The Storm Water Utility in Missoula is holding an open house Wednesday, June 26 to inform the public about its new Storm Water Facility and Operations Plan. According to Storm Water Superintendent Bob Hayes, proper maintenance is required to keep storm water as clean as possible.

"Storm water never goes to the plant, it always goes directly to the river or is discharged directly into our aquifer and then we recycle and drink it basically," Hayes said. "That storm water quality needs to be cleaned up. A lot of times leaves, trash and other things get into the storm drains. Anything that gets dropped on the ground and washed to the curb and gutter line is going to wind up in the storm drain. We need to clean that up."

The utility was formed back in October 2016 and Hayes says folks have been paying a storm water utility bill since that time.

"It currently shows up on your waste water bill," Hayes said. "For residential properties it has been $9 a year and then for commercial or non residential properties it has been $23 a year. Those are just interim rates. At this point that has funded my position and an administrative position to do just basic compliance paperwork for the DEQ and some of our levy inspection work and things like that."

Hayes indicated that a new rate will be assembled as the utility continues to expand. Missoula experienced a record amount of flooding recently, but Hayes says things are still in pretty good shape. For those interested in attending the open house, it is taking place from 5:30 to 7:00 in the Jack Reidy Conference Room near City Council Chambers on Wednesday.