Stormwater Management Regulatory

Stormwater Program Page.jpgWhat is stormwater?

Stormwater is rain that doesn't soak into the ground. Instead it flows from our roofs, over pavement, across bare soil and down the street. As stormwater flows, it picks up everything in its path - oil, litter, pesticides, leaves, animal waste, and more. All this stuff then flows, untr​​​eated, directly into the closest waterway. Big stuff – like trash, leaves, and grass clippings – can clog the storm drains and contribute to localized flooding.  

As more areas are developed with more impervious surfaces (e.g., roofs, roads, and sidewalks), less water is able to soak into the ground. The impervious surfaces increase the volume of stormwater.

​What is a watershed?

A ​watershed is an area of land that drains to a common body of water such as a stream, river or lake. Excluding water taken in by plants, all the rain falling on your property becomes stormwater that flows into the nearest stream and eventually into one of the three primary Virginia Beach watersheds: the Chesapeake Bay, Atlantic Ocean, or southern rivers.

Why do I pay a stormwater utility fee?

The stormwater fee generates funds needed to implement important stormwater projects. Stormwater fees fund three major types of activities:

  1. ​Minimize Flooding – The fee helps pay for improvements to our stormwater infrastructure to minimize flooding in neighborhoods and roadways.
  2. Improve Water Quality and Comply with Regulations The fee helps us comply with state and federal water quality regulations necessary to clean up or prevent pollution of our waterways.
  3. Maintenance – Most of the funds received through the stormwater utility fee are applied to infrastructure maintenance. Maintenance includes regular inspection, cleaning, repairs, replacements, and oversight of stormwater management facilities to ensure proper function.

The City's stormwater system serves everyone in the community by helping to drain surfaces and maintaining water quality in local waterways. Clean, healthy waterways are essential in Virginia Beach, where our lives and livelihoods are connected to the water we use for swimming, fishing, and recreation. The stormwater utility fee helps to protect waterways from pollution that can destroy these benefits. Select commercial, industrial, and multi-family residential properties with on-site stormwater management facilities may qualify for a Stormwater Utility Fee Adjustment.

For questions regarding stormwater billing, please contact Public Utilities at To calculate stormwater fees due at closing, please use the Stormwater Query tool

​How does the stormwater system work?

The municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) is a network of drains, pipes and ditches that carry rain water away from impervious surfaces to outfall points at streams, creeks, rivers, lakes, bays, or oceans. The MS4 is owned and maintained by the City and is separate from the sanitary sewer, which primarily conveys wastewater from buildings' internal plumbing. The Virginia Beach MS4 is mostly a passive system in that it relies on gravity and the force of the water flowing through the pipes to carry water away from sidewalks, roads, and other impermeable surfaces. 

Stormwater management facilities help remove pollutants from rainwater runoffto improve local surface water quality and/or prevent erosion and flooding. These are required to be installed during land development in accordance with the City's Stormwater Management Ordinance. The links below provide information about common types of stormwater facilities including how they work and how they should be maintained.  

Check out the video below from VB411 to learn more about the Virginia Beach MS4.

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For interior storm drain maintenance, call (757) 385‐1470, make a service request online, or contact us through the VB Works app, available on iPhone and Android.​​


Protect our waterways. Report stormwater pollution by calling (757) 385-1470 or email us at​.​