[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Northampton 6-17-2004 (Ch. 22, Art. VI, of the 1977 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to regulate illicit connections and discharges to the municipal storm drain system, which is necessary for the protection of Northampton's water bodies and groundwater, and to safeguard the public health, safety, welfare and the environment.
The objectives of this chapter are:
To prevent pollutants from entering Northampton's municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4);
To prohibit illicit connections and unauthorized discharges to the MS4;
To require the removal of all such illicit connections;
To comply with state and federal statutes and regulations relating to stormwater discharges;
To establish the legal authority to ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter through inspection, monitoring, and enforcement; and
To prevent contamination of drinking water supplies.
For the purposes of this chapter, the following shall have the meanings indicated:
- AUTHORIZED ENFORCEMENT AGENCY
- The Department of Public Works, its employees or agents designated to enforce this chapter.
- BEST MANAGEMENT PRACTICE (BMP)
- An activity, procedure, restraint, or structural improvement that helps to reduce the quantity or improve the quality of stormwater runoff.
- CLEAN WATER ACT
- The Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq.) as hereafter amended.
- DISCHARGE OF POLLUTANTS
- The addition from any source of any pollutant or combination of pollutants into the municipal storm drain system or into the waters of the United States or commonwealth from any source.
- All water beneath the surface of the ground.
- ILLEGAL DISCHARGE
- Any direct or indirect nonstormwater discharge to the municipal storm drain system, except as specifically exempted in § 278-5D. The term does not include a discharge in compliance with an NPDES stormwater discharge permit or resulting from fire-fighting activities exempted pursuant to § 278-5D of this chapter.
- ILLICIT CONNECTION
- Any surface or subsurface drain or conveyance, which allows an illegal discharge into the municipal storm drain system. Illicit connections include conveyances which allow a nonstormwater discharge to the municipal storm drain system, including but not limited to sewage, process wastewater or wash water and any connections from indoor drains, sinks, or toilets, regardless of whether said connection was previously allowed, permitted, or approved before the effective date of this chapter.
- IMPERVIOUS SURFACE
- Any material or structure on or above the ground that prevents water from infiltrating the underlying soil.
- MUNICIPAL SEPARATE STORM SEWER SYSTEM (MS4) or MUNICIPAL STORM DRAIN SYSTEM
- The system of conveyances designed or used for collecting or conveying stormwater, including any road with a drainage system, street, gutter, curb, inlet, piped storm drain, pumping facility, retention or detention basin, natural or man-made or altered drainage channel, reservoir, and other drainage structure that together comprise the storm drainage system owned or operated by the City of Northampton.
- NATIONAL POLLUTANT DISCHARGE ELIMINATION SYSTEM (NPDES) STORMWATER DISCHARGE PERMIT
- A permit issued by United States Environmental Protection Agency or jointly with the state that authorizes the discharge of pollutants to waters of the United States.
- NONSTORMWATER DISCHARGE
- Any discharge to the municipal storm drain system not composed entirely of stormwater.
- Any individual, partnership, association, firm, company, trust, corporation, and, any agency, authority, department or political subdivision of the commonwealth or the federal government, to the extent permitted by law, and any officer, employee, or agent of such person.
- Any element or property of sewage, agricultural, industrial or commercial waste, runoff, leachate, heated effluent, or other matter whether originating at a point or nonpoint source, that if discharged to waters of the commonwealth in sufficient quantities, causes or is reasonably certain to cause any alteration of the physical, chemical or biological properties of such waters; or to create a nuisance; or to render such waters harmful, detrimental or injurious to public health, safety or welfare, or to domestic, industrial, agricultural, recreational, or other legitimate beneficial uses or to any organism, aquatic life, plant or animal. Pollutants shall include:
- A. Paints, varnishes, and solvents;
- B. Oil and other automotive fluids;
- C. Nonhazardous liquid and solid wastes and yard wastes;
- D. Refuse, rubbish, garbage, litter, or other discarded or abandoned objects, articles, accumulations and floatables;
- E. Pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers;
- F. Hazardous materials and wastes; sewage, fecal coliform and pathogens;
- G. Dissolved and particulate metals;
- H. Animal wastes;
- I. Rock, sand, salt, soils;
- J. Construction wastes and residues, including but not limited to sediments, slurries, and concrete rinsates; and
- K. Noxious or offensive matter of any kind.
- PROCESS WASTEWATER
- Any water, which during manufacturing or processing, comes into direct contact with or results from the production or use of any material, intermediate product, finished product, or waste product.
- The process by which groundwater is replenished by precipitation through the percolation of runoff and surface water through the soil.
- Any surface flow, runoff, and drainage consisting entirely of water from precipitation or snowmelt.
- TOXIC OR HAZARDOUS MATERIAL OR WASTE
- Any material, which because of its quantity, concentration, chemical, corrosive, flammable, reactive, toxic, infectious or radioactive characteristics, either separately or in combination with any substance or substances, constitutes a present or potential threat to human health, safety, welfare, or to the environment. Toxic or hazardous materials include any synthetic organic chemical, petroleum product, heavy metal, radioactive or infectious waste, acid and alkali, and any substance defined as toxic or hazardous under MGL c. 21C and c. 21E, and the regulations at 310 CMR 30.000 and 310 CMR 40.0000.
- Water containing no pollutants.
- A natural or man-made channel through which water flows or a stream of water, including a river, brook or underground stream.
- WATERS OF THE COMMONWEALTH
- All waters within the jurisdiction of the commonwealth, including, without limitation, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, springs, impoundments, estuaries, wetlands, coastal waters, and groundwater.
- Any sanitary waste, sludge, or septic tank or cesspool overflow, and water that during manufacturing, cleaning or processing, comes into direct contact with or results from the production or use of any raw material, intermediate product, finished product, by-product or waste product.
This chapter shall apply to flows entering the municipally owned storm drainage system.
The Department of Public Works may promulgate rules, regulations and a permitting process to effectuate the purposes of this chapter.
Illegal discharges. No person shall dump, discharge, cause or allow to be discharged any pollutant or nonstormwater discharge into the municipal storm drain system, watercourse, or into the waters of the commonwealth.
Illicit connections. No person shall construct, use, allow, maintain or continue any illicit connection to the municipal storm drain system, regardless of whether the connection was permissible under applicable law, regulation or custom at the time of connection.
Obstruction of municipal storm drain system. No person shall obstruct or interfere with the normal flow of stormwater into or out of the municipal storm drain system without prior approval from the Department of Public Works or its designated agent.
Exemptions. This section shall not apply to any of the following nonstormwater discharges or flows, provided that the source is not a significant contributor of a pollutant to the municipal storm drain system:
Flows from potable water sources;
Natural flows from riparian habitats and wetlands;
Diverted stream flows;
Uncontaminated groundwater infiltration as defined in 40 CFR 35.2005(20), or uncontaminated pumped groundwater;
Water from exterior foundation drains, footing drains (not including active groundwater dewatering systems, such as dewatering excavations for foundation or pipelines), crawl space pumps, or air conditioning condensation;
Discharges from landscape irrigation or lawn watering;
Water from individual residential car washing and temporary fund-raising car wash events;
Discharges from dechlorinated swimming pool water, provided that it is allowed to stand for one week prior to draining, or tested for chlorine levels with a pool test kit prior to draining (less than one part per million chlorine), and the pool is drained in such a way as not to cause a nuisance;
Discharges from street sweepers of minor amounts of water during operations;
Discharges or flows resulting from fire-fighting activities;
Dye testing, provided that verbal notification is given to the Department of Public Works prior to the time of the test;
Nonstormwater discharges permitted under an NPDES permit, waiver, or waste discharge order administered under the authority of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, provided that the discharge is in full compliance with the requirements of the permit, waiver, or order and applicable laws and regulations; and
Discharges for which advanced written approval is received from the Department of Public Works if necessary to protect public health, safety, welfare or the environment.
The Department of Public Works may suspend municipal storm drain system access to any person or property without prior written notice when such suspension is necessary to stop an actual or threatened illegal discharge that presents or may present imminent risk of harm to the public health, safety, welfare or the environment. In the event any person fails to comply with an emergency suspension order, the authorized enforcement agency may take all reasonable steps to prevent or minimize harm to the public health, safety, welfare or the environment.
Any person discharging to a municipal storm drain system in violation of this chapter may have their municipal storm drain system access terminated if such termination would abate or reduce an illicit discharge. The Department of Public Works will notify a violator of the proposed termination of municipal storm drain system access. The violator may petition the Department of Public Works for reconsideration and hearing. A person commits an offense if the person reinstates municipal storm drain system access to premises terminated pursuant to this section, without prior approval from the Department of Public Works.
Notwithstanding any other requirements of local, state or federal 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 at that facility operation which is resulting or may result in illegal discharge of pollutants that person shall take all necessary steps to ensure containment and cleanup of the release. In the event of a release of oil or hazardous materials, the person shall immediately notify the municipal Fire and Police Departments, Department of Public Works and Board of Health. In the event of a release of nonhazardous material, said person shall notify the authorized enforcement agency no later than the next business day. Written confirmation of all telephone, facsimile or in-person notifications shall be provided to the authorized enforcement agency within three business days thereafter. If the discharge of prohibited materials is from a commercial or industrial facility, the facility owner or operator of the facility shall retain on site a written record of the discharge and the actions taken to prevent its recurrence. Such records shall be retained for at least three years.
The Department of Public Works or its authorized agent shall enforce this chapter, and the regulations promulgated thereunder, as well as the terms and conditions of all permits, notices, and orders, and may pursue all civil and criminal remedies for such violations.
Civil relief. If anyone violates the provisions of this chapter, regulations, permit, notice, or order issued thereunder, the Department of Public Works may seek injunctive relief in a court of competent jurisdiction to restrain the person from activities which would create further violations or compelling the person to abate or remediate the violation.
The Department of Public Works may issue a written order to enforce the provisions of this chapter or the regulations thereunder, which may include: a) elimination of illicit connections or discharges to the storm drainage system; b) termination of access to the storm drainage system; c) performance of monitoring, analyses, and reporting; d) cessation of unlawful discharges, practices, or operations; and e) remediation of contamination in connection therewith. If the Department of Public Works determines that abatement or remediation of contamination is required, the order shall set forth a deadline for completion of the abatement or remediation. Said order shall further advise that, should the violator or property owner fail to abate or perform remediation within the specified deadline, the City may, at its option, undertake such work, and expenses thereof shall be charged to the violator or property owner
Within 30 days after completing all measures necessary to abate the violation or to perform remediation, the violator and the property owner will be notified of the costs incurred by the City, including administrative costs. The violator or property owner may file a written protest objecting to the amount or basis of costs with the Department of Public Works within 30 days of receipt of the notification of the costs incurred. If the amount due is not received by the expiration of the time in which to file a protest or within 30 days following a decision of the Department of Public Works affirming or reducing the costs, or from a final decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, the costs shall become a special assessment against the property owner and shall constitute a lien on the owner's property for the amount of said costs. Interest shall begin to accrue on any unpaid costs at the statutory rate provided in MGL c. 59, § 57, after the 31st day at which the costs first become due.
Criminal and civil penalties. Any person who violates any provision of this chapter, valid regulation, or the terms or conditions in any permit or order prescribed or issued thereunder, shall be subject to a fine not to exceed $300 for each day such violation occurs or continues or subject to a civil penalty, which may be assessed in an action brought on behalf of the City in any court of competent jurisdiction.
Noncriminal disposition. As an alternative to criminal prosecution or civil action, the City of Northampton may elect to utilize the noncriminal disposition procedure set forth in MGL c. 40, § 21D. The Director of the Department of Public Works, or the Director's designee, shall be the enforcement officer as outlined in § 40-5 of the Code. The penalty for the first, second, third and subsequent violations shall be as set forth in Chapter 40, Enforcement. Each day or part thereof that such violation occurs or continues shall constitute a separate offense.
Entry to perform duties under this chapter. To the extent permitted by state law, or if authorized by the owner or other party in control of the property, the Department of Public Works, its agents, officers, and employees may enter upon privately owned property for the purpose of performing their duties under this chapter and regulations and may make or cause to be made such examinations, surveys or sampling as the Department of Public Works deems reasonably necessary
Appeals. The decisions or orders of the Department of Public Works shall be final. Further relief shall be to a court of competent jurisdiction.
Remedies not exclusive. The remedies listed in this chapter are not exclusive of any other remedies available under any applicable federal, state or local law.
Residential property owners shall comply with this chapter on a schedule set forth in the Department of Public Works compliance order, but such property owners shall in no case have more than six months from the effective date of this chapter to comply with its provisions, unless good cause is shown for the failure to comply with the chapter during that period.