Financing Stormwater Retrofits in Philadelphia and Beyond

By Alisa Valderrama, Larry Levine, Starla Yeh, and Eron Bloomgarden

Philadelphia, PA (February 1, 2012)- Philadelphia has taken the lead among cities nationwide by establishing a parcel-based stormwater billing structure that provides a very significant credit (up to nearly 100 percent) for non-residential owners who can demonstrate onsite management of the first inch of rainfall over their entire parcel. Philadelphia’s incentive it creates for private property owners to install stormwater retrofits complements the city’s Green City, Clean Waters program, which recently received approval from state regulators. That program requires the city, over the next 25 years, to retrofit nearly 10,000 impervious acres of public and private property to manage an inch of stormwater runoff onsite.

As this paper outlines, policy frameworks can play a crucial role in attracting private investors to greener stormwater management efforts that focus on restoring hydrologic function in urbanized areas. Using Philadelphia’s stormwater fee and credit system for commercial properties as a sample case, this paper explores potential financing strategies that leverage private capital to finance urban stormwater retrofits.

Drawing from concepts developed in the energy efficiency finance sector, this report evaluates a number of stormwater retrofit financing options that could be developed to suit the needs of property owners interested in installing stormwater retrofits on their properties to reduce their monthly stormwater bill.

Related Resource:

Natural Resources Defense Council: Financing Stormwater Retrofits in Philadelphia and Beyond