Storm damage recovery

Private Stormwater Management: City reliance on property owners requires review of risks and results

A photograph of a stormwater management example: a rain garden in the front yard of a private residence.
We found that the Bureau of Environmental Services did not have reliable data on private structures and did not evaluate the effectiveness of its programs. We make recommendations to ensure that the Bureau’s programs to manage stormwater on private property are effective and working as intended.

The Bureau of Environmental Services requires that some property owners manage water run-off from roofs and pavements to prevent pollution in local streams, flooding and erosion, and sewer overflows. We found that data about private stormwater management were not adequate for system planning. In addition, the Bureau did not evaluate whether programs met goals for volume of stormwater managed or for rate fairness. The Bureau could not demonstrate that benefits of private stormwater management exceeded costs imposed on the private sector and did not adjust program elements to optimize efficiency. The audit recommends data management improvements and program evaluations.

View our audit report and recommendations

View highlights from our audit report


Elizabeth Pape

Performance Auditor II

Bob MacKay

Performance Auditor II