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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 10 : Conservation and Development

Chapter 047 : WATER POLLUTION CONTROL

Subchapter 001 : WATER POLLUTION CONTROL

(Cite as: 10 V.S.A. § 1264)
  • § 1264. Stormwater management

    (a) Findings and intent.

    (1) Findings. The General Assembly finds that the management of stormwater runoff is necessary to reduce stream channel instability, pollution, siltation, sedimentation, and flooding, all of which have adverse impacts on the water and land resources of the State.

    (2) Intent. The General Assembly intends, by enactment of this section to:

    (A) Reduce the adverse effects of stormwater runoff.

    (B) Direct the Agency of Natural Resources to develop a process that ensures broad participation; focuses upon the prevention of pollution; relies on structural treatment only when necessary; establishes and maintains accountability; tailors strategies to the region and the locale; builds broad-based programs; provides for the evaluation and appropriate evolution of programs; is consistent with the federal Clean Water Act and the State water quality standards; and accords appropriate recognition to the importance of community benefits that accompany an effective stormwater runoff management program. In furtherance of these purposes, the Secretary shall implement a stormwater permitting program. The stormwater permitting program developed by the Secretary shall recognize that stormwater runoff is different from the discharge of sanitary and industrial wastes because of the influence of natural events of stormwater runoff, the variations in characteristics of those runoffs, and the increased stream flows causing degradation of the quality of the receiving water at the time of discharge.

    (b) Definitions. As used in this section:

    (1) "Best management practice" (BMP) means a schedule of activities, prohibitions or practices, maintenance procedures, green infrastructure, and other management practices to prevent or reduce water pollution.

    (2) "Development" means the construction of impervious surface on a tract or tracts of land where no impervious surface previously existed.

    (3) "Expansion" and "the expanded portion of an existing discharge" mean an increase or addition of impervious surface, such that the total resulting impervious area is greater than the minimum regulatory threshold.

    (4) "Green infrastructure" means a wide range of multi-functional, natural and semi-natural landscape elements that are located within, around, and between developed areas, that are applicable at all spatial scales, and that are designed to control or collect stormwater runoff.

    (5) "Healthy soil" means soil that has a well-developed, porous structure, is chemically balanced, supports diverse microbial communities, and has abundant organic matter.

    (6) "Impervious surface" means those manmade surfaces, including paved and unpaved roads, parking areas, roofs, driveways, and walkways, from which precipitation runs off rather than infiltrates.

    (7) "New stormwater discharge" means a new or expanded discharge of regulated stormwater runoff, subject to the permitting requirements of this chapter that has not been previously authorized pursuant to this chapter.

    (8) "Offset" means a State-permitted or State-approved action or project that mitigates the impacts that a discharge of regulated stormwater runoff has on receiving waters.

    (9) "Redevelopment" or "redevelop" means the construction or reconstruction of an impervious surface where an impervious surface already exists when such new construction involves substantial site grading, substantial subsurface excavation, or substantial modification of an existing stormwater conveyance, such that the total of impervious surface to be constructed or reconstructed is greater than the minimum regulatory threshold. Redevelopment does not mean public road management activities, including any crack sealing, patching, cold planing, resurfacing, reclaiming, or grading treatments used to maintain pavement, bridges, and unpaved roads.

    (10) "Regulated stormwater runoff" means precipitation, snowmelt, and the material dissolved or suspended in precipitation and snowmelt that runs off impervious surfaces and discharges into surface waters or into groundwater via infiltration.

    (11) "Stormwater impact fee" means the monetary charge assessed to a permit applicant for the discharge of regulated stormwater runoff in order to mitigate impacts that the discharger is unable to control through on-site treatment or completion of an offset on a site owned or controlled by the permit applicant.

    (12) "Stormwater-impaired water" means a State water that the Secretary determines is significantly impaired by discharges of regulated stormwater runoff.

    (13) "Stormwater Management Manual" means the Agency of Natural Resources' Stormwater Management Manual, as adopted and amended by rule.

    (14) "Stormwater runoff" means precipitation and snowmelt that does not infiltrate into the soil, including material dissolved or suspended in it, but does not include discharges from undisturbed natural terrain or wastes from combined sewer overflows.

    (15) "Stormwater system" includes the storm sewers; outfall sewers; surface drains; manmade wetlands; channels; ditches; wet and dry bottom basins; rain gardens; and other control equipment necessary and appurtenant to the collection, transportation, conveyance, pumping, treatment, disposal, and discharge of regulated stormwater runoff.

    (16) "Total maximum daily load" (TMDL) means the calculations and plan for meeting water quality standards approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and prepared pursuant to 33 U.S.C. § 1313(d) and federal regulations adopted under that law.

    (17) "Water quality remediation plan" means a plan, other than a TMDL, designed to bring an impaired water body into compliance with applicable water quality standards in accordance with 40 C.F.R. § 130.7(b)(1)(ii) and (iii).

    (18) "Watershed improvement permit" means a general permit specific to a stormwater-impaired water that is designed to apply management strategies to existing and new discharges and that includes a schedule of compliance no longer than five years reasonably designed to assure attainment of the Vermont water quality standards in the receiving waters.

    [ Subsection (c) effective until July 1, 2022; see also subsection (c) effective July 1, 2022 .]

    (c) Prohibitions.

    (1) A person shall not commence the construction or redevelopment of one acre or more of impervious surface without first obtaining a permit from the Secretary.

    (2) A person shall not discharge from a facility that has a standard industrial classification identified in 40 C.F.R. § 122.26 without first obtaining a permit from the Secretary.

    (3) A person that has been designated by the Secretary as requiring coverage for its municipal separate storm sewer system may not discharge without first obtaining a permit from the Secretary.

    (4) A person shall not commence a project that will result in an earth disturbance of one acre or greater, or less than one acre if part of a common plan of development, without first obtaining a permit from the Secretary.

    (5) A person shall not expand existing impervious surface by more than 5,000 square feet, such that the total resulting impervious area is greater than one acre, without first obtaining a permit from the Secretary.

    (6)(A) In accordance with the schedule established under subdivision (g)(2) of this section, a municipality shall not discharge stormwater from a municipal road without first obtaining:

    (i) an individual permit;

    (ii) coverage under a municipal road general permit; or

    (iii) coverage under a municipal separate storm sewer system permit that implements the technical standards and criteria established by the Secretary for stormwater improvements of municipal roads.

    (B) As used in this subdivision (6), "municipality" means a city, town, or village.

    (7) In accordance with the schedule established under subdivision (g)(3) of this section, a person shall not discharge stormwater from impervious surface of three or more acres in size without first obtaining an individual permit or coverage under a general permit issued under this section if the discharge was never previously permitted or was permitted under an individual permit or general permit that did not incorporate the requirements of the 2002 Stormwater Management Manual or any subsequently adopted Stormwater Management Manual.

    [ Subsection (c) effective July 1, 2022; see also subsection (c) effective until July 1, 2022 .]

    (c) Prohibitions.

    (1) A person shall not commence the construction or redevelopment of one-half of an acre or more of impervious surface without first obtaining a permit from the Secretary.

    (2) A person shall not discharge from a facility that has a standard industrial classification identified in 40 C.F.R. § 122.26 without first obtaining a permit from the Secretary.

    (3) A person that has been designated by the Secretary as requiring coverage for its municipal separate storm sewer system shall not discharge without first obtaining a permit from the Secretary.

    (4) A person shall not commence a project that will result in an earth disturbance of one acre or greater, or of less than one acre if part of a common plan of development, without first obtaining a permit from the Secretary.

    (5) A person shall not expand existing impervious surface by more than 5,000 square feet, such that the total resulting impervious area is greater than one acre, without first obtaining a permit from the Secretary.

    (6)(A) In accordance with the schedule established under subdivision (g)(2) of this section, a municipality shall not discharge stormwater from a municipal road without first obtaining:

    (i) an individual permit;

    (ii) coverage under a municipal road general permit; or

    (iii) coverage under a municipal separate storm sewer system permit that implements the technical standards and criteria established by the Secretary for stormwater improvements of municipal roads.

    (B) As used in this subdivision (6), "municipality" means a city, town, or village.

    (7) In accordance with the schedule established under subdivision (g)(3) of this section, a person shall not discharge stormwater from impervious surface of three or more acres in size without first obtaining an individual permit or coverage under a general permit issued under this section if the discharge was never previously permitted or was permitted under an individual permit or general permit that did not incorporate the requirements of the 2002 Stormwater Management Manual or any subsequently adopted Stormwater Management Manual.

    (d) Exemptions.

    (1) No permit is required under this section for:

    (A) Stormwater runoff from farms in compliance with agricultural practices adopted by the Secretary of Agriculture, Food and Markets, provided that this exemption shall not apply to construction stormwater permits required by subdivision (c)(4) of this section.

    (B) Stormwater runoff from concentrated animal feeding operations permitted under subsection 1263(g) of this chapter.

    (C) Stormwater runoff from accepted silvicultural practices, as defined by the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation, including practices which are in compliance with the Acceptable Management Practices for Maintaining Water Quality on Logging Jobs in Vermont, as adopted by the Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation.

    (D) Stormwater runoff permitted under section 1263 of this title.

    (2) No permit is required under subdivision (c)(1), (5), or (7) of this section and for which a municipality has assumed full legal responsibility as part of a permit issued to the municipality by the Secretary. As used in this subdivision, "full legal responsibility" means legal control of the stormwater system, including a legal right to access the stormwater system, a legal duty to properly maintain the stormwater system, and a legal duty to repair and replace the stormwater system when it no longer adequately protects waters of the State.

    (e) State designation. The Secretary shall require a permit under this section for a discharge or stormwater runoff from any size of impervious surfaces upon a determination by the Secretary that the treatment of the discharge or stormwater runoff is necessary to reduce the adverse impacts to water quality of the discharge or stormwater runoff taking into consideration any of the following factors: the size of the impervious surface, drainage patterns, hydraulic connectivity, existing stormwater treatment, stormwater controls necessary to implement the wasteload allocation of a TMDL, or other factors. The Secretary may make this determination on a case-by-case basis or according to classes of activities, classes of runoff, or classes of discharge. The Secretary may make a determination under this subsection based on activities, runoff, discharges, or other information identified during the basin planning process.

    (f) Rulemaking. On or before December 31, 2017, the Secretary shall adopt rules to manage stormwater runoff. At a minimum, the rules shall:

    (1) Establish as the primary goals of the rules:

    (A) assuring compliance with the Vermont Water Quality Standards; and

    (B) maintenance after development, as nearly as possible, of the predevelopment runoff characteristics.

    (2) Establish criteria for the use of the basin planning process to establish watershed-specific priorities for the management of stormwater runoff.

    (3) Assure consistency with applicable requirements of the federal Clean Water Act.

    (4) Include technical standards and best management practices that address stormwater discharges from existing development, new development, and redevelopment.

    (5) Specify minimum requirements for inspection and maintenance of stormwater management practices.

    (6) Include standards for the management of stormwater runoff from construction sites and other land disturbing activities.

    (7) Allow municipal governments to assume the full legal responsibility for a stormwater system permitted under these rules as a part of a permit issued by the Secretary.

    (8) Include standards with respect to the use of offsets and stormwater impact fees.

    (9) Include minimum standards for the issuance of stormwater permits during emergencies for the repair or maintenance of stormwater infrastructure during a state of emergency declared under 20 V.S.A. chapter 1 or during flooding or other emergency conditions that pose an imminent risk to life or a risk of damage to public or private property. Minimum standards adopted under this subdivision shall comply with National Flood Insurance Program requirements.

    (10) To the extent appropriate, authorize in the permitting process use of certifications of compliance by licensed professional engineers practicing within the scope of their engineering specialty.

    (11) Include standards for alternative best management practices for stormwater permitting of renewable energy projects and telecommunication facilities located in high-elevation settings, provided that the alternative best management practices shall be designed to:

    (A) minimize the extent and footprint of stormwater-treatment practices in order to preserve vegetation and trees;

    (B) adapt to and minimize impact to ecosystems, shallow soils, and sensitive streams found in high-elevation settings;

    (C) account for the temporary nature and infrequent use of construction and access roads for high-elevation projects; and

    (D) maintain the predevelopment runoff characteristics, as nearly as possible, after development.

    (12) Establish best management practices for improving healthy soils in order to improve the capacity of soil to retain water, improve flood resiliency, reduce sedimentation, and prevent stormwater runoff.

    (g) General permits.

    (1) The Secretary may issue general permits for classes of stormwater runoff that shall be adopted and administered in accordance with the provisions of subsection 1263(b) of this title.

    (2)(A) The Secretary shall issue on or before December 31, 2017, a general permit for discharges of regulated stormwater from municipal roads. Under the municipal roads stormwater general permit, the Secretary shall:

    (i) Establish a schedule for implementation of the general permit by each municipality in the State. Under the schedule, the Secretary shall establish:

    (I) the date by which each municipality shall apply for coverage under the municipal roads general permit;

    (II) the date by which each municipality shall inventory necessary stormwater management projects on municipal roads;

    (III) the date by which each municipality shall establish a plan for implementation of stormwater improvements that prioritizes stormwater improvements according to criteria established by the Secretary under the general permit; and

    (IV) the date by which each municipality shall implement stormwater improvements of municipal roads according to a municipal implementation plan.

    (ii) Establish criteria and technical standards, such as best management practices, for implementation of stormwater improvements of municipal roads.

    (iii) Establish criteria for municipal prioritization of stormwater improvements of municipal roads. The Secretary shall base the criteria on the water quality impacts of a stormwater discharge, the current state of a municipal road, the priority of a municipal road or stormwater project in any existing transportation capital plan developed by a municipality, and the benefits of the stormwater improvement to the life of the municipal road.

    (iv) Require each municipality to submit to the Secretary and periodically update its implementation plan for stormwater improvements.

    (B) The Secretary may require an individual permit for a stormwater improvement at any time under subsection (e) of this section. An individual permit shall include site-specific standards for the stormwater improvement.

    (C) All municipalities shall apply for coverage under the municipal road general permit on or before July 1, 2021.

    (D) As used in this subdivision (g)(2), "municipality" means a city, town, or village.

    (3) Within 120 days after the adoption by the Secretary of the rules required under subsection (f) of this section, the Secretary shall issue a general permit under this section for discharges of stormwater from impervious surface of three or more acres in size, when the stormwater discharge previously was not permitted or was permitted under an individual permit or general permit that did not incorporate the requirements of the 2002 Stormwater Management Manual or any subsequently adopted Stormwater Management Manual. Under the general permit, the Secretary shall:

    (A) Establish a schedule for implementation of the general permit by geographic area of the State. The schedule shall establish the date by which an owner of impervious surface shall apply for coverage under this subdivision (3). The schedule established by the Secretary shall require an owner of impervious surface subject to permitting under this subdivision to obtain coverage by the following dates:

    (i) for impervious surface located within the Lake Champlain watershed, the Lake Memphremagog watershed, or the watershed of a stormwater-impaired water on or before October 1, 2023;

    (ii) for impervious surface located within all other watersheds of the State, no later than October 1, 2033.

    (B) Establish criteria and technical standards, such as best management practices, for implementation of stormwater improvements for the retrofitting of impervious surface subject to permitting under this subdivision (3).

    (C) Require that a discharge of stormwater from impervious surface subject to the requirements of this section comply with the standards of subsection (h) of this section for redevelopment of or renewal of a permit for existing impervious surface.

    (D) Allow the use of stormwater impact fees, offsets, and phosphorus credit trading within the watershed of the water to which the stormwater discharges or runs off.

    (h) Permit requirements. An individual or general stormwater permit shall:

    (1) Be valid for a period of time not to exceed five years.

    (2) For discharges of regulated stormwater to a stormwater-impaired water, for discharges of phosphorus to Lake Champlain or Lake Memphremagog, or for discharges of phosphorus to a water that contributes to the impairment of Lake Champlain or Lake Memphremagog:

    (A) In which no TMDL, watershed improvement permit, or water quality remediation plan has been approved, require that the discharge shall comply with the following discharge standards:

    (i) A new discharge or the expanded portion of an existing discharge shall satisfy the requirements of the Stormwater Management Manual and shall not increase the pollutant load in the receiving water for stormwater.

    (ii) For redevelopment of or renewal of a permit for existing impervious surface, the discharge shall satisfy on-site the water quality, recharge, and channel protection criteria set forth in the Stormwater Management Manual that are determined to be technically feasible by an engineering feasibility analysis conducted by the Agency, and the discharge shall not increase the pollutant load in the receiving water for stormwater.

    (B) In which a TMDL or water quality remediation plan has been adopted, require that the discharge shall comply with the following discharge standards:

    (i) For a new discharge or the expanded portion of an existing discharge, the discharge shall satisfy the requirements of the Stormwater Management Manual, and the Secretary shall determine that there are sufficient pollutant load allocations for the discharge.

    (ii) For redevelopment of or renewal of a permit for existing impervious surface, the Secretary shall determine that there are sufficient pollutant load allocations for the discharge and the Secretary shall include any requirements that the Secretary deems necessary to implement the TMDL or water quality remediation plan.

    (3) Contain requirements necessary to comply with the minimum requirements of the rules adopted under this section, the Vermont water quality standards, and any applicable provision of the Clean Water Act.

    (i) Disclosure of violations. The Secretary may, at his or her discretion and as necessary to assure achievement of the goals of the program and compliance with State law and the federal Clean Water Act, deny an application for the discharge of regulated stormwater under this section if review of the applicant's compliance history indicates that the applicant is discharging regulated stormwater in violation of this chapter or is the holder of an expired permit for an existing discharge of regulated stormwater.

    (j) Presumption. In any appeal under this chapter, an individual permit issued under subdivisions (c)(1) and (c)(5) of this section shall have a rebuttable presumption in favor of the permittee that the discharge does not cause or contribute to a violation of the Vermont water quality standards for the receiving waters with respect to the discharge of regulated stormwater runoff, provided that the discharge is to a water that is not principally impaired due to stormwater.

    (k) Report on treatment practices. As part of the report required under section 1389a of this title, the Secretary annually shall report the following:

    (1) whether the phosphorus load from new development permitted under this section by the Secretary in the Lake Champlain watershed in the previous calendar year is achieving at least a 70 percent average phosphorus load reduction;

    (2) the estimated total phosphorus load reduction from new development, redevelopment, and retrofit of impervious surface permitted under this section in the previous calendar year; and

    (3) the number of projects and the percentage of projects as a whole that implemented Tier 1 stormwater treatment practices, Tier 2 stormwater treatment practices, or Tier 3 stormwater treatment practices in the previous calendar year. (Added 1981, No. 222 (Adj. Sess.), § 25; amended 1987, No. 282 (Adj. Sess.), § 14; 1999, No. 114 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. May 19, 2000; 2001, No. 61, § 43, eff. June 16, 2001; 2001, No. 109 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 2-4, eff. May 16, 2002; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003; 2003, No. 115 (Adj. Sess.), § 28, eff. Jan. 31, 2005; 2003, No. 140 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2005, No. 78, § 14, eff. June 24, 2005; 2005, No. 154 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 2, 3, eff. May 17, 2006; 2007, No. 43, § 1, eff. May 23, 2007; 2007, No. 130 (Adj. Sess.), § 5, eff. May 12, 2008; 2011, No. 53, § 3, eff. May 27, 2011; 2011, No. 91 (Adj. Sess.), § 1, eff. Jan. 15, 2012; 2011, No. 138 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. May 14, 2012; 2013, No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 87; 2013, No. 190 (Adj. Sess.), § 20, eff. June 16, 2014; 2013, No. 199 (Adj. Sess.), § 30; 2015, No. 64, § 31; 2017, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 28, 2018; 2017, No. 181 (Adj. Sess.), § 4, eff. July 1, 2022.)