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City of Philadelphia

2016 Special Rates Filing

Contact the Water Rate Board

Please send email to:

Philadelphia Water, Sewer, and Storm Water Rate Board
c/o Cody Williams
1515 Arch Street, 17th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102

December 22, 2016:

The Water, Sewer and Storm Water Rate Board has issued its Determination on the Special Rate Discount for eligible community gardens. Based on information supplied by the Water Department and testimony from organizations and citizens, the Board has approved a 100 percent special discount for community gardens effective January 1, 2017.

  • View the Report of the Board on the 2016 Special Rate Filing
  • Read more below about the rate process and how the determination was made.

    On June 28, 2016, Mayor James F. Kenney signed an ordinance passed by Philadelphia City Council that allows community gardens a special discounted rate for stormwater management services.

    The ordinance directs the Philadelphia Water, Sewer and Storm Water Rate Board (Rate Board) to establish a special discounted stormwater charge, in an amount up to and including 100%, for approved community gardens. As a result, the Board may exempt community gardens from paying a monthly stormwater charge, as long as the gardens meet the criteria in the ordinance.

    More Information on The Request For Changes To Existing Stormwater Charges.

    The most important criteria a community garden must meet are:
    1. the property’s principal use is for growing plants,
    2. a community group operates the garden for public benefit, and
    3. stormwater is sustainably managed on at least 80% of the property.

    On July 20, 2016, community garden representatives requested that the Water Department initiate a proceeding before the Rate Board to consider the stormwater charge exemption. The Water Department’s current filing with the Rate Board is to initiate the Board’s review and determination of the special discounted rate for approved community gardens.

    A financial analysis has determined that a 100% stormwater rate discount to known community gardens for the current rate period which began on July 1, 2016 and ends June 30, 2018 would result in lost revenue to the Philadelphia Water Department estimated to be $46,490 in FY2017 and $48,374 in FY2018, for a total of $94,864 over the current Rate Period.

    If a full stormwater charge exemption is granted to community gardens, the revenue loss to the Water Department is small enough that all other existing rates and charges will not increase for the remainder of the current Rate Period. This means that no other customer will pay more for water, sewer and storm water service if the community garden exemption is granted.

    Official PWD Rate Filing

    On October 12, 2016, the Philadelphia Water Department filed the formal notice of proposed change in stormwater rates for community gardens with the Department of Records. Please note all filing materials have remained the same as the September 12th, 2016 advance filing.On September 12, 2016, the Philadelphia Water Department filed Advance Notice with City Council and the Philadelphia Water, Sewer and Storm Water Rate Board about a requested change in stormwater rates for Community Gardens.

    Information Requests and Responses

    Registered Participants

    Neighborhood Gardens Trust

    Norris Square Neighborhood Project

    Village of Arts and Humanities

    Testimony of Registered Participants

    Public Written Comment

    Public Hearing Transcripts

    Participant Summaries

    Public Hearings

    Six Public Input Hearings have been scheduled as part of the rate setting process. To attend and participate,

    View Upcoming Hearings »

    The Water Rate Board also holds regular meetings that are open to the public. View the Board Meeting Schedule or notes and agendas from past meetings