The City of Gulfport, Mississippi has enacted a Stormwater Ordinance in order to establish minimum stormwater management requirements and controls to protect and safeguard the general health, safety, and welfare of the public residing in watersheds within this jurisdiction. The City of Gulfport is the permitting authority for all land disturbing activities and requires the land owner to maintain all on-site stormwater control facilities and all open space areas (e.g. parks or “green” areas) required by the approved stormwater control plan. The City of Gulfport will only provide construction permits to projects that establish a plan to manage stormwater runoff occurring during the construction process. The City of Gulfport, under the NPDES program, also has the authority to inspect properties for noncompliance and can issue a notice of violation (NOV) for any deficiency or infraction onsite. Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of any stormwater facilities or practices located on the property. The City of Gulfport has the authority to inspect stormwater facilities and practices in order to ascertain that they properly maintained and functioning.
Welcome to your online guide to the City of Gulfport stormwater management plan. The information in this section of the city’s web site is part of the city’s continuing effort to educate the public about the importance of protecting water quality through land use and natural resource planning.
The city’s stormwater management plan, which is mandated by the Department of Environmental Quality, is designed to help protect and improve water quality, which can be jeopardized by pollution carried by stormwater runoff. The program has been developed in a collaborative effort with nearby cities of D’Iberville, Biloxi, Long Beach, Pass Christian, and Harrison County. The plan is called Stormwater Phase II.
The specific issues to be addressed:
The program components include Public Education, Public Involvement, Illicit Discharges Detection and Elimination, Construction Site Runoff Controls, Post-Construction Runoff Controls, and Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping.
Sec. 11-180. - Monitoring of discharges.
(1) This section applies to all facilities that have stormwater discharges, including construction activity.
(b) Access to facilities.
(1) The city shall be permitted to enter and inspect facilities subject to regulation under this ordinance as often as may be necessary to determine compliance with this ordinance. If a discharger has security measures in force which require proper identification and clearance before entry into its premises, the discharger shall make the necessary arrangements to allow access to representatives of the city.
(2) Facility operators shall allow the city ready access to all parts of the premises for the purposes of inspection, sampling, examination, and copying of records that must be kept under the conditions of an NPDES permit to discharge stormwater and the performance of any additional duties as defined by state and federal law.
(3) The city shall have the right to set up on any permitted facility such devices as are necessary in the opinion of the city to conduct monitoring and/or sampling of the facility's stormwater discharge.
(4) The city has the right to require the discharger to install monitoring equipment as necessary. The facility's sampling and monitoring equipment shall be maintained at all times in a safe and proper operating condition by the discharger at its own expense. All devices used to measure stormwater flow and quality shall be calibrated to ensure their accuracy.
(5) Any temporary or permanent obstruction to safe and easy access to the facility to be inspected and/or sampled shall be promptly removed by the operator at the written or oral request of the city and shall not be replaced. The costs of clearing such access shall be borne by the operator.
(6) Unreasonable delays in allowing the city access to a permitted facility is a violation of a stormwater discharge permit and of this ordinance. A person who is the operator of a facility with a NPDES permit to discharge stormwater associated with industrial activity commits an offense if the person denies the city reasonable access to the permitted facility for the purpose of conducting any activity authorized or required by this article.
(7) If the city has been refused access to any part of the premises from which stormwater is discharged, and he/she is able to demonstrate probable cause to believe that there may be a violation of this ordinance or that there is a need to inspect and/or sample as part of a routine inspection and sampling program designed to verify compliance with this article or any order issued hereunder or to protect the overall public health, safety, and welfare of the community, then the city may seek issuance of a search warrant from any court of competent jurisdiction.
Sec. 11-181. - Requirements to prevent, control, and reduce stormwater pollutants by the use of best management practices.
The city will develop a non-exhaustive list of best management practices for any activity, operation, or facility which may cause or contribute to pollution or contamination of stormwater, the storm drain system, or waters of the U.S. The owner or operator of a commercial or industrial establishment shall provide, at their own expense, reasonable protection from accidental discharge of prohibited materials or other wastes into the storm drain system or water courses through the use of structural and non- structural BMPs.
Further, any person responsible for a property or premise, which is, or may be, the source of an illicit discharge, may be required to implement, at said person's expense, additional structural and non-structural BMPs to prevent the further discharge of pollutants to the separate storm drain system. Compliance with all terms and conditions of a valid NPDES permit authorizing the discharge of stormwater associated with industrial activity, to the extent practicable, shall be deemed in compliance with the provisions of this section. These BMPs shall be part of a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) as necessary for compliance with requirements of the NPDES permit.
Sec. 11-183. - Notification of spills.
Notwithstanding other requirements of law, as soon as any person responsible for a facility or operation, or responsible for emergency response for a facility or operation has information of any known or suspected release of materials which are resulting or may result in illegal discharges or pollutants discharging into stormwater, the storm drain system, or water of the U.S., said person shall take all necessary steps to ensure the discovery, containment, and cleanup of such release. In the event of such a release of hazardous materials, said person shall immediately notify emergency response agencies of the occurrence via emergency dispatch services. In the event of a release of nonhazardous materials, said person shall notify the city in person or by phone or electronic mail no later than the next business day. Notifications in person or by phone shall be confirmed by written notice addressed and mailed to the city within three (3) business days of the phone notice. If the discharge of prohibited materials emanates from a commercial or industrial establishment, the owner or operator of such establishment shall also retain an on-site written record of the discharge and the actions taken to prevent its recurrence. Such records shall be retained for at least three (3) years.
Sec. 11-184. - Enforcement.
(a) The city shall administratively enforce this ordinance. The city may also institute appropriate civil or criminal actions for the enforcement of this article. Any court of competent jurisdiction shall have the right to issue restraining orders, temporary or permanent injunctions, and other appropriate forms of remedy or relief.
(b) Each day of noncompliance is considered a separate offense; and nothing herein contained shall prevent the city from taking such other lawful action as is necessary to prevent or remedy any violation, including application for injunctive relief.
(c) Any of the following enforcement remedies and penalties shall be available to the city in response to violations of this ordinance. If the person, property or facility has or is required to have a stormwater discharge permit, the city shall alert the appropriate state authorities of the violation. "Director" shall mean the director of the department of public works.
(1) Notice of violation (NOV): Whenever designated city staff find that any person, company or facility owning or occupying a premises has violated or is violating this article or order issued hereunder, the enforcement official may serve, by personal service, or by registered or certified mail a written NOV. Within thirty (30) days of the receipt of this notice, or shorter period as may be prescribed in the NOV, an explanation of the violation and a plan for the satisfactory correction and prevention thereof, which shall include specific required actions, shall be submitted to the director. Submission of this plan shall in no way relieve liabilities for violations occurring before or after receipt of the NOV.
(2) Revocation of permit: The director may revoke and require the return of a permit or certificate, with or without a prior NOV, by notifying the permit holder in writing, stating the reason for the revocation. Permits or certificates shall be revoked for any substantial departure from the approved application plans, or specifications; refusal or failure to comply with the requirements of state or local law; or for false statements or misrepresentations made in securing the permit or certificate. Any permit or certificate mistakenly issued in violation of any applicable state or local law may also be revoked.
(3) Compliance order: If any person, company or facility shall violate the provisions of this ordinance, the director may, with or without a prior NOV, give notice to the owner or to any person in possession of the subject property, ordering that all unlawful conditions existing thereupon be abated within a schedule defined from the date of such notice.
a. The enforcement official shall have the authority to establish elements of a stormwater pollution prevention plan, and to require any business to adopt and implement such a plan, as may be reasonably necessary to fulfill the purposes of this chapter. The enforcement official may establish the requirements of best management practices for any premises.
b. The notice and order may be given provided, that if, in the opinion of the director or his/her designee, the unlawful condition is such that it is of imminent danger or peril to the public, then an authorized city representative may, without notice, proceed to abate the same, and the cost thereof shall be charged against the property. The city, as described further in this subsection, may recover the cost of such actions from the property owner.
(4) Civil penalties: Any person, company or facility who has been found to have been in violation of any provision of this article, may be assessed, by the director of the department of public works or by a court if court proceedings are instituted, a civil penalty not to exceed the amount presented in this subsection.
a. The penalty shall increase by twenty-five (25) percent of the previous penalty amount for every subsequent but separate offense made by the same person, company, construction site or facility. The penalty shall be additional to other enforcement actions of this section.
b. The penalty may be assessed for each day beyond schedules applied in compliance orders or other schedules issued to the property owner or other person responsible for unauthorized activity defined in this article.
c. In determining the amount of the penalty the following shall be considered:
1. The degree and extent of the harm to the natural resources, to the public health, or to the public or private property resulting from the violation;
2. The duration and gravity of the violation;
3. The effect on ground or surface water quality;
4. The cost of rectifying the damage;
5. The amount of money saved by noncompliance;
6. Whether the violation was committed willfully or intentionally;
7. The cumulative effect of other enforcement actions applied for the same offense;
8. The prior record of the violator in complying or failing to comply with the stormwater quality management program;
9. The costs of enforcement to the city.
d. Any violation of this ordinance shall be a misdemeanor, and shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) or by imprisonment not exceeding ninety (90) days, or both. Every day any violation of this Code or any such ordinance shall continue shall constitute a separate offense.
e. In the event there are penalties assessed by the state against the city caused by any person, company or construction site or facility, the said shall be assessed the equivalent amount of civil penalty. This shall include, but is not limited to penalties for improper disposal or illegal dumping, or illicit connection into the municipal separate storm drain system.
(5) Order to clean and abate/restore: Any violator may be required to clean and/or restore land to its condition prior to the violation.
(6) Corrective action and cost recovery: If necessary, the city may pursuant to section 21-19-11 of the Mississippi Code Annotated take corrective action to alleviate violations of this article in order to protect the public health and safety. The cost of such corrective action shall become an assessment against the property involved.
(7) Injunctions and/or proceedings at law or in equity: Any violation of this article or of any condition, order, requirement, or remedy adopted pursuant hereto may be restrained, corrected, abated, mandated, or enjoined by other appropriate proceedings pursuant to state law.
(8) Civil actions: In addition to any other remedies provided in this chapter, any violation of this chapter may be enforced by civil action brought by the city. Monies recovered under this subsection shall be paid to the city to be used exclusively for costs associated with implementing or enforcing the provisions of this ordinance. In any such action, the city may seek, as appropriate, any or all of the following remedies:
a. A temporary and/or permanent injunction;
b. Assessment of the violator for the costs of any investigation, inspection, or monitoring survey which lead to the establishment of the violation, and for the reasonable costs attorney's fees and expenses preparing and bringing legal action under this subsection;
c. Costs incurred in removing, correcting, or terminating the adverse effects resulting from the violation;
d. Compensatory damages for loss or destruction to water quality, wildlife, fish and aquatic life.
(9) Emergency orders and abatements: The director of the department of public works may order the abatement of any discharge from any source to the stormwater conveyance system when, in the opinion of the enforcement official, the discharge causes or threatens to cause a condition which presents an imminent danger to the public health, safety, or welfare, the environment, or a violation of an NPDES permit. In emergency situations where the property owner or other responsible party is unavailable and time constraints are such that service of a notice and order to abate cannot be effected without presenting an immediate danger to the public health, safety, or welfare, or the environment or a violation of a NPDES permit, the city may perform or cause to be performed such work as shall be necessary to abate said threat or danger. The costs of any such abatement shall be borne by the owner and shall be collectable in accordance with the provisions of this subsection.
(10) This article may also be enforced by criminal prosecution for willful violation.