Surface Water Management District
The Summit County Surface Water Management District (SWMD) is a stormwater improvement program that functions as a utility. In June 2022, Summit County expanded the SWMD to comply with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regulations and utilize American Rescue Plan Act funding for large stormwater projects. The district now contains all Summit County townships, Boston Heights, Lakemore, Clinton, and Reminderville. The program is available to any other village or city in Summit County on an opt-in basis. The SWMD was originally created as an all voluntary program in 2017 in order to aide local communities in their efforts to address stormwater problems. Bath Township joined the district in 2018.
Highlights of the SWMD - Bath Township, Special District
The Surface Water Management District ("SWMD") functions as a utility. Currently, residential properties are charged one Equivalent Rate Unit or “ERU”. The current rate for one ERU is $4.00 per month, which is billed annually. Properties with a Homestead Exemption are granted a 25% reduction in fees, for a cost of $3.00 per month. Commercial properties are charged one ERU per 3,000 square feet of impervious surface. Those who already live in an assessed subdivision will also be granted a 25% fee reduction. In addition, property owners can receive credits for performing unrequired storm water control measures; however no property shall pay less than one ERU per month. Summit County recently changed the collection method, with fees now being collected on the property tax bills. Please note, Bath Township as the only opt-in community is the only township currently paying fees. A revised fee rate and scheule is being developed and will not be implemented until 2025 for the expanded district.
The program provides the ability to raise revenue for stormwater control projects that cannot be funded in any other manner. The Ohio Revised Code does not allow counties or townships to spend road and bridge money on off-roadway drainage improvements, leaving them to rely on increasingly strapped general fund dollars to provide such services. The SWMD allows political subdivisions to finally perform projects and maintenance in areas that have long been a problem but had no funds available for the improvements. Rules and regulations have been adopted to implement best practices and ensure stormwater quality.
Other advantages to the program are the ability to set rates according to community needs. The Surface Water Management District is overseen by the County Engineer, County Executive, and County Council. County Council is able to set rates with community input, providing earmarked funds for local and regional storm water improvements. Administrative costs to the program are low, with the Surface Water Management District utilizing existing county employees to implement and oversee the program.
All money collected within a political subdivision is used to benefit that political subdivision. The Surface Water Management District can also perform projects beyond its limits utilizing existing provisions in the Ohio Revised Code in the event a storm water control project in a neighboring community would benefit a participating community. ORC Sections 6131, 6133, and 6137 define the procedure for construction and maintenance of these projects.
The SWMD appointed an advisory committee made up of Bath Township resident volunteers to help prioritize Bath Township needs and projects. The advisory committee first met in 2019 and heard from Sustainable Streams engineer Bob Hawley, PE regarding the Yellow Creek Watershed Study. The study and Mr. Hawley's presentation can be found below. Though the program is administered by the County, we are committed to having as much local control and input as possible. If you are interested in serving on the advisory committee in the future, the information and application form are attached below.
Property owners in the Bath Township SWMD may use the below forms to submit a drainage complaint, file an appeal, or request an ERU credit.
- Surface Water Management District ERU Credit Form
- Surface Water Management Drainage Concern Form
- Surface Water Management District Appeals Form
- June 2022 SWMD Newsletter (PDF, 257.5k)
- Yellow Creek NPSIS (PDF, 8382.0k)
- Landowners' Guide to Stormwater (PDF, 654.0k)
- SWMD Advisory Committee Member Application (PDF, 70.1k)
- Yellow Creek Watershed Study (PDF, 8387.8k)
In Summit County’s discussions with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) in anticipation of the issuance of a new permit under the OEPA’s National Pollutant Discharge and Elimination System (NPDES) Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4), the OEPA informed Summit County that they desired to see changes to the County’s MS4 program. OEPA advised the County to enact legislation authorizing the County to enforce illicit discharge detection and elimination rules for every community under the MS4 permit, which, at the time, was almost every community in Summit County. In order to stay on the County permit, communities would have had to grant the County authority to map and inspect their stormwater systems by joining the Summit County Surface Water Management District. OEPA also stated the mapping of the stormwater systems in most of the communities on the permit was deficient and a major mapping project would eventually be required. Summit County Council did update the ordinance and most cities opted to maintain their own permit and enforce their own illicit discharge ordinances. The County was also advised townships were required to be on the County permit.
The County’s MS-4 permit includes various tasks that must be implemented within specific timeframes. Failure to implement these tasks in a timely manner may result in fines being imposed upon the County by the EPA. The first of these tasks has already been completed in the County’s adoption of Codified Ordnance 944, Illicit Discharge and Detection.
The next task was the adoption of an amended Codified Ordinance 942 (attached below), which expanded the Surface Water Management District, which was done in June 2022. With the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, funding is available for stormwater capital projects. The initial phase of the expanded SWMD will be funded with mostly ARPA dollars, with at least one priority project being identified in every community in the district's service area. Fees for the program are still being developed and will not be enacted until 2025. The fees will be based on some combination of property value and acreage, with different rates for commericial, residential, vacant, and agricultural properties.
The most up-to-date priority project list and map as of July 2022 is below.
In addition to capital projects, the County is tasked with implementing a more robust MS4 plan. The County will be contracting with Summit Soil and Water Conservation District to oversee these activities. These activities include establishing a surface water sampling and water quality monitoring program, including a system of recording and reporting water quality data, tracing the source of any identified pollutants, ordering corrective actions, and issuing fines for violations, helping communities implement their own best practices for township/village government, and outreach and education to the public, among many others.
As the new program takes shape, community members will be asked to serve on various community and watershed advisory boards, to help guide and prioritize projects moving forward. We envision an advisory committee for each township or village and will be asking community members and local elected officials to serve in that capacity.
The status of the new program is rapidly changing. Requests for proposals for several priority projects are already underway, as well as working with Summit County GIS department to map all the stormwater facilities in the district's service area. Feel free to share your thoughts with us as the process develops by using our "Contact Us" page. Residents can also request projects by initiating a ditch petition using the Ditch Petition Process.
Ordinance, Rules, and Regulations
Summit County's Surface Water Management District was created in Chapter 942 of the Summit County Codified Ordinances. The Ordinance and Rules and Regulations are attached below. In addition, permits are required for any excavation, filling, grading, and/or pond construction. The permit form and the brochure explaining the process are attached below.
FAQs, Newsletters, and Additional Information
Have more questions? We may have already covered them in our FAQ and various public presentations or call SWMD at 330-643-8010.
- SWMD Update Sep 20 2021 (PDF, 2966.4k)
- Surface Water Management District July 2020 Newsletter (PDF, 836.4k)
- Surface Water Management District March 2020 (PDF, 1023.8k)
- SWMD Legal Summary (PDF, 50.7k)
- SWMD Presentation May 2019 (PDF, 2975.0k)
- SWMD Overview Presentation (PDF, 426.6k)
- SWMD FAQ (PDF, 46.4k)
- SWMD Brochure (PDF, 114.6k)
Use the online forms below to submit a drainage complaint, appeal a fee, or apply for an ERU credit. Please note that the ERU credit and appeals forms are only for the Bath Township Special District at this time.