City of South Burlington
The City of South Burlington owns and maintains a stormwater system, separate from the sanitary sewer system. The stormwater system includes conveyance piping, storm drains, culverts, detention basins, constructed wetlands, hydrodynamic swirl separators, drains, stormwater outfalls and other stormwater treatment practices. There are approximately 112 miles of stormwater pipe in South Burlington. In addition, there are over 5,000 storm drains within the City, more than 3,000 of which are publicly owned.
Unmanaged stormwater is causing water pollution, erosion, flooding, and unstable stream banks. Private stormwater systems that are not maintained can become a public problem, and land owners are required to maintain any stormwater controls onsite through an operations and maintenance plan. Also, a stormwater user fee is imposed on every owner of non-exempt developed property within the city, based on how much impervious surface the property contains.
The MS4 permit is a federally mandated stormwater permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) program. In Vermont, the MS4 permit program is administered by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources (ANR). The MS4 permit is issued by ANR for a five year period. The primary mechanism by which the City of South Burlington meets requirements of the MS4 permit is through the activities of the South Burlington Stormwater Utility.
City of South Burlington Stormwater Ordinance
ARTICLE V - STORMWATER SYSTEM
SECTION 1. Purpose
The purpose of this Article is to provide for the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of South Burlington through the regulation of stormwater discharges to the stormwater system.
SECTION 2. Applicability
Any discharge of stormwater from developed property in the City shall be subject to the provisions of this Article.
SECTION 3. Required Approvals
(a) No owner of developed property in the City shall change or alter, or allow to be changed or altered, the discharge of stormwater from such property occurring on the effective date of this Article without first obtaining any permit or approval required under this or any other City Ordinance, state law, or federal law.
(b) No unauthorized person shall uncover, make any connections with or opening into, use, alter, or disturb any public storm drain or appurtenance thereof without first obtaining a written permit from the Stormwater Superintendent.
SECTION 4. Compliance with Existing Permits
It shall be a violation of this Article for any owner of developed property that is subject to any local, state, or federal permit requirements regarding the discharge of stormwater to fail to comply with such permit requirements.
SECTION 5. Use of the Public Stormwater System:
(a) The following may be discharged into the public stormwater system, subject to obtaining and complying with any required permit:
- Landscape irrigation or lawn watering, diverted stream flows, rising ground water, ground water infiltration to storm drains, uncontaminated pumped ground water, foundation or footing drains (not including active groundwater dewatering systems), crawl space pumps, air conditioning condensation, springs, non-commercial washing of vehicles, natural riparian habitat or wet-land flows, swimming pools (if dechlorinated -typically less than one PPM chlorine), fire fighting activities, and any other water source not containing pollutants;
- Discharges specified in writing by the authorized enforcement agent as being necessary to protect public health and safety;
- Dye testing is an allowable discharge, but requires a verbal notification to the authorized enforcement agent prior to the time of the test;
- Any non-storm water discharge permitted under an NPDES permit, waiver, or waste discharge order issued to the discharger and administered under the authority of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, provided that the discharger is in full compliance with all requirements of the permit, waiver, or order and other applicable laws and regulations, and provided that written approval has been granted for any discharge to the storm drain system.
(b) It shall be a violation of this Ordinance for any person to cause or allow to occur any illicit discharge to the public stormwater system or allow any illicit discharge existing on the date this Article becomes effective to continue regardless of whether such existing discharge was permissible under law or practices applicable or prevailing at the time the discharge commenced.
Section 6. Best Management Practices
(a) The Stormwater Superintendent will adopt requirements identifying Best Management Practices for any activity, operation, or facility which may cause or contribute to an illicit discharge to the stormwater system. The owner or operator of a commercial or industrial establishment shall provide, at their own expense, reasonable protection from an accidental illicit discharge into the public stormwater system BMPs. Further, any person responsible for a property or premise, which is, or may be, the source of an illicit discharge to the public stormwater system, may be required to implement, at said person's expense, additional BMPs to prevent or discontinue the illicit discharge. 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 compliance with the provisions of this section.
(b) Every person owning property through which a watercourse passes, or such person's lessee, shall keep and maintain that part of the watercourse within the property free of trash, debris, excessive vegetation, and other obstacles that would pollute, contaminate, or significantly retard the flow of water through the watercourse. In addition, the owner or lessee shall maintain existing privately owned structures within or adjacent to a watercourse, so that such structures will not become a hazard to the use, function, or physical integrity of the watercourse.
(c) 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 an illicit discharge into the stormwater system, said person shall take all necessary steps to ensure the discovery, containment, and cleanup of such release. In the event of 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 non-hazardous materials, said person shall notify the Stormwater Superintendent in person or by phone or facsimile no later than the next business day. Notifications in person or by phone shall be confirmed by written notice addressed and mailed to the Stormwater Superintendent within three business days of the phone notice. If the illicit discharge 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 years.
SECTION 7. Protection from Damage
No person shall maliciously, willfully or negligently break, damage, destroy, uncover, deface, or tamper with any structure, appurtenance, or equipment which is a part of the public stormwater system. Any person violating this provision shall be subject to immediate arrest under the charge of unlawful mischief as set forth in Title 13, Section 3701 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated.
ARTICLE VI - STORMWATER SYSTEM USER FEES
SECTION 1. Establishment of Stormwater User Fees
(a) A user fee based on an Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU) shall be imposed on every owner of non-exempt developed property within the City. An ERU shall equal that square footage that represents the median of the area of impervious surface for all single family residences in the City. The City Council shall, by resolution, establish the square footage that constitutes one ERU on a periodic basis.
(b) The City Council shall have the authority to set and modify the user fee rates so that the total revenue generated by said charges, and any secondary sources of revenue, shall be sufficient to fund the City’s stormwater program.
(c) The City council shall establish by resolution the monthly rate for each ERU. The monthly user fee for a specific property is determined by multiplying the rate per ERU times the number of ERUs allocated to the property.
(d) The only exempt property under this Article is that included within the limits of a railroad track right-of-way. Property on which railroad stations, maintenance buildings, or other developed land used for railroad purposes is located shall not be exempt.
SECTION 2. User Fee Credits:
(a) The Stormwater Superintendent shall prepare for the City Council’s approval, a “Stormwater User Fee Credit Manual” specifying the design and performance standards of on-site stormwater systems, facilities, activities and services which qualify for application of a user fee credit and the method of calculating credits. The City Council shall have the authority to approve, modify and approve or disapprove the Credit Manual.
(b) Following approval of a Credit Manual, the Stormwater Superintendent may, at the request of a property owner, reduce the user fee established for any property by awarding a credit based on the policies and conditions set forth in the Manual. No credit shall exceed fifty percent (50%) of the applicable monthly user fee for a given property. Any property owner may appeal the Stormwater Superintendent’s determination regarding an award of a credit by filing a written notice of appeal with the Stormwater Appeals Board within ten (10) business days of the Superintendent’s decision. The Stormwater Appeals Board shall review such appeal at a meeting preceded by fifteen (15) calendar days written notice of the meeting date to the property owner. Following the meeting, the Stormwater Appeals Board shall issue its decision on the appeal in writing, which decision shall be final.
(c) Credits may be awarded retroactively for one (1) year from the date of initiation of the stormwater user fee. Thereafter, credits shall be applied to user fees on the next billing period after the completed credit application is approved.
(d) Any award of credit shall be conditioned on continuing compliance with the City’s design and performance standards as stated in the “Stormwater User Fee Credit Manual” and/or upon continuing provision of the systems, facilities, services, and activities provided, operated, and maintained by the property owner or owners upon which the credit is based. The City Manager may revoke a credit at any time for non-compliance by providing thirty (30) days written notice of a non-complying condition and intent to revoke the credit to the property owner. If the noncompliance is not cured within the thirty (30) day period, the Manager shall eliminate the credit for user fee bills issued to the property owner after such period. A property owner may appeal the City Manger’s determination regarding credit revocation in the same manner set forth in sub-section (b), above.
SECTION 3. Establishment of ERUs:
(a) Each SFR shall be allocated one (1) ERU.
(b) The ERUs allocated NSFR properties, except City or State highways, shall be determined in the following manner:
- The amount of impervious surface on each parcel shall be divided by the gross area of the parcel resulting in the percent of imperviousness for the parcel.
- Based on the percent imperviousness, a “tier factor” shall be determined, based on the following categories:
| 1 to 10%
| 11 to 20%
| 21 to 30%
| 31 to 40%
| 41 to 50%
| 51 to 60%
| 61 to 70%
| 71 to 80%
| 81 to 90%
| 91 to 100%
*Fee will be based on actual amount of impervious surface, measured in square feet.
- The gross area of the parcel shall be multiplied by the tier factor, and then divided by the ERU. The resulting value is rounded up to the nearest whole number which is be the number of ERUs for the property.
(c) The ERUs allocated properties comprised solely of public roadways shall be determined by dividing two-thirds of the total impervious surface for the property by the ERU. The resulting value is rounded up to the nearest whole number which is be the number of ERUs for the property.
SECTION 4. Billing and Collection
(a) Stormwater user fees will be billed quarterly and shall be reflected on the water and sewer bills for each property owner, where applicable. The bill shall also state the ERUs allocated to each property.
(b) A property owner may appeal an allocation of ERUs to the Stormwater Superintendent by submitting a written notice of appeal to the Stormwater Superintendent within fifteen (15) calendar days of the mailing date of the bill. The Stormwater Superintendent shall promptly meet with the property owner and issue a decision of the allocation of ERUs. A property owner may appeal the Stormwater Superintendent’s determination regarding credit revocation in the same manner set forth in Section 2(b), above.
The filing of an appeal shall not relieve a property owner of the obligation to pay the user fee when due.
(c) In the event any stormwater user fee is not paid within thirty (30) days from the billing date, a late penalty charge will be added to the fee together with interest charges. The amount of the late penalty charge and the interest rate on the overdue accounts shall be the same as those applied to delinquent taxes. If such payment is not made, such stormwater user fee shall be a lien upon such real estate and may be collected in the manner provided in 24 V.S.A., §§ 3504 and 3612. Any payment made to the City for utility fees shall first be allocated to delinquent water, then delinquent sewer, then delinquent stormwater fees. The remaining amount of the payment shall first be allocated to current water, then current sewer, then current stormwater fees.
SECTION 5. Expenditures.
(a) The user fees, as well as any secondary sources of revenue, shall be used to fund the City’s efforts to manage stormwater. Acceptable expenditures include, but are not limited to, capital construction, maintenance and operations, engineering and planning, regulation and enforcement, water quality programs, special services, administration and management, coverage requirements, reserve funds, and miscellaneous overhead costs.
(b) Excess revenues may be placed into a sinking fund, and may be retained and expended in the manner set forth in Article IV, Section 6 of this Ordinance.
ARTICLE VII - INSPECTION AND ENFORCEMENT
SECTION 1. Power and Authority of Inspectors
(a) Any authorized person bearing proper credentials and identification shall be permitted to enter all properties subject to regulation under this Ordinance for the purposes of inspection, observation, measurement, sampling, and testing in accordance with the provisions of this Ordinance. Authorized persons shall have the right to set up such devices as are necessary to conduct monitoring and/or sampling of any regulated discharge from the property. Authorized persons may also examine and copy records required to be kept under any permit subject to this ordinance.
Authorized persons shall have no authority to inquire into any processes including metallurgical, chemical, oil, refining, ceramic, paper, or other industries beyond that point having a direct bearing on the kind and source of discharge to the public sanitary and stormwater systems.
(b) Any authorized person bearing proper credentials and identification shall be permitted to enter all private properties through which the City holds an easement for the purposes of, but not limited to, inspection, observation, measurement, sampling, repair, and maintenance or any portion of the public sewage or stormwater system lying within said easement. All entry and subsequent work, if any, on said easement, shall be done in full accordance with the terms of the easement pertaining to the private property involved.
(c) If a property owner has security measures in force which require proper identification and clearance before entry into onto the property, the owner shall make the necessary arrangements to allow access to any authorized person.
(d) Any temporary or permanent obstruction to safe and easy access to any property to be inspected and/or sampled shall be promptly removed by the property owner at the written or oral request of any authorized person and shall not be replaced. The costs of clearing such access shall be borne by the property owner.
(e) Causing an unreasonable delay in allowing an authorized person access to a property subject to regulation under this Ordinance is a violation of this Ordinance.
(f) If an authorized person is refused access to any part of the property containing facilities, records or discharges subject to regulation under this Ordinance, and if the authorized person 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 Ordinance or any order issued hereunder, or to protect the overall public health, safety, and welfare of the community, then the authorized person may seek issuance of a search warrant from any court of competent jurisdiction.
(g) While performing the necessary work on private properties referred to in this Section, authorized persons shall observe all safety rules applicable to the premises established by the property owner and the property owner shall be held harmless for injury or death to the City employees and the City shall indemnify the property owner against loss or damage to its property for personal injury or property damage asserted against the property owner and growing out of the gauging and sampling operation, except as may be caused by negligence or failure of the property owner to maintain safe conditions as required by law.
SECTION 2 - Administrative Enforcement
(a) Any condition caused or permitted to exist in violation of any of the provisions of this Ordinance is a threat to public health, safety, and welfare, and is declared and deemed a nuisance, and may be summarily abated or restored at the violator's expense, and/or a civil action to abate, enjoin, or otherwise compel the cessation of such nuisance may be taken.
(b) Any person found to be violating any provision of this ordinance shall be served by the City with written notice stating the nature of the violation and providing a reasonable time limit for the satisfactory correction thereof. Such notice may require without limitation.
- The performance of monitoring, analyses, and reporting;
- The elimination of illicit discharges;
- The cessation of improper practices and operations and implementation of proper practices and oeprations;
- The abatement or remediation of any contamination of the public sewage or stormwater system and waters of the State of Vermont or the United States and restoration of any property impacted by such contamination;
- Establishment of time limits for the completion of all required work;
- Payment of a fine; and
- State that the Notice may be appealed in the manner set forth in sub-section (f), below.
(c) The City has the right to require a property owner found to be in violation of this Ordinance to install monitoring equipment and maintain such equipment in proper operating condition, including proper calibration, all at the property owner’s expense.
(d) If a violation has not been corrected pursuant to the requirements set forth in the Notice of Violation, the City or persons retained by the City may enter upon the subject property to take any and all measures necessary to abate the violation and/or restore the property. It shall be unlawful for any person, owner, agent or person in possession of any premises to refuse to allow the City or designated persons to enter upon the premises for the purposes set forth above.
(e) Within thirty (30) days after abatement of the violation, the owner of the property will be notified of the cost of abatement, including administrative costs. The property owner may file a written protest objecting to the amount of the assessment within fifteen (15) days. If the amount due is not paid within a timely manner as determined by the decision of the City Manager or by the expiration of the time in which to file an appeal, the charges shall constitute a lien on the property for the amount of the assessment and shall bear interest at the rate of one percent (1%) per month, or portion thereof.
(f) The City Manager may, without prior notice, suspend stormwater or sewer system discharge access to a person when such suspension is necessary to stop an actual or threatened discharge which presents or may present imminent and substantial danger to the environment, or to the health or welfare of persons, or to the stormwater system, sewer system or waters of the State of Vermont or the United States. If the violator fails to comply with a suspension order issued in an emergency, the City manager may take such steps as deemed necessary to prevent or minimize damage to the stormwater system, sewer system or waters of the State of Vermont or United States, or to minimize danger to persons.
(g) Any person discharging to the stormwater or sewer system in violation of this ordinance may have their stormwater system or sewer system access terminated if such termination would abate or reduce an illicit discharge. The City Manager will notify a violator of the proposed termination of its stormwater system or sewer system access. The violator may appeal the City Manager’s determination to the City Council by filing a written notice of appeal with the City Manager within ten (10) business days of the Manager’s decision. The City Council shall review such appeal at a meeting of the Council preceded by fifteen (15) calendar days written notice of the meeting date to the Violator. Following the meeting, the Council shall issue its decision on the appeal in writing, which decision shall be final.
(h) A person commits an offense if the person reinstates stormwater system or sewer system access to premises terminated pursuant to sub-section (f), above, without the prior approval of the City Manager.
SECTION 3. Judicial Enforcement:
(a) This ordinance shall constitute a civil ordinance within the meaning of 24 V.S.A. Chapter 59.
(b) Any law enforcement officer or other individual designated by the City Council to enforce this ordinance may act as an issuing Municipal Official and issue and pursue before the Judicial Bureau a municipal complaint for any violation of any provision of this Ordinance.
(c) In addition to the enforcement procedures available before the Judicial Bureau, the City is authorized to commence a civil action to obtain injunctive and other appropriate relief, or to pursue any other remedy authorized by law.
SECTION 4. Penalties:
(a) Waiver Fee For Municipal Complaint: An Issuing Municipal Official is authorized to recover civil penalties in the following amounts for each violation of this ordinance:
- First offense - $25.00
- Second offense - $50.00
- Third offense - $75.00
- Fourth offense - $150.00
- Fifth and subsequent offenses - $200.00
Offenses shall be counted on a calendar year basis.
(b) Civil Penalty for Municipal Complaint: An Issuing Municipal Official is authorized to recover civil penalties in the following amounts for each violation of this ordinance:
- First offense - $50.00
- Second offense - $100.00
- Third offense - $150.00
- Fourth offense - $300.00
- Fifth and subsequent offenses - $400.00
Offenses shall be counted on a calendar year basis.
(c) Civil penalty for enforcement courts other than the Judicial Bureau: In addition to any other remedy provided for in this Ordinance, any person who violates any provision of this Ordinance, shall be subject to a civil penalty of up to $500.00 per day for each day that such violation continues.
City of South Burlington Stormwater Documents: