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WQPC Rates & Calculation

 

The Water Quality Protection Charge is calculated based on how much of your property is impervious (does not allow rain to be absorbed into the ground). Properties with small buildings and little development pay less than properties with a lot of developed land.

 

How Was the Amount of Impervious Surface on My Property Determined?

Impervious surface data was gathered from imagery through geographic information systems (GIS) available from Montgomery County and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. Impervious surface area is calculated by totaling the square footage of any surface area that doesn’t allow for rain water to be absorbed.

The impervious surface area for your property is the total of:

  • Building area
  • Patio area
  • Attached or detached garage building area
  • Walkways
  • Driveway surface area
  • Basketball/tennis courts surface area
  • Private parking lots
  • Other paved areas with concrete or asphalt

 

Not included in the total:

  • Pools (Patios and paved areas around the pool are included)
  • Wooden decks
  • Front porches
  • Public sidewalks
  • Agricultural business buildings, such as barns or silos
  • Agricultural driveways
View an aerial of your property to see what was included in your WQPC. 

 


Payment Process

The Water Quality Protection Charge is assessed along with the annual property tax bill on July 1st each year. Payment process and schedules follows the rules and regulations of the Division of Treasury.

Image of a backyard in bloom. Interest on the overdue payment accrues according to the same schedule and at the same rate charged for delinquent real property taxes until the owner has remitted the outstanding payment and interest. An unpaid WQPC is subject to all penalties and remedies that apply to unpaid real property taxes. If the unpaid charge becomes a lien against the property, the lien has the same priority as a lien imposed for nonpayment of real property taxes.

  • Believe your WQPC has been assigned or calculated incorrectly?
  • Are you facing financial limitations that would prevent full payment of the WQPC? 
  • Do you own multiple properties and want them to be calculated as one contiguous unit?
Choose your property type from the list below to find out how to appeal your charge or receive a hardship exemption:

 

 


Basis for the Charge

Before calculating how much each property owner was charged, the County first determined how much impervious surface is on a typical property in Montgomery County. This number is called the  Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU). Property owners are charged based on how much more or less impervious space they have compared to the ERU.

Each tax year the County Council sets how much each ERU will cost. This number is called the Rate. For this tax year (2017),  the Rate is $104.25.

1 ERU = 2,406 square feet = $104.25

The exact amount of each property's charge is based on two factors:

  • The amount of impervious surface area on the property

  • The type of property owner

     

Choose your property type below to see how your charge was calculated:

501(c)(3) Nonprofit Properties

501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that own properties have a different charge structure than for-profit property owners.

Properties owned by 501(c)(3) organizations are put into tiers based on the amount of impervious surface area on the property. Each tier has a maximum amount that no one in that tier will be charged above.

 

 

 

How is the WQPC Calculated for 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organizations?

The WQPC for nonprofit properties is calculated by the following formula:

Image of the Water Quality Protection Charge calculation.  WQPC = (Square Feet of Impervious Area / ERU) X Rate

 

For this tax year, one ERU = 2,406 square feet and the Rate is $104.25, therefore:


$104.25


After calculating the WQPC based on the formula, compare the resulting number to the Tier Chart above. If the WQPC is calculated as more than the maximum for the appropriate Tier, then the property owner is only charged the maximum for that Tier. 

 

The impervious area is the total surface area of your property that does not absorb water, such as the roof, driveway, patio, walkways, etc.  

  • 2,406 square feet is the Equivalent Residential Unit, i.e. the median amount of impervious space on residential properties in the County.
  • $104.25 is the Rate. The Rate is set by the County Council each year.

 

Examples

Example #1:

Paul directs a regional 501(c)(3) organization. To house Paul’s staff, the nonprofit owns a property with an office building and parking lot. The property has 6,000 square feet of roof surface area and 10,000 square feet of parking lot area.

The total impervious surface area for the property is:  6,000 + 10,000 = 16,000 square feet

 

To Calculate Paul’s Nonprofit’s Charge:

Step 1: Determine the charge before the nonprofit tier reduction

(16,000 / 2,406) X $104.25 = $693.27


Step 2: Determine which tier Paul's nonprofit belongs in. 

With 16,000 sq. ft., Paul's property falls in Tier 2


Step 3: Compare the max charge for the tier with the amount calculated in Step 1.

The calculated amount of charge is less than the maximum for that tier ($938.25) and therefore, Paul’s organization would be charged $693.27.

 

Example #2:

Justine is the executive director of a 501(c)(3) food pantry. The food pantry warehouse has 20,000 square feet of roof surface area and 15,000 square feet of parking lot area.

The total impervious surface area for the property is:  20,000 + 15,000 = 35,000 square feet

 

To Calculate Justine’s Nonprofit’s Charge:

Step 1: Determine the charge before the nonprofit tier reduction

(35,000 / 2,406) X $104.25 = $1,516.52


Step 2: Determine which tier Paul's nonprofit belongs in. 

With 35,000 sq. ft., Justine's property falls in Tier 2


Step 3: Compare the max charge for the tier with the amount calculated in Step 1.

The calculated amount of charge is more than the maximum for that tier ($938.25) and therefore, Justine's organization would be charged $938.25.

 

Semi-Detached Nonprofit Properties

If your 501(c)(3) property is part of a larger building with multiple property owners, such as an office in a mixed-use building, the total impervious surface area for your property is calculated by dividing the total shared impervious surface area by the number of property owners and then adding any impervious surface area solely within the boundaries of your property. The above 501(c)(3) Tier structure is then applied.

 

Example:

Helene is the executive director of a 501(c)(3) organization that owns an office in a strip of 4 semi-detached commercial properties. The combined impervious roof surface area for the strip of properties is 26,000 square feet. The shared parking lot is 6,500 square feet.

The total impervious surface area for the four properties is:  26,000 + 6,500 = 32,500 square feet.

Because Helene’s non-profit is one of 4 properties in the strip, she is responsible for 1/4 of the total surface area:   32,500/4 = 8,125 square feet

 

To Calculate Helene’s Nonprofit’s Charge:

Step 1: Determine the charge before the nonprofit tier reduction

(8,125 / 2,406) X $104.25 = $352.05


Step 2: Determine which tier Helene's nonprofit belongs in. 

With 8,125 sq. ft., Helene's property falls in Tier 2


Step 3: Compare the max charge for the tier with the amount calculated in Step 1.

The calculated amount of charge is less than the maximum for that tier ($938.25) and therefore, Helene's organization would be charged  $352.05.

 

Reduce Your Charge

Non-residential property owners can participate in the WQPC Credit Program and receive a reduction of up to 60% for complete onsite treatement of stormwater or up to 80% of their charge for complete onsite treatement of stormwater using environmental site design technology. Additional credits can be achieved for offsite stormwater treatment. Stormwater management practices can be installed on the grounds, and reduce the charge for each property owner in the condominium regime.

By installing stormwater management practices (e.g. rain gardens, dry wells, conservation landscaping), condominiums can help prevent stormwater pollution, and as an added plus, many types of stormwater management techniques beautify property too.

Learn more about the Credit Program and apply.

Additional Charge Reduction Programs:

 

Image of permeable pavers Permeable pavers are a great replacement for asphalt or concrete driveways and walkways.  
They allow water to absorb through the spaces between the stones into a stone subsurface drainage system that has a minimum depth of 12 inches.  Stormwater drains through the pavement, is captured in the stone layer, and infiltrates into the surrounding soils.

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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