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Residential and Agricultural Properties: Reduce Your Charge

 

The Water Quality Protection Charge (WQPC) is part of every Montgomery County property tax bill. There are many ways to lower your Charge!

 

Apply for a Stormwater Credit

 

Apply for a Hardship Reduction

 

Appeals & Adjoining Properties Reduction

 

 

Stormwater Management Credit

Credits of up to 80% off your Water Quality Protection Charge (WQPC) are available to property owners who maintain stormwater management practices on their property. Stormwater management practices are landscaping techniques or structures that help reduce stormwater runoff. They help prevent stream damage, flooding and erosion. Some practices even beautify your property!

The credit is provided to property owners who own and maintain on-site stormwater management practices (see a list of practices), and is based on the volume of water captured. The goal of the credit program is to provide incentives to property owners for helping to treat and control stormwater runoff.

 

What is Eligible for a Credit?

There are currently more than 10,000 stormwater management practices in the County. You may have one!  Types of practices eligible for a credit include:

  • Rain gardens

  • Permeable pavement

  • Stormwater Ponds

  • Conservation landscaping

  • Green roofs

  • Grass Swale

 

 


Can't Access the Online Form?: Call 3-1-1 or submit a service request

 

View our map to see if your residential or agricultural property has stormwater management facilities:

(The map may take a few seconds to load)

 
 

 

Am I Eligible for a Credit?

Only properties with stormwater management practices are eligible for a credit. Those practices must be maintained by the property owner and in accordance with the maintenance requirements of the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection. 

 

Do you have stormwater management practices on your property?

  • Yes! Then you can apply for a credit! Continue reading on this page for more details or start the application now.

    • Deadline: The credit application is due by September 30th in order to be applied towards your current tax bill.

       

  • No,but I want a credit in the future.

    • The  RainScapes program works with property owners to install stormwater management practices like rain gardens, conservation landscaping and green roofs. You could even receive financial incentives to help with the cost of installation, ON TOP OF, becoming eligible for a credit.  

       

  • Not Sure?

    • Your home may have practices that were installed by the previous owner or during construction. Search your address on the map above, to see if you already have a practice registered with the County.  

    • Have a garden on your property that might be a RainScape?  Email the RainScapes program to find out.

       

Image of a rain garden. Maintaining a rain garden is a great way to earn a WQPC credit

 

How Much Would My Credit Be?

The amount of the credit is based on the type of stormwater management and the volume of water treated.


​A reduction of up to 80% of the charge will be awarded based on the volume of water treated.

  • The same property owner with multiple property parcels within the same drainage area may apply to receive treatment credit for all properties in the drainage area.

  • Deadline: The credit application is due by September 30th in order to be applied towards your current tax bill.

  • Apply for the credit using the online application

  • Having trouble? Not sure what this all means? Call 3-1-1 or  submit a service request

 

What Do I Need to Fill Out a Credit Application?

Account Information (all information is required)

  • Account ID as it appears on the property tax bill (8 digit number)

  • Check if this is a “new” or a “renewal” application.

  • Important: County regulations require property owners to renew the WQPC credit every three (3) years. 

  • Owner Name as it appears on your property tax bill.

  • Property Address, City, State, and Zip Code of the physical location of the property with an on-site Stormwater Management System.

  • Mailing Address, City, State, and Zip Code if different than site address. This is needed to send correspondence regarding credit application.

  • Telephone Number to contact property owner regarding credit application and coordination of site visit.

  • E-mail address to provide to contact property owner regarding credit application (include renewal reminder) and coordination of site visit.

Interested in how we calculated your charge? See how we did it!

 


Can't Access the Online Form?  Call 3-1-1 or  submit a service request

 


Hardship Reduction

A hardship exemption is where a property owner has a reduced charge due to financial limitations. 

To qualify for an exemption, your household income must not exceed 170% of the Federal poverty level or you must be appoved for benefits under the Maryland Energy Assistance Program for the current billing year.

View the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Federal poverty guidelines.

Deadline: The residential hardship exemption application must be submitted by September 30th annually.

 

 


Can't Access the Online Form?  Call 3-1-1 or  submit a service request

 

Appeals & Contiguous Single Owner Properties

Combining Adjoining Properties 

Property owners can apply for combining contiguous single-owner property accounts into one.

If the property spans multiple tax accounts, you can appeal to have the contiguous properties combined into one for the purposes of calculating the WQPC. 

Note: Combining contiguous single-owner properties is a part of the appeals form.  

Deadline:  Combining contiguous single-owner properties application is a part of the appeals form.  The appeal must be submitted no later than September 30 of the year that payment of the charge is due.

 


Can't Access the Online Form?  Call 3-1-1 or  submit a service request

 

Appeal Your WQPC Charge 

If a property owner believes that the Water Quality Protection Charge has been assigned or calculated incorrectly, the property owner may petition the Director of the Department of Environmental Protection for an adjustment by submitting a written request, using the appeal form.

Deadline:  The appeal must be submitted no later than September 30 of the year that payment of the charge is due.

 


Can't Access the Online Form?  Call 3-1-1 or  submit a service request

 

Filing an Appeal

When appealing, the property owner must provide:

  1. A detailed statement of the basis for the petition, and
  2. Documents supporting the assertion that the property should be assigned a different classification; or that the impervious area measurements used to calculate the equivalent residential units for the property are incorrect; or that the property is not subject the WQPC under the applicable law.


Within 60 days after receiving the petition, the Director will review the WQPC assigned to the property and make a written determination of whether the property owner's request for an adjustment of the charge should be granted or denied.

 

Appealing Your Charge: Frequently Asked Questions

I Believe my WQPC was Calculated Incorrectly. How Do I Appeal the Charge?

If a property owner believes that the Water Quality Protection Charge (WQPC) has been assigned or calculated incorrectly, the property owner may petition the Director of the Department of Environmental Protection for an adjustment by submitting a written request using the online appeals form.

 

When is the Deadline for Filing an Appeal to the WQPC?

Appeals must be submitted no later than September 30 of the year that the payment of the charge is due.

 

I Own Multiple Properties. Can I Combine the Properties Together for the Purposing of Calculating the WQPC?

Yes. Property owners can apply for combining contiguous (no separation such as a road between properties) single-owner property accounts into one. Petition the Director of the Department of Environmental Protection for an adjustment by submitting a written request, using the online appeals form.

If the property spans multiple tax accounts, you can appeal to have the separate accounts combined into one for the purposes of calculating the WQPC. If you would like to submit an appeal, please fill out the appeals form.

 

How Does the County Calculate My Property’s Impervious Surface Area?

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. To view the aerial image of your property that was used to determine your Charge, go to the View Your Bill page.

 

What Counts as Impervious Surface Area?

Impervious areas are any surfaces which don’t allow rainwater or melting snow to be absorbed into the ground. The impervious surfaces of your property used to calculate the WQPC include:

Included in the WQPC:
  • Building area 
  • Patio area 
  • Attached or detached garage building area 
  • Walkways 
  • Driveways 
  • Basketball/tennis courts 
  • Private parking lots 
  • Other paved areas, such as concrete or asphalt 

Not Included in the WQPC:

  • 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 or walkways 

 

Why is My Gravel Driveway Counted as Impervious?

The Department follows the definitions included in the  Stormwater Design Manual published by the Maryland Department of the Environment when determining what constitutes an impervious surface. According to the Design Manual, brick surfaces are impervious and gravel surfaces used by vehicles or heavy machinery are also impervious.

View the page of the Stormwater Design Manual on driveway and road imperviousness.  (PDF, 36KB)

The Manual relies on studies showing that gravel and dirt areas used for vehicle access or parking have diminished moisture holding capacity and display drainage characteristics similar to asphalt or concrete. Compaction of the gravel, and the soil underneath it, significantly reduces its permeability compared to natural permeable surfaces. Therefore, even though the gravel would seem to be pervious, it actually becomes impervious. 

 

Is My Pool Included as an Impervious Surface?

Montgomery County does not include the area of the pool containing water in the WQPC calculations. Only the paved area around the pool, such as the patio, would be included in the WQPC.

 

I Have Permeable Pavement for My Driveway but that Area was Still Included in My WQPC. Why?

Stormwater treatment devices such as permeable pavement and risers are included as part of impervious surfaces because they were developed land. However, property owners can use them to apply for credit (or reduction) off the WQPC.

 

My Block Doesn’t Have Storm Drains. Why Should I Pay the WQPC?

Water does not need to flow through storm drains to become stormwater pollution. Rainwater can pick up trash, pollutants and oils while flowing over driveways and other paved surfaces and then flow directly into streams. Furthermore, development and paved surfaces prevents water from being naturally absorbed into the ground, creating large amounts of runoff that flow quickly into our streams causing erosion and flood conditions. Stormwater is a major problem in urban and suburban parts of the County and can be also seen in rural areas too.

 

I Own Multiple Properties. Can I Combine the Properties Together for the Purposing of Calculating the WQPC?

Yes. Property owners can apply for combining contiguous (no separation such as a road between properties) single-owner property accounts into one. Petition the Director of the Department of Environmental Protection for an adjustment by submitting a  written request as an appeal.

If the property spans multiple tax accounts, you can appeal to have the separate accounts combined into one for the purposes of calculating the WQPC. If you would like to submit an appeal,  please fill out the appeal application. 

 

 
 
 
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