As the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality gets set to hold an educational seminar at the Roanoke Civic Center on storm water run off, the Star City is already taking steps to solve the problem.
Later this summer, Roanoke City Council will decide on charging a monthly fee to each household to help pay for the backlog of issues.
It's a fee the city said is needed not only to clean up the Roanoke River, but also to pay for structural watershed issues.
Roanoke Environmental Administrator Christopher Blakeman estimates the city has around $74 million in repairs to make, but only a little more than $2 million to spend.
The goal is to avoid regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which could include large fines.
"Right now we don't treat it as a utility," Blakeman said. "If you think about it, it really is a utility like so much else we rely on, like water, sewer, telephone, electric, and natural gas."
The issue is expected to be taken up by the Roanoke City Council in July.