Stormwater management fees are billed monthly to all customers to fund the city’s stormwater management program and facilities. This management program brings the city into compliance with federal regulations and safeguards our community directly through infrastructure improvements, improved inspection and maintenance of critical stormwater facilities, and indirectly through such programs as public education and outreach. Stormwater utility charges to properties are based on that property’s contribution to the need for stormwater management and facilities.

Use of Fees

The stormwater management fees pay for operations and maintenance costs of the stormwater management programs and facilities. Some of the services tied to the stormwater management program include the following:
  • Illicit discharge detection and elimination
  • Improving water quality
  • Public education and outreach
  • Storm sewer system maintenance, repairs and construction

Fee Responsibilities

Owners of all developed land in the City of Urbandale pay the stormwater utility fee. This includes residential properties, commercial properties, industrial properties, churches, schools, and other non-profit organizations. Undeveloped land is not charged stormwater utility fees because it does not have impervious surfaces.

Different From Tax

The stormwater utility fee is a user fee, much like the fee that you pay for your water utility or sanitary sewer utility services. Users of these services are charged for the demand they place on the system. This user fee system is a fair and equitable way to raise revenue for the program since it charges those who directly contribute to its need.

The stormwater that flows off your property places a demand on a vast system of stormwater infrastructure, which is costly to operate and maintain. Existing water utility fees do not pay for stormwater management. However, the problem of water pollution has called attention to the need for greater safeguards in the management of stormwater. The city must minimize the impacts of flooding and stormwater pollution from the runoff generated from rooftops, yards, sidewalks, parking lots, and streets.

Stormwater Fees in Other Cities

A number of municipalities in the United States have established stormwater utilities to fund their stormwater management programs and facilities. Communities in central Iowa include:
  • Ames
  • Clive
  • Des Moines
  • Waukee
  • West Des Moines
  • Windsor Heights

Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU)

An ERU is a measure of impervious surface on a property. The City of Urbandale has established 1 ERU as 3,200 square feet of impervious surface.

Calculating the Fees

Property owners are charged stormwater management fees based on the total impervious surface area on the property. The stormwater management fee system is based on the total impervious surface area divided by 1 ERU. All single family dwelling properties are charged a fee of 1 ERU.

Duplex dwellings with 2 family dwelling units will be treated as 2 single family dwellings. Townhome dwellings that are not attached vertically are treated as 1 single family dwelling. Apartments are treated as commercial properties.


Commercial and industrial properties with greater than 1 ERU of impervious surface are charged for the total ERUs. For example: a commercial property with 8,000 square feet of total impervious surface would be billed for 2.5 ERUs (8,000 square feet divided by 3,200 square feet (1 ERU) equals 2.5 ERUs).

Rate & Errors

In 2016, the Urbandale City Council approved a rate change.  Starting July 1, 2016, the monthly rate is $6 per ERU per month for the first 100 ERUs, and then $5 per ERU per month for each additional ERU above 100.  Single family dwelling properties are charged 1 ERU, regardless of size.

The stormwater management fees are billed by the Urbandale Water Utility and are made payable monthly at the same time payment for city water and garbage is made.  You can contact the Engineering and Public Works Department at 515-278-3950 if you discover errors on your bill.

Read our Stormwater Flyer for more information on the Stormwater Fees.