The pipes are corroding as you read this.

Under our buildings and beneath our roads lies a myriad of stormwater infrastructure – much of it put in place more than 40 years ago.

After several decades, these systems are in need of updates. However, many cities, townships, villages, and boroughs don’t have funds set aside to fix the crumbling infrastructure. General funds are used to tackle emergencies as they occur, such as a sinkhole or a leaking pipe.

In the most recent edition of The Authority, a magazine published by the Pennsylvania Municipal Authorities Association, RETTEW’s Kara Kalupson, Senior MS4 Coordinator, and James Meisenbach, GIS Analyst, address the stormwater issue with two possible solutions: stormwater fees and GIS mapping.

They outline what to consider if a local wastewater authority would take over ownership and maintenance of the stormwater system. Fees can be associated directly with stormwater upkeep, and authority staff can be trained on the system and its upkeep.

Kara also explored how an authority can go about setting stormwater fees with a fee rate structure, and how to best communicate those changes.

James detailed how an integrated mapping system can help reduce costs by avoiding emergencies and planning for upgrades with the right information. A GIS map can include infrastructure details such as the type of material, the diameter of pipes, installation dates, and when repairs were last made. GIS also enables information to be viewed and updated directly from the field, rather than bringing information back to the office.

As written at the end of the article:

“Operating and maintaining stormwater management systems is an enormous task. But it’s a lot easier when fees are in place, staff is trained, and a solid mapping system to help monitor maintenance and upgrades is used.”