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Frederick County, VA
 
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of the County of Frederick 9-28-2011. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The following words and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meaning ascribed to them below, except in those instances when the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
ESTABLISHED LANDSCAPING
Landscaping plantings or lawns existing in an area after such period of time as to accomplish an establishment and maintenance of growth.
FOUNTAIN
A water display where water is sprayed strictly for ornamental purposes.
NEW LANDSCAPING
Any landscaping or lawns made up of plants or seeds planted in or transplanted to an area within such period of time as to accomplish a reasonable establishment and maintenance of growth. This does not include aeration and seeding, dethatching and seeding, or power overseeding of established lawns.
PERSON
Any individual, corporation, partnership, association, company, business, trust, joint venture or other legal entity.
SWIMMING POOL
Any structure, basin, chamber, or tank, including hot tubs, containing an artificial body of water for swimming, diving or recreational bathing and having a depth of two feet or more at any point.
VEGETABLE GARDEN
Any noncommercial vegetable garden planted primarily for household use; "noncommercial" includes incidental direct selling of produce from such a vegetable garden to the public.
The County of Frederick adopts by reference the current version of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission (NSVRC) Drought/Low Water Supply Response Plan. The adoption of this plan, or a substitution plan authorized by the County of Frederick, is pursuant to, and authorized by, applicable sections of the Virginia Code (as required by 9 VAC 25-780-120 and as authorized by Code of Virginia, §§ 15.2-923(ii), Local water-saving ordinances, and 15.2-924, Water supply emergency ordinances).
Section 15.2-924 of the Code of Virginia states that localities have the power to declare a water supply emergency and to restrict citizens' water use for the prevention of or the duration of a water supply emergency. When such restrictions are put into place, any local water supply system may apply to the State Water Control Board for assistance if it is able to provide evidence that it has exhausted its available means. Water can be bought from one water supplier for the benefit of another to alleviate local water shortages; in such cases, water will be paid for at an agreed-upon rate of the supplier.
A. 
The Drought Contingency and Response Plan for Frederick County provides guidance for evaluating the potential for, or existence of, drought conditions and implementation of response and contingency activities for persons utilizing the public water system. The provisions of this section apply only to persons utilizing the public water system, but persons served by private wells are also encouraged to implement voluntary reductions during drought stages. Frederick County is authorized to take special measures of prudent management to prevent a critical water shortage when a potential shortage and/or emergency condition exists as outlined in this chapter and in the Frederick County Sanitation Authority's Drought Management Plan, in the water system(s), and to declare drought watch, drought warning or drought emergency conditions within the jurisdiction. The County Administrator, in consultation with the Executive Director of the Sanitation Authority, will evaluate the conditions and make the determination which stage of drought is occurring. Upon a determination of the existence of the following conditions, the County Administrator or his designee shall, in accordance with § 44-146.21 of the Code of Virginia, declare a drought watch, drought warning, or drought emergency, as appropriate. Said declaration shall be subject to confirmation by the Board of Supervisors at its next regularly scheduled meeting or at a special meeting within 14 days of the declaration, whichever occurs first.
(1) 
Drought watch. The drought watch stage applies when dry weather conditions persist or worsen and the water demand or usage remains steady or increased which creates questions as to the sustainability of the water resource supplies. Drought watch target is to increase public awareness and reduce water consumption by 10% for residential users and 15% for nonresidential users through voluntary water conservation. Required actions include the monitoring of drought conditions; notifying the public of incipient drought via local media, public service announcement, County website, notices with water bills; and requesting voluntary reduction in nonessential water use, including:
(a) 
Reduce outdoor water use, including the watering of lawns and landscaping;
(b) 
Use washing machines and dishwashers only when loads are full;
(c) 
Reduce water use when performing personal hygiene;
(d) 
Install water-savings devices in the home, including faucet aerators and low-flow toilets;
(e) 
Install rain barrels for watering plants, washing vehicles and general cleanup; and
(f) 
Check faucets and toilets for potential leaks.
(2) 
Drought warning. The drought warning stage applies when dry conditions are severely affecting the reliability of the water resources and the ability of the Frederick County Sanitation Authority to adequately supply and meet future demands or usage of its clients. Drought warning target is to increase public awareness and reduce water consumption by 15% for residential users and 20% for nonresidential users through voluntary and mandatory water conservation. Required actions include the monitoring of drought conditions; notifying the public of the drought warning via local media, public service announcement, County website, notices with water bills; requesting voluntary water conservation measures; and implementing mandatory reduction in nonessential water use as follows:
(a) 
Voluntary reductions.
[1] 
Voluntary reductions of overall water use by all customers of the FCSA, as set forth above for the drought watch stage; and
[2] 
In addition:
[a] 
Customers not served drinking water in restaurants unless requested;
[b] 
Ceasing installation of new irrigation taps on the FCSA system;
[c] 
Ceasing water service to customers who have been given a five-day notice to repair one or more leaks and have failed to do so;
[d] 
Limiting expanding new irrigated land in production or planting or landscaping that is required by site design review process; and
[e] 
Reducing watering of shrubbery, trees, lawns, grass, plants, and other established landscaping by implementing an alternate-day use schedule based on the last digit of residential or commercial address: odd-number addresses: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday; even-number addresses: Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, with no watering to occur between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
(b) 
Specifically prohibited activities using water are:
[1] 
Washing down of streets, sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots, service station aprons, tennis courts, other hard-surfaced areas, buildings, and structures, except as required for safety concerns;
[2] 
Noncommercial washing of privately owned automobiles, trucks, trailers, boats, and any other types of mobile equipment, except where required to meet air quality standards;
[3] 
Using water to maintain fountains, reflective ponds and decorative water bodies for aesthetic or scenic purposes, except where necessary to support aquatic life;
[4] 
Obtaining water from fire hydrants for construction purposes, fire drills or any other purpose other than fire suppression or other public emergency;
[5] 
Using water to fill or refill public or private swimming pools; and
[6] 
Bulk water sales (haulers).
(c) 
Intensification of maintenance efforts to identify and correct water leaks in the distribution system.
(3) 
Drought emergency. The drought emergency stage applies when extreme water shortage or drought conditions have caused significant adverse impacts to the reliability of water resources and the ability of the Frederick County Sanitation Authority to adequately supply and meet future demands or usage requirements of its clients and the public health and safety are at risk. Drought emergency target is to increase public awareness and reduce water withdrawals by 20% for residential users and 25% for nonresidential users through voluntary and mandatory water conservation. Required actions include the monitoring of drought conditions; notifying the public of the drought emergency via local media, public service announcement, County website, notices with water bills; and requesting voluntary water conservation measures; and implementing mandatory reduction in nonessential water use as follows:
(a) 
Voluntary reductions of overall water use by all customers of the FCSA, as set forth above for the drought watch and drought warning stages, except that irrigation of established and new landscaping is prohibited, and not voluntary.
(b) 
Specifically prohibited activities using water are:
[1] 
Washing down of streets, sidewalks, walkways, driveways, parking lots, service station aprons, tennis courts, other hard-surfaced areas, buildings, and structures, except as required for safety concerns;
[2] 
Noncommercial washing of privately owned automobiles, trucks, trailers, boats, and any other types of mobile equipment, except where required to meet air quality standards;
[3] 
Using water to maintain fountains, reflective ponds and decorative water bodies for aesthetic or scenic purposes, except where necessary to support aquatic life;
[4] 
Obtaining water from fire hydrants for construction purposes, fire drills or any other purpose other than fire suppression or other public emergency;
[5] 
Using water to fill or refill public or private swimming pools;
[6] 
Watering of all shrubbery, trees, lawns, grass, plants, and other established or new landscaping;
[7] 
Watering of vegetable gardens;
[8] 
Bulk water sales (haulers).
(c) 
A moratorium on the issuance of all new water service connections. As part of the public information process, notices will be provided to developers on the moratorium.
(d) 
The implementation of conservation water rates could be approved by the Board of Supervisors for the duration of the drought emergency stage to a maximum increase of 20% above the existing rate. This drought conservation rate is a temporary fee imposed during the current water supply shortage and is not a cost-based rate. The conservation rate will be terminated at such time as the drought emergency status is lifted.
(e) 
Intensification of maintenance efforts to identify and correct water leaks in the distribution system.
B. 
Frederick County shall choose its local data sources, establish its local trigger points for the varying declarations, and evaluate various information sources prior to enabling or rescinding any noted declaration.
C. 
During extreme drought emergency situations, Frederick County shall be permitted to reduce the water system pressure and to further ration the water supply, as needed.
D. 
Drought emergency conditions may also be declared by the jurisdiction in certain circumstances which are listed in this chapter and in the event of equipment failure, contamination or other non-drought-related event that prevents short-term provision of adequate water supplies.
Notice of these public water use restrictions shall be published in the local media for a period of one day per week each week during which the restrictions are in effect and on the County website while the restrictions are in effect.
It shall be a violation of this chapter for any person to use water, or allow or cause the use of water, in violation of the provisions of this chapter after the first publication required by § 75-5 of this chapter.
A. 
Violations of this chapter shall constitute civil violations as outlined herein. The Frederick County Sheriff's Department, the Frederick County Fire Marshal and the Frederick County Sanitation Authority are hereby authorized to enforce this chapter and all rules, regulations and penalties herein related to all drought stages. The Sheriff's Department, Fire Marshal or Sanitation Authority may provide a citation for a civil violation to any individual who has violated any provision of this chapter.
(1) 
Any person who violates any provision of this chapter after publication of notice pursuant to § 75-5 above shall be subject to the following civil penalties:
(a) 
Drought warning stage:
[1] 
For the first violation of a drought warning stage, violators shall be fined $50.
[2] 
For the second violation of a drought warning stage, violators shall be fined $100.
[3] 
For the third violation, violators shall be fined $150 and will immediately be disconnected from the Frederick County Sanitation Authority's water system for the duration of the drought warning stage. Such service shall not be restored until the fine, the reconnection fee, along with any other charges are paid.
(b) 
Drought emergency stage:
[1] 
For the first violation of a drought emergency stage, violators shall be fined $100.
[2] 
For the second violation of a drought emergency stage, violators shall be fined $150 and will be immediately disconnected from the Frederick County Sanitation Authority's water system for the duration of the drought emergency. Such service shall not be restored until the fine, the reconnection fee, along with any other charges are paid.
[3] 
For each violation of water theft during a drought emergency stage from any hydrants, shall result in a fine of $300 and confiscation of all equipment. Said offender or company shall be prohibited from accessing any Frederick County water source.
(c) 
Each violation by a person shall be counted as a separate violation by that person, irrespective of the location at which the violation occurs.
(2) 
The Executive Director of the Sanitation Authority may waive the penalty if he determines that the violation occurred due to no fault of the person.
(3) 
Any person issued a citation for a civil violation may make an appearance in person or in writing by mail to the Treasurer of Frederick County, Virginia, prior to the date fixed for trial in court. Any person so appearing may enter a waiver of trial, admit liability, and pay the civil penalty established for the violation charged. If a person charged with a violation under this chapter does not elect to enter a waiver of trial and admit liability, the violation shall be tried in the General District Court in the same manner and with the same right of appeal as provided for by law. In any trial for a violation under this chapter, the locality shall have the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence the liability of the alleged violator. An admission of liability or finding of liability under this section shall not be deemed an admission at a criminal proceeding.
B. 
The declaration of a drought watch, drought warning, or drought emergency under this chapter shall take effect immediately and be deemed adopted on an emergency basis pursuant to Virginia Code § 15.2-1427F; provided, however, the declaration shall not be enforced for more than 60 days unless readopted with prior notice and a public hearing pursuant to that Virginia Code section.
C. 
During the implementation of this chapter, the temporary repeal of other inconsistent ordinances within the Code of Frederick County may be authorized by the Board of Supervisors. Such temporary repeals shall last the duration of the decision in effect by the Board; provided, however, that such temporary repeals shall also not remain in effect for more than 60 days unless ratified with prior notice and a public hearing pursuant to Virginia Code § 15.2-1427F.
A. 
Upon implementation of a drought emergency stage (above), the County Administrator shall appoint an Appeals Board consisting of three representatives from the jurisdiction administration and Frederick County Sanitation Authority. The County Attorney or designee shall serve as legal counsel to the Appeals Board.
B. 
The Appeals Board shall be empowered to review customer applications for exemptions from the provisions of the mandatory conservation on a case-by-case basis and, if warranted, to make equitable adjustments to such provisions. The Board shall also be empowered to establish regulations governing the granting of temporary exemptions applicable to all or some of the uses of the water supply as set forth. The board shall, in deciding applications, balance economic and other hardships to the applicant resulting from the imposition of water use restrictions or allocations against the person and cumulative impacts to the water supply resulting from the granting of exemptions. Individual applications shall be decided by the Board within two weeks of receipt of an application in proper form and containing all necessary information.
Upon determining that conditions necessitating a declaration of a particular drought stage have alleviated, the County Administrator shall reduce to a lower stage or rescind the declaration under this chapter, as appropriate. In addition, nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the County Administrator from rescinding any orders issued hereunder when the conditions creating the need for such orders have abated.