, making the surface more impermeable.   It is difficult for water to soak into a packed gravel/stone surface.   Like concrete or asphalt, compacted gravel/stone functions as a barrier to absorption and places a demand on the storm drainage infrastructure.  

It depends on how the surface of the deck was identified by the land cover data used for the assessment.  Wood decks that are located above an impervious area (IA) such as concrete or compacted stone are definitely included as impervious.  Since the aerial imagery is unable to show the surface beneath wood decks, it would be necessary for customers to contact LCWSA about wood decks above pervious areas such as loose stone, sand, soil or grass to determine the impact on the IA calculations.

Property owners are not charged for rain falling on property, but for runoff that is discharged into the stormwater system and, additionally, for the overall management of the stormwater system and the complex regulatory requirements – all of which benefit the entire community. 

When rain falls on impervious areas, the stormwater is unable to be absorbed and picks up pollutants such as oil, grease, fertilizers and sediment along the way.  There is a correlation between the quantity of pollutants contained in stormwater and the amount of impervious area.  The use of impervious area is also consistent with the methodology in stormwater permit calculations and pollutant load reductions. 

Property owners may contact LCWSA to obtain the impervious area of their property.  Property owners will need to identify the physical location, the account number assigned to the property in question, and the Tax Identification Number if applicable. 

The stormwater fee structure is set up in ½ Impervious Area Unit (IAU) increments so minor differences in the calculation of the total Impervious Area may not make a difference in your stormwater fee.  If you believe there is a major difference between the IA used for the stormwater fee and your measurements of impervious areas, simply file a Stormwater Adjustment Appeal Form.

All property owners regardless of tax status will be paying the fee.  This includes the school district, Little League, and even the Borough, for the properties that they own, will be charged the stormwater fee.  

All developed properties contribute to stormwater runoff and should pay the fee; however not all developed properties pay taxes.  Therefore, a method consistent with the regulated program and applicable to developed properties contributing to the stormwater impacts, has been developed. 

Remember that the fee is based on impervious area, not assessed value, so the cost is shifted to those properties which contribute more to the runoff.

Yes.  The Regional SMP will allow for credits from the use of designated Best Management Practices.  Credits result in a monthly percent reduction in the Stormwater Fee for having and maintaining infrastructure on your property that reduces the quantity of stormwater or improves the quality of stormwater leaving a property. Details about the Credit Program can be found in the Regional SMP Rates, Rules and Regulations and also in the Credit and Appeal Process Manual. 

All Developed Properties are potentially eligible for Credits; however, certain Credits are only available to certain categories of Properties.  For details on the credit program, the Credit and Appeal Process (CAP) Policy Manual is available to review the listing of credits and the process to follow to apply for and receive credits.  The CAP Policy Manual is available through the LCWSA website – lcwsa.net – under the Stormwater tab.

There is a $25 credit application fee.  The fee may, however, be waived at the Authority’s sole and exclusive discretion.  In addition, some credit applications with large projects may require the establishment of an escrow account to cover professional services for review of the application.

The Authority or its designee will provide written notification of the credit determination within 60 days of receipt of a complete Credit Application.  Extensions may be necessary to review credits and credit applications due to the volume of credit applications received, review period or outside agency review, or due to the complexity of the projects.

You may apply for multiple credits for a property.  A maximum of 30% credit can be applied to a single property/parcel.  Tier 5 properties may have the opportunity to apply for a Stormwater Partnership Credit for which the percent reduction will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Under the federal Clean Water Act and the state Clean Streams Law, the Boroughs  must develop, implement and enforce a Stormwater Management Program to address the minimum control measures AND reduce the discharge of pollutants into streams under a general permit that is renewed every 5 years.  The Boroughs must demonstrate compliance through submission of annual status reports and must achieve reductions in loading under the permit through projects which need to be designed, constructed, and maintained with the five year permit cycle.

The Chesapeake Bay Pollution Reduction Plan is requirement under the MS4 permit that documents a plan for a five year goal to install or employ Best Management Practices (BMPs) that reduce loading to the Chesapeake Bay.  The Boroughs are required to reduction sediment by 10%, Phosphorus by 5%, and Nitrogen by 3% to meet the PADEP requirements.

The Regional CBPRP documents the combined requirements of the Boroughs to implement BMPs designed to remove approximately 105,000 dry-pounds per year of sediments.   The CBPRP identifies various possible BMPs that could be used to achieve the combined requirement and one specific BMP that is proposed to satisfy the combined requirement. 

The CBPRP is now a combined plan to reflect the partnership and shared-project, regional approach.  The public participation period is underway with public hearings being held at the Duboistown Council meeting on August 6th at 6:30 PM at Duboistown Borough and at the South Williamsport Council meeting on August 13th at 6:00 PM in South Williamsport Borough Building.

Under the MS4 program, the Boroughs must comply with the six Minimum Control Measures outlined in the current permit.

The general categories of these measures are: Public Education and Outreach on Stormwater Impacts; Public Involvement/Participation; Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination; Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control; Post-Construction Stormwater Management in New Development and Redevelopment; and Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping. 

The Regional Stormwater Management Program includes a broad range of stormwater elements and costs which include not only the stormwater pipes, inlets, and drains, but also the overall management of the stormwater system together with the growing regulatory requirements.  Therefore, all properties are charged a stormwater fee not only for stormwater volume, but also the use of the infrastructure contained throughout the Boroughs and the complex regulatory demands. 

Throughout 2019, both Boroughs independently discussed the stormwater program, project and compliance demands, and revenue needs.  In the fall of 2019, LCWSA, the Borough of South Williamsport, and Duboistown Borough entered into a Memorandum of Understanding followed by a formal Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement in January of 2020.  Much discussion had been held during regular open public meetings at the Boroughs and at LCWSA meetings.

In late October a separately advertised public meeting was held in South Williamsport and in early November at Duboistown Borough’s regular Council Meeting, a public presentation was held.    The plan for a fee has been in place since those meetings in the late 2019.  This spring, delays resulted due to the COVID pandemic such that additional public outreach was difficult.   

The Stormwater fee is due 20 days from the date of billing consistent with monthly sewer billing.  Failure to make timely payments will result in a penalty of 10% or a carrying charge of 1.5% per month which will be added to unpaid amounts.  If the fees, penalties and interest remain unpaid for a certain period of time, a lien may be filed against the property. 

Neither LCWSA nor the Borough has control over the accuracy of the County tax maps.  These maps are the most accurate information readily available to the program at a reasonable cost.  However, recognizing that this may occur, the appeal process is structured to address inaccuracies as they relate to the calculation of the stormwater fee.

The stormwater fee is not a tax.  Not all parcel owners pay real estate taxes.  There is no direct correlation between real estate tax assessments/bills and impervious surfaces or stormwater.