City of Auburn

auburn stormwater laws & regulations

The City of Auburn is designated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) as an owner/operator of a Phase II municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). The USEPA's Phase II Stormwater Regulations, which were implemented in March 2003, require operators of regulated Phase II MS4s to obtain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and to develop a stormwater management program designed to protect water quality and to prevent harmful pollutants in stormwater runoff from being washed into the MS4. The City received its initial Phase II Stormwater NPDES permit (ALR040003) on May 14, 2003. ADEM revised and reissued this permit on February 1, 2011.  The current permit coverage will expire on January 31, 2016.

The intent of the Phase II regulations is to reduce the adverse impacts to water quality and aquatic habitat by instituting the use of controls on the unregulated sources of stormwater discharges. In order to comply with these regulations the City of Auburn must satisfy six "minimum control measures," including:  

  • Public Education and Outreach
  • Public Participation/Involvement
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
  • Construction Site Runoff Control
  • Post-Construction Stormwater Management
  • Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping

Chapter 7 of the Auburn City Code provides regulations for stormwater drainage and flood control in the City of Auburn, as well as illicit discharges and erosion and sediment control. Technical guidance on stormwater controls and treatment practices is provided the Water Resource Management Design and Construction Manual.

Auburn Municipal Code


 Sec. 7-70. - Introduction.

During the construction process, soil is highly vulnerable to erosion by wind and water. Eroded soil endangers water resources by reducing water quality and causing the siltation of aquatic habitat for fish and other desirable species. Eroded soil also necessitates repair of sewers and ditches and the dredging of lakes. In addition, clearing and grading during construction cause the loss of native vegetation necessary for terrestrial and aquatic habitat.

The purpose of this policy is to safeguard persons, protect property, and prevent damage to the environment in Lee County, Alabama. This policy will also promote the public welfare by guiding, regulating, and controlling the design, construction, use, and maintenance of any applicable activity that disturbs or breaks the topsoil or results in the movement of earth on land in the City of Auburn. Additionally, this policy reinforces the need for those sites less than one acre in size to be classified as "Permit by Rule" construction sites required to implement and maintain best management practices until land disturbing activities have ceased and permanent stabilization has been achieved.

(Ord. No. 2742, § 1, 1-17-12)

Sec. 7-72. - Administration.

The authority shall enforce the provisions of this policy. Whenever "authority" is used in this policy it shall include the authorized agent of the entity. For example, the City of Auburn may designate the water resource management department to act as the authority on behalf of the City of Auburn.

(Ord. No. 2742, § 1, 1-17-12)

Sec. 7-73. - Permits.

(a) Prior to any construction, land disturbing activities, or local approvals, any person disturbing greater than or equal to one acre shall apply for an NPDES permit.

(b) Permit by rule status will be assigned to those non-excluded land disturbing activities less than one acre in size. These sites, although not required to obtain an NPDES permit or submit for approval construction best management practices (CBMP) Plan, are still required to implement and maintain best management practices at the site and are subject to all provisions of this policy.


Sec. 7-101. - Intent.

This article is enacted to preserve, protect and promote the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Auburn, Alabama, through the reduction, control and prevention of the discharge of pollutants to the city municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). It is the expressed intent of this document to provide for and promote compliance by the city with federal and state laws governing the discharge of pollutants from the MS4 and to provide for and promote compliance with an NPDES permit issued to the city for such discharge. The city does not intend for this article to conflict with any existing federal or state law.

(Ord. No. 2192, § I, 1-20-04)

Sec. 7-103. - Discharge prohibitions.

(a) The illicit discharge of pollutants to the MS4 is prohibited.

(b) The discharge of pollutants to the MS4 by discharging storm water associated with industrial activity is prohibited except as authorized by a NPDES permit. Compliance with all terms and conditions of a valid NPDES permit authorizing the discharge of storm water associated with industrial activity, to the extent practicable, shall be deemed compliance with the provisions of this article which relate to such discharge.

(c) The spilling, dumping, or disposal of materials other than storm water to the MS4 is prohibited.

(Ord. No. 2192, § III, 1-20-04)

Sec. 7-105. - Inspection and monitoring.

(a) The city engineer or his authorized representative shall be permitted to enter and inspect facilities subject to regulation under this article as often as may be necessary to determine compliance with this article. If a discharger has security measures in force which require proper identification and clearance before entry into its premises, the discharger shall make the necessary arrangements to allow access.

(b) Facility operators shall allow the city engineer or his authorized representative 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 to discharge storm water, and the performance of any additional duties as defined by state and federal law.

(c) The city engineer or his authorized representative shall have the right to set up on any permitted facility such devices as are necessary in the opinion of the city engineer to conduct monitoring and/or sampling of the facility's storm water discharge.

(d) The city engineer or his authorized representative has the right to require the discharger to install monitoring equipment as necessary. The facility's sampling and monitoring equipment shall be maintained at all times in a safe and proper operating condition by the discharger at its own expense. All devices used to measure storm water flow and quality shall be calibrated to ensure their accuracy.

(e) Any temporary or permanent obstruction to safe and easy access to the facility to be inspected and/or sampled shall be promptly removed by the operator at the written or oral request of the city engineer or his authorized representative and shall not be replaced. The costs of clearing such access shall be borne by the operator.

(f) Unreasonable delays in allowing the city engineer or his authorized representative access to a facility is a violation this article. A person who is the operator of a facility with a NPDES permit to discharge storm water associated with industrial activity commits an offense if the person denies reasonable access to the permitted facility for the purpose of conducting any activity authorized or required by this article.

(g) If the city engineer or his authorized representative has been refused access to any part of the premises from which storm water is discharged, and he/she is able to demonstrate probable cause to believe that there may be a violation of this article, 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 article or any order issued hereunder, or to protect the overall public health, safety, and welfare of the community, then the city engineer or his authorized representative may seek issuance of a search warrant from any court of competent jurisdiction.

(Ord. No. 2192, § V, 1-20-04)

Sec. 7-106. - Best management practices (BMPs).

All industrial facilities and high risk facilities are required to implement, at their own expense, structural and nonstructural BMPs, as appropriate, to prevent the discharge of pollutants to the MS4. Further, the city engineer may require any person responsible for a property or premise, which is, or may be, the source of an illicit discharge, to implement, at said person's expense, additional structural and non-structural BMPs to prevent the discharge of pollutants to the MS4. To the extent practicable, the city engineer shall recognize that storage and handling of significant materials, material handling equipment or activities, intermediate products or industrial machinery in such a manner that they are not exposed to storm water is an effective BMP. Compliance with all terms and conditions of a valid NPDES permit authorizing the discharge of storm water associated with industrial activity, to the extent practicable, shall be deemed in compliance with the provisions of this section.

(Ord. No. 2192, § VI, 1-20-04)

Sec. 7-107. - Good housekeeping.

Commercial areas and industrial facilities shall employ good housekeeping practices to prevent debris such as paper, bottles, cans, plastic, etc. from entering the MS4 from areas such as parking lots, loading zones, sidewalks, trash cans and dumpster sites. It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge chemicals, waste products or any pollutant to the parking lot or grounds of a commercial area or an industrial facility.

(Ord. No. 2192, § VII, 1-20-04)

Sec. 7-108. - BMP plan.

Whenever storm water will be discharged into the MS4 from a site of industrial activity or a high risk facility, the person responsible for such site, except as such site, may be expressly excepted from coverage of this article, shall develop and implement a BMP plan sufficient enough to control discharges from his facility. If requested by the city engineer, such BMP plan must be provided for review within ten (10) days of the request.

(Ord. No. 2192, § VIII, 1-20-04)

City of Auburn Stormwater Management Plan


6.1 Rationale Statement

The City implemented a program to control and improve post‐construction stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopment during the first permit cycle. The City will continue to expand upon and improve this program during the next permit cycle. Potential benefits of effectively controlling post‐construction stormwater runoff include: water quality improvements, minimization of stream erosion and effective control of potential flooding impacts.

The primary target audiences within the City for our post‐construction stormwater management program and the rationale for selecting these audiences are listed below:

Developers, Contractors and Homebuilders

  • Responsible for development and construction activities that can potentially impact post‐construction stormwater management. The primary pollutants contributed by this target audience, as it relates to post‐construction stormwater management, are sediments and nutrients. In addition, development and construction activities can have potential flooding impacts.


  • Responsible for designing post‐construction stormwater management plans to effectively manage post‐construction stormwater from new developments and redevelopments.

The City’s post‐construction stormwater management program is primarily designed to address stormwater pollution from nutrients, sediments, pathogens and other various pollutants.

The strategy for the target audiences described above will vary depending on the type of audience and the potential risk and impact of pollutant contribution from post‐construction stormwater runoff.

Overall management and implementation of the City’s post‐construction stormwater management program will be the responsibility of the City’s Water Resource Management Department as detailed in Section 1.4.

Overall success of our post‐construction stormwater management program will primarily be gauged through water quality monitoring as well as visual observations of stream erosion and flooding impacts.

Specific components and measureable goals within our post‐construction stormwater management program will consist of the following best management practices (BMPs):


6.3.1 Detention Pond Inspections

Existing detention ponds need periodic inspections to evaluate the maintenance and operation of these vital components of the City’s drainage system and can often identify potential problems. The Public Works Department and the Water Resource Management Department conduct annual inspections of all detention ponds (public and private) listed in the City’s stormwater inventory. Upon inspection, the owner of the pond is notified of any corrective actions needed. Enforcement measures are taken if the owner does not address the items listed in the report.

The City will continue to inspect detention ponds within the City on an annual basis during the next permit cycle. These inspections primarily affect the owner of the facilities.

6.3.2 Design Guidelines for Structural BMPs

The City has in place guidelines for the design, construction, installation and maintenance of stormwater BMPs. These guidelines can be found in the Public Works and Water Resource Management Design and Construction Manuals detailed in Section 6.2.1. These guidelines primarily affect a target audience of engineers, developers and contractors.

6.4 Ordinances/Regulations for Post‐Construction Stormwater Management

The City has a variety of ordinances and regulations in place for managing post construction stormwater runoff. A brief description of those ordinances/regulations is below:

  • Chapter 7 of the Auburn City Code – Provides regulations for stormwater drainage and flood control in the City of Auburn, as well as illicit `1 discharges and erosion and sediment control; Currently being revised;
  • Design and Construction Manuals – Detailed in Section 6.2.1;
  • Zoning Ordinance – Establishes development criteria and guidelines for developments within the City.

6.5 Long‐Term Maintenance of BMPs

Long‐term maintenance of structural BMPs is a critical component to ensure that these BMPs continue to function as originally designed. Maintenance guidelines for detention ponds can be found in Chapter 7 of the Auburn City Code, while maintenance guidelines for other structural water quality BMPs can be found in the Water Resource Management Design and Construction Manual. The Public Works Design and Construction Manual also provides requirements for a maintenance agreement that ensures the long term maintenance of these structures. During this next permit cycle, the City will continue working to issue and update standard agreements or other mechanisms for developers, homeowner associations, and other groups to ensure the long‐term maintenance of these structural BMPs.

Water Resource Management Design and Construction Manual

SECTION 4 Stormwater Quality, Erosion, and Sediment Control

The City has been identified by ADEM as an NPDES Stormwater Phase II community. One requirement of the Phase II program is to develop and implement a stormwater management program for construction and post-construction conditions. This section of the Manual is designed to provide resources to local agencies, engineers, developers, or others involved in erosion control and stormwater management in the City for helping to meet the NPDES Phase II requirements.

4.4 Post-development Stormwater for Water Quality Management Structural Stormwater Controls–Categories and Applicability

A non-disturbed watershed generally has stormwater storage widely distributed in small-volume components throughout the watershed (shallow depressions, porous soils, etc.). This natural storage usually is reduced when urbanization occurs. If the reduction is significant, onsite stormwater storage measures are required to offset the increase in stormwater peak discharge and the reduction in water quality. These measures are known as stormwater BMPs, a variety of which have been developed to address specific stormwater quality or quantity concerns. Because the City has been designated by ADEM as a Phase II Small MS4 community under the NPDES, the City is required to show that stormwater runoff into local streams does not degrade the water quality of the stream. This section identifies various types of stormwater BMPs that are deemed to be appropriate for use in the Auburn area and to achieve compliance with the NPDES requirements. In addition to the types of stormwater hydrologic controls, this section discusses which BMP is most suitable to achieve specific treatment objectives and the general design considerations for each BMP.

Structural stormwater BMPs are engineered facilities intended to treat stormwater runoff and/or mitigate the effects of increased stormwater runoff peak rate, volume, and velocity caused by urbanization.

The following structural BMPs have specific operation and maintenance requirements:


City of Auburn Stormwater Documents


Auburn University Stormwater Management Plan


Alabama Handbook for Erosion Control, Sediment Control and Stormwater Management on Construction Sites and Urban Areas (Rev. No. 3 September 2014)

Runoff Conveyance...p. 93

  • Check Dam (CD)
  • Grass Swale (GS)
  • Riprap-lined Swale (RS)
  • Diversions (DV)
  • Lined Swale (LS)
  • Subsurface Drain (SD)
  • Drop Structure (DS)
  • Outlet Protection (OP)
  • Temporary Slope Drain (TSD)


Sediment Control...p. 129

  • Block and Gravel Inlet Protection (BIP)
  • Filter Strip (FS)
  • Brush/Fabric Barrier (BFB)
  • Floating Turbidity Barrier (FB)
  • Fabric Drop Inlet Protection (FIP)


Stormwater Management...p. 179

  • Bioretention Area (BA)
  • Porous Pavement (PP)
  • Stormwater Detention Basin (SDB)


Stream Protection...p. 197

  • Buffer Zone (BZ)
  • Stream Diversion Channel (SDC)
  • Channel Stabilization (CS)
  • Streambank Protection (SP)