Green Infrastructure

Paying for Stormwater - The Benefits of a Utility

A stormwater utility can be an effective and dedicated source of funding to pay for stormwater management programs and related infrastructure investments. In this webcast, we’ll first hear a presentation on the key considerations when establishing a stormwater authority, followed by two municipalities who will share their efforts in creating a stormwater utility.


Session 1

Andrew Reese, PE LEED, Vice President, AMEC Foster Wheeler

Andy Reese will talk about some of the key things to understand and consider in attempting to establish a regional stormwater authority versus a single entity stormwater utility or enterprise. Topics will include process, organizational issues, aligning interests and programs, defining levels of authority, and creating safe boundaries to maximize long-term satisfaction and effectiveness.

Session 2

Robert D. Chandler, Ph.D., P.E., Assistant Public Works Director, City of Salem, OR

Historically, stormwater services in Salem, Oregon, have been funded by wastewater ratepayers. Beginning in late 2009, the Public Works Department began working on a proposal to decouple stormwater funding from wastewater fees by creating a separate stormwater fee. On December 6, 2010, Council approved creation of a stormwater utility and implementation of a stormwater rate. Given from the perspective of City Staff, this presentation summarizes why Salem chose to create a stormwater utility; describes where they started and how they ended up; and concludes with a selection of lessons learned and confirmed.

Session 3

Sheila Dormody, Director of Policy, Office of Mayor Jorge O. Elorza, City of Providence, RI

Six Rhode Island municipalities facing challenges of aging infrastructure, water pollution, and flooding problems in the Upper Narragansett Bay region are in the midst of a feasibility study to create a regional stormwater management district. Sheila Dormody will discuss the reasons the municipalities are considering a regional approach, the results of the first phase of the study, and the work underway in the second phase of the study.


Andy Reese

Andy Reese is a Vice President at AMEC Foster Wheeler. He has worked in all 50 states in a wide variety of areas with a current focus on green infrastructure and stormwater management. He helped teach an EPA webinar on stormwater utility financing. He is a registered professional engineer and LEED certified with degrees from Cornell University, Boston University and Colorado State. He is a noted writer and speaker, having given the first STORMCON and the first WEFTEC Stormwater Congress keynotes and is the co-author of the bestselling textbook Municipal Stormwater Management. He is a grandfather and the father of four children who are all grown or think they are. He and his wife reside in Tennessee where he still hopes to be discovered by the Grand Ole Opry.

Robert Chandler

Robert Chandler has been serving as Assistant Public Works Director in Salem, Oregon, since August 2009. Prior to moving to Salem, Dr. Chandler worked for 14 years at Seattle Public Utilities, primarily in the arena of stormwater management, and he is a licensed Civil Engineering in the states of Washington and Oregon.  A graduate from the University of Washington with a degree in mechanical engineering, he served for 10 years as a nuclear submarine officer before returning to the UW and earning a Master’s Degree in 1993 and a Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering in 1995. Dr. Chandler’s wide-ranging responsibilities at Salem Public Works include: water, stormwater, wastewater, transportation, and parks master planning; utility fee implementation (currently stormwater and street light fees); Oregon water rights; development services, plan review, and land use; customer service and public outreach; watershed coordination; and emergency planning, to name a few.

Sheila Dormody

Sheila Dormody is the director of policy for Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. She previously served as the first director of sustainability for the City of Providence from 2011-2014 where her work included coordinating six municipalities to develop sustainable funding for a regional approach to stormwater management, identifying opportunities to reduce energy costs, and working with community groups to establish the City’s first comprehensive sustainability plan. Dormody chairs the Rhode Island Executive Climate Change Coordinating Council Advisory Board, and serves on the boards of the Providence Plan, the Distributed Generation Board, and the New England Grassroots Environment Fund. Previously, she was New England co-director for the environmental advocacy group, Clean Water Action. She won a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Merit Award in 2008 for her work to prevent mercury pollution.