The City of Burlington established a dedicated stormwater program in 2009 in an effort to address the state and federal stormwater permit requirements. This program collects stormwater user fees from property owners in Burlington which are used to fund efforts to meet or exceed specific compliance requirements in the City's stormwater permit as well as improve stormwater management throughout the City. Fully addressing these requirements is key to improving the water quality of Lake Champlain and the Winooski River, as well as the streams that flow into them. The City of Burlington has enacted an ordinance to the City code which sets forth requirements for the management of stormwater both during and after construction. All properties are to be compliant with the standards and requirements explained in the ordinance.
The MS4 permit, in particular, drives stormwater management in affected cities and regions, including Burlington. This permit articulates several mandatory minimum control measures to curb non-point source pollution generated by stormwater. This permit was first issued in 2003 and was renewed in 2008 with new, more stringent requirements that could not be met without a dedicated stormwater program.
(a) Except as exempted under subsection (d) below, this article shall apply to all property within the City of Burlington, and shall apply specifically to:
(b) All projects, conditions, and activities that are subject to this article must meet the minimum requirements of this article, and reserved.
(c) All projects, conditions, and activities that are subject to this article shall be determined by the department of public works to be compliant with:
(d) The following projects, conditions and activities are exempt from this article:
(e) The requirements of this article may be waived in whole or in part by the director at the department of public works on a case-by-case basis upon written request of the applicant, provided that it is demonstrated by the applicant that at least one (1) of the following conditions applies:
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-1)
26-97 Application requirements.
(a) Unless otherwise exempted or waived by this article, every zoning permit application involving major impact, subdivision, and/or planned unit development review per section 26-96(a)(1) shall be accompanied by the following, as applicable:
(b) Unless otherwise exempted or waived by this article, every other project, condition or activity per section 26-96(a)(2) and (3) shall be accompanied by the following, as applicable:
(c) Prior to commencement of the project, condition, or activity, the applicant shall submit site plans and designs and any supporting documentation to the department of public works for review and approval. No project, condition, or activity shall commence until the department of public works has reviewed and issued a written approval.
(d) The city shall prescribe the form(s) and information that shall be submitted to determine compliance with this article, with sufficient copies for necessary referrals and records.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-2)
(a) The department of public works, in consultation with the department of planning and zoning, shall administer and implement the provisions of this article. The code enforcement office shall enforce the provisions of this article in the event of a violation.
(b) The standards set forth herein and promulgated pursuant to this article are minimum standards; therefore this article does not intend nor imply that compliance by any person will ensure that there will be no contamination, pollution, nor unauthorized discharge or discharge of pollutants.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-3)
DIVISION 2. ILLEGAL DISCHARGES
This division applies to all properties within the jurisdictional area of this chapter, unless specifically exempted by section 26-113.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-4)
(a) Illicit connections.
(b) Illegal discharges.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-5)
The commencement or continuance of any illegal discharge to the MS4, and/or surface or groundwater, CS or public sewer is prohibited except as described as follows:
(a) Water line flushing or other potable water sources, landscape irrigation or lawn watering, approved stream flow diversions, rising groundwater, groundwater infiltration to storm drains, uncontaminated pumped groundwater, foundation or footing drains (not including active groundwater dewatering systems), crawl space pumps, air conditioning condensation, springs, noncommercial washing of vehicles, natural riparian habitat or wetland flows, swimming pool draining (if dechlorinated, typically less than one (1) PPM chlorine), fire fighting activities, and any other water source not containing pollutants.
(b) Discharges specified in writing by the director of the department of public works as being necessary to protect public health and safety.
(c) Dye testing is an allowable discharge, but requires a verbal notification to the department of public works prior to the time of the test.
(d) The prohibition shall not apply to any stormwater or non-stormwater 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 MS4 by the department of public works.
(e) Discharges specifically allowed and not prohibited under the city’s Final Discharge Permit No. 3-1331, 3-1247 and 3-1245, as issued and as amended by the State of Vermont; and
(f) Discharges specifically allowed and not prohibited under section 26-71
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-6)
26-114 Industrial or construction activity discharges.
Any person subject to an industrial or construction activity NPDES stormwater discharge regulation, and/or permit shall comply with all provisions of such regulation and/or permit. Proof of compliance with said regulation and/or permit may be required in a form acceptable to the director prior to the allowing of discharges to the MS4.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-7)
26-115 Monitoring of discharges.
This section applies to all premises that have stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity, construction activity, and post-construction (operational) stormwater management.
(a) The department of public works shall be permitted to enter and inspect any premises subject to regulation under this division as often as may be necessary to determine compliance with this division. If a person has security measures in force which require proper identification and clearance before entry into its premises, the person shall make the necessary arrangements to allow access to representatives of the department of public works.
(b) A person shall allow the department of public works 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, a Vermont post-construction (operational) stormwater management permit, a zoning permit, a building permit or approval under any regulation or ordinance of the City of Burlington to discharge stormwater, and the performance of any additional duties as defined by state and federal law. All monitoring data shall be recorded in the associated permit/approval files and entered into the city’s permitting system.
(c) The department of public works shall have the right to set up on any permitted premises such devices as are necessary in the opinion of the director to conduct monitoring and/or sampling of the premises stormwater discharge.
(d) The director has the right to require a person to install monitoring equipment as necessary. The sampling and monitoring equipment shall be maintained at all times in a safe and proper operating condition by the owner or operator of the premise at their own expense. All devices used to measure stormwater flow and quality shall be calibrated to ensure their accuracy. The owner or operator of the premises shall demonstrate calibration techniques and satisfactory operation of the devices to the department of public works upon request.
(e) Any temporary or permanent obstruction to safe and easy access to the premises to be inspected and/or sampled shall be promptly removed by the owner or operator of the premise at the written or oral request of the department of public works and shall not be replaced. The costs of clearing such access shall be borne by the owner or operator of the premises.
(f) Unreasonable delays in allowing the department of public works access to permitted premises are a violation of this division. A person who is the operator of a premise with a NPDES permit to discharge stormwater associated with industrial activity or construction activity, a state post-construction (operational) stormwater management permit, a zoning permit, a building permit or approval under any regulation or ordinance of the city commits an offense if the person denies the department of public works reasonable access to the permitted premises for the purpose of conducting any activity authorized or required by this division.
(g) If the department of public works 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 division, 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 division or any order issued hereunder, or to protect the overall public health, safety, and welfare of the community, then the director may seek issuance of a search warrant from any court of competent jurisdiction.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-8)
26-116 Control, prevention and reduction of stormwater pollutants.
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 MS4, and/or surface or groundwater, CS or public sewer through the use of structural and nonstructural BMPs. Further, any person responsible for a property or premises, which is, or may be, the source of an illegal discharge and/or illicit connection, may be required to implement, at said person’s expense, additional structural and nonstructural BMPs to prevent the further discharge of pollutants to the MS4, and/or surface or groundwater, CS or public sewer. Compliance with all terms and conditions of a valid NPDES or MSGP permit, a state post-construction (operational) stormwater management permit, a zoning permit, a building permit or approval under any regulation or ordinance of the city authorizing the discharge of stormwater, shall be deemed to be in compliance with the provisions of this section.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-9)
26-117 Notification of spills.
Notwithstanding other requirements of law, as soon as any person responsible for a premises or operation, or responsible for emergency response for a premises 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 the MS4, and/or surface or groundwater, CS or public sewer, 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 department of public works either in person, 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 department of public works 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 onsite written record of the discharge, steps taken to remediate said illicit discharge, and the actions taken to prevent its recurrence. Such records shall be retained on site by the owner or operator for at least three (3) years.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-10)
DIVISION 3. EROSION PREVENTION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL
26-131 Applicability of erosion prevention and sediment control.
This division applies to all properties within the jurisdictional area of this chapter, unless specifically exempted or waived by section 26-134.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-11)
No person subject to this article as defined by section 26-96, shall cause, allow or permit the discharge and/or release of any sediment or other pollutant created by soil erosion to a public sewer or natural outlet unless such discharge and/or release is incidental to the implementation of an approved EPSC plan under this division.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-12)
Except as exempted or waived per section 26-134, no person shall be granted a zoning permit, building permit, excavation permit or any other approval for any project, condition or land disturbance activity regulated under this article without the written approval of an erosion prevention and sediment control plan by the department of public works.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-13)
This division applies to all properties within the jurisdictional area of this chapter, unless specifically exempted or waived by section 26-154.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-19; Ord. of 3-22-10(2))
No person subject to this article as defined by section 26-96, shall cause, allow or permit the discharge, connection and/or release of stormwater runoff to a public sewer or natural outlet unless such discharge, connection and/or release is incidental to the implementation of an approved stormwater management plan under this division.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-20)
Unless exempted under section 26-96(d), no person shall be granted a zoning permit, building permit, excavation permit or any other approval for any project, condition or land disturbance activity regulated under this division without the written approval of a stormwater management plan by the department of public works.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-21)
26-154 Exemptions and waivers.
The discharge, connection and/or release of stormwater from any project, condition or land disturbance activity regulated under this article is prohibited except as provided in section 26-96(d) or (e).
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-22; Ord. of 3-22-10(2))
The stormwater manual as referenced in this article refers to the technical analysis and design standards specified in the Vermont Stormwater Manual (Volumes I and II), latest revision and to the City of Burlington, Department of Public Works Stormwater and Erosion Control Specifications, Standards and Management Practices Design Manual.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-23)
26-156 Stormwater treatment standards and treatment practice design criteria.
The following stormwater treatment standards may apply to those projects, conditions and activities regulated under this division and where applicable, shall be applied as required and outlined in the Vermont Stormwater Manual, (Volumes I and II), latest revision, to the maximum extent practicable as determined by the director of the department of public works.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-24)
26-157 Use of alternative stormwater management practices.
The city recognizes that in some instances the ability to strictly meet the requirements of section 26-156, stormwater treatment standards and treatment practice design criteria, may not be possible, feasible or desired in an urban landscape. As such the city encourages the use of alternative management practices and technologies as a way to both satisfy the requirements of this division, to give flexibility to design and to encourage green Infrastructure (green), best management practices (BMP), low impact design (LID) or other innovative practices that in the opinion of the department of public works satisfies the requirements of this division. Such practices include but are not limited to, green roofs, alternative detention practices, water reuse, including stormwater use, infiltration practices, including pervious and porous pavements and pavers. See Burlington’s Guidelines for Stormwater Pollutant Reduction, September 1999 and as may be amended and EPA "Managing Wet Weather with Green Infrastructure Action Strategy", January 2008, and as amended.
Persons subject to this division may utilize alternative stormwater management practices as a means of meeting the standards established in section 26-156. Persons seeking to employ any alternative practice must provide descriptions and standard details as well as a make a demonstration that such alternative practice meets or exceeds the standards of section 26-156, that the standards of section 26-156 are not applicable, and/or the alternative practice mitigates the impact that section 26-156 seeks to address, subject to the department of public works for review and approval. A maintenance and a installation guide shall also be provided to ensure the materials are properly installed. When considering any alternative stormwater management practice, the department of public works will evaluate and determine if such practice is consistent with the city MS4, CSO and use of public sewers permits and ordinances, including this chapter. Where such management practices are found to be consistent with or likely not to compromise the city MS4, CSO and use of public sewers permits and ordinances, the department of public works may grant their use on a case-by-case basis.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-25)
26-158 Stormwater management plan.
(a) Review and approval. The department of public works will review each stormwater management plan to determine its conformance with the provisions of this division, unless such review is explicitly exempted within this division. Within thirty (30) days after receiving a complete plan and application, the department of public works shall in writing:
(b) Plan requirements. The stormwater management plan shall be prepared and signed by a licensed, professional engineer who shall verify and demonstrate conformance to the applicable water quality treatment standards and stormwater management design criteria contained in this division. The stormwater management plan shall contain both narrative and map(s) that clearly provide the following information:
a. A landscape plan. The applicant must present a detailed plan for the management of vegetation at the site after construction is finished, including who will be responsible for the maintenance of vegetation at the site and what practices will be employed to ensure that adequate vegetation cover is preserved.
b. Maintenance easements. Prior to the issuance of any permit that has a stormwater management facility as a requirement, the applicant or owner of the site must execute a maintenance easement that shall be binding on all subsequent owners of land served by the stormwater management facility. The purpose of the maintenance easement shall be to allow access to the stormwater management facility to perform maintenance as required by the maintenance agreement noted in subsection c. below. The easement shall provide for access to the facility at reasonable times for periodic inspection by the city, or its contractor or agent, and for regular or special assessments of property owners to ensure that the facility is maintained in proper working condition to meet design standards and any other provisions established by this section. The property owner shall record such easement, in a form and format approved by the city attorney, in the city land records with the city clerk’s office.
c. Maintenance agreement. The applicant must execute a maintenance agreement binding on all subsequent owners of land served by an onsite stormwater management measure. The maintenance agreement shall be recorded in the land records before the issuance of a building permit and shall specify the required maintenance for all stormwater treatment practices, along with a maintenance schedule specifying when and how often maintenance is performed on the stormwater treatment practices and a demonstrated financial ability to perform such maintenance. Such agreement shall be in a form and format approved by the city attorney, and be filed in the city land records. The owner is responsible for maintenance of stormwater management facilities; however, the city may accept dedication of existing or future stormwater management facilities for public maintenance and inspection.
d. Maintenance inspections. All stormwater management facilities must be inspected by the department of public works no less than once annually to identify maintenance and repair needs and to ensure compliance with the requirements of this division. Any identified maintenance and/or repair needs found must be promptly addressed by the responsible party. The inspection and maintenance requirement may be increased as deemed necessary by the city to ensure proper functioning of the stormwater management facility.
e. Records of installation and maintenance activities. Parties responsible for the inspection, operation and maintenance of a stormwater management facility shall make records of the installation and of all maintenance and repairs and shall retain the records for at least five (5) years. These records shall be made available to the director upon request and/or as specifically outlined in the maintenance covenant.
f. Failure to maintain practices. If a responsible party fails or refuses to meet the requirements of the maintenance covenant, the city, after proper notice, may correct a violation of the design standards or maintenance needs by performing all necessary work to place the facility in proper working condition and/or shall handle the matter as a violation per section 26-4, penalties and enforcement.
(7) Landscaping and stabilization requirements. Any area of land for which the natural vegetative cover has been either partially or wholly cleared or removed by land disturbance activities subject to this division shall be revegetated within ten (10) business days from the substantial completion of such clearing and construction. Additionally, the following requirements apply until such time as final site stabilization has been achieved:
a. Reseeding must be done with an annual or perennial cover crop accompanied by placement of straw mulch or its equivalent of sufficient coverage to control erosion until such time as the cover crop is established over ninety (90) percent of the seeded area.
b. Replanting with native woody and herbaceous vegetation must be accompanied by placement of straw mulch or its equivalent of sufficient coverage to control erosion until the plantings are established and are capable of controlling erosion.
c. Any area of revegetation must exhibit survival of a minimum of seventy-five (75) percent of the cover crop throughout the year immediately following revegetation. Revegetation must be repeated in successive years until the minimum seventy-five (75) percent survival for one (1) year is achieved.
d. Any and all accumulated sediments transported offsite and deposited onto city streets, and sidewalks shall be routinely and frequently swept up to prevent their discharge into stormwater and/or the city’s public sewer.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-26)
26-159 Access to stormwater treatment practices.
The department of public works shall be permitted to enter and inspect any land or premises where stormwater treatment practices are being, or have been constructed subject to regulation under this division as often as may be necessary to determine compliance with this division.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-27)
26-160 City inspections during installation and construction.
The applicant must notify the department of public works or their designee in advance before the start of construction and/or installation of any stormwater management system to alert the department of public works so they may arrange to make regular inspections of the construction of stormwater treatment practices and/or connections to any city infrastructure. If any violations are found, the property owner shall be notified in writing of the nature of the violation and the required corrective actions and shall be subject to the enforcement provision of section 26-4. No additional work shall proceed until any violations are corrected and all work previously completed has received approval from the department of public works.
In lieu of the requirements outlined in this section, the department of public works at their discretion may allow or require that the applicant or their agent provide a written certification from a professionally licensed engineer certifying compliance to the stormwater management plan as approved.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-28)
26-171 Establishment of stormwater user fees.
(a) A user fee based on an impervious surface unit (ISU) shall be imposed on every owner of non-exempt developed property within the city. An ISU shall equal one thousand (1,000) square feet.
(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 ISU. The monthly user fee for a specific property is determined by multiplying the ISU rate times the number of ISUs on the property.
(d) The only exempt properties under this division are those 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) and those included within the limits of a public road right-of-way.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-29)
26-172 Establishment of ISUs.
(a) The following residential property types shall be allocated ISUs based on the group averages and shall be charged a monthly flat fee based on the group average.
(b) The ISUs allocated to all other property types shall be determined as follows:
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-30)
(a) Institutional properties with impervious surface within a publicly owned nontraditional separate MS4 system shall receive a credit on their stormwater user fee. This credit applies only to impervious surfaces within the boundaries of the publicly owned non-traditional separate MS4 system.
(b) Properties not subject to a flat fee may be eligible for a credit on their stormwater user fee. Credits shall be available to properties that reduce the volume, or improve the water quality, of stormwater runoff. The degree of credit shall be based on the degree of reduction in stormwater runoff volume and/or the degree of water quality improvement of stormwater runoff. No credit shall exceed fifty (50) percent of the stormwater user fee, and in no event shall any credit result in a stormwater user fee below the flat fee for a single -family home. Credits shall be reviewed and assessed by the director based on the rules and procedures contained in the Stormwater User Fee Credit Manual. Any award of credit shall be conditioned on continuing compliance with the city’s design and performance standards as stated in the 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 director may revoke a credit at any time for noncompliance by providing thirty (30) days written notice of a noncomplying condition and intent to revoke the credit to the property owner. If the noncompliance is not cured within the thirty (30) day period, the director shall eliminate the credit. A property owner may appeal the director’s determination regarding credit revocation to the public works commission within fifteen (15) days of the determination.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-31)
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.
(Ord. of 12-15-08(2), § 26-3-32)