Augusta-Richmond County has enacted a Stormwater Management Ordinance in order to protect, maintain, and enhance the public health, safety, and general welfare and to comply with State Department of Natural Resources and Federal Environmental protection Agency storm water regulations developed pursuant to the Federal Clean Water Act. Augusta-Richmond County is the permitting authority for all land disturbing activities and requires the land owner to maintain all on-site stormwater control facilities and all open space areas (e.g. parks or “green” areas) required by the approved stormwater control plan. Augusta-Richmond County will only provide construction permits to projects that establish a plan to manage stormwater runoff occurring during the construction process. Augusta-Richmond County, under the NPDES program, also has the authority to inspect properties for noncompliance and can issue a notice of violation (NOV) for any deficiency or infraction onsite.
Stormwater Management Ordinance
§ 5-1-8 PROHIBITION.
(a) It is unlawful for any person to throw, drain, run, or otherwise discharge to any component of the municipal separate storm water system or to cause, permit or suffer to be thrown, drained, run, or allow to seep or otherwise discharge into such system all matter of any nature excepting only such storm or surface water as herein authorized.
(b) The director may require controls for or exempt from the prohibition provision above the following, provided he/she determines they are not a significant source of pollution:
- Unpolluted industrial cooling water, but only under the authorization and direction of the director and appropriate NPDES permit. (Per State requirements, the discharge should not raise the temperature of the receiving stream more than five (5) degrees after the discharge has thoroughly mixed with receiving waters. In secondary trout streams, there shall be no elevation in temperature exceeding two (2) degrees above the natural stream temperature).
- Water line flushing performed by a government agency, diverted stream flows, rising ground waters, and unpolluted ground water infiltration.
- Unpolluted pumped ground water.
- Discharges from potable water sources, foundation drains, air conditioning condensation, irrigation water springs, water from crawl space pumps, footing drains, lawn watering, individual residential car washing, flows from riparian habitats and wetlands, and street wash water.
- Discharges or flows from fire-fighting.
- Other unpolluted water.
(c) In the event of an accidental discharge or an unavoidable loss to the municipal storm sewer system of any material or substance other than storm water runoff, the person concerned shall inform the department of public works within twenty-four (24) hours of the nature, quantity and time of occurrence of the discharge. The person concerned shall take immediate steps to contain the waste, treat the waste or other actions to minimize effects of the discharge on the municipal system and receiving streams. The person shall also take immediate steps to ensure no recurrence of the discharge.
§ 5-1-9 ILLICIT CONNECTIONS
(a) It is unlawful for any person, to connect any pipe, open channel, or any other conveyance system that discharges anything except storm water or unpolluted water which is approved by the director, based on the exemptions listed in § 5-1-8(b), to Augusta-Richmond County’s storm water system.
(b) Improper connections in violation of the Code must be disconnected and redirected, if necessary, to the Augusta, Georgia sanitary sewer system upon approval by the director of the water and sewer department.
§ 5-1-10 MAINTENANCE AND INSPECTION.
(a) Any storm water management facility of BMP which services a single lot or commercial and industrial development shall be privately owned and maintained. The owner shall maintain a perpetual, nonexclusive easement which allows for access for maintenance.
(b) All other storm water management control facilities and BMPs shall be publicly owned and/or maintained only if accepted for maintenance by Augusta, Georgia.
(c) The director may require dedication of privately owned storm water facilities which discharge to the storm water system to Augusta, Georgia.
(d) The department of engineering director shall determine inspection schedules necessary to enforce the provisions of this chapter.
(e) The director or designee, bearing proper credentials and identification shall be permitted to enter, without hindrance, all properties for regular inspections, periodic investigations, observation, measurement, enforcement, sampling & testing, in accordance with provisions of this chapter. The director or designee shall duly notify the owner of said property or the representative on site, except in the case of an emergency.
(f) The director or designated employee of the department of engineering, bearing proper credentials and identification, shall be permitted to enter, without hindrance, all properties for which Augusta, Georgia holds a negotiated easement for repairs, maintenance and other purposes related to any portion of the storm water management facilities lying within said easement. The director or designee shall duly notify the owner of said property or the representative on site, except in the case of an emergency.
(g) Measurements, tests and analyses performed by the department of engineering or required of any discharger to the municipal system shall be in accordance with 40 CFR Part 136, unless another method is approved by the director.
(h) If, after inspection, the condition of a facility presents any immediate danger to the public health, safety or general welfare because of unsafe conditions or improper maintenance, Augusta, Georgia shall have the right, but not the duty, to take action as may be necessary to protect the public and make the facility safe.
(i) Inspection reports shall be maintained in a permanent file located at the department of public works office for a period of three (3) years. All such records shall be open to the public.
§ 5-1-14 PROPERTY OWNER LIABILITY; SUPPLEMENTAL CHARGES.
Any person in violation of any portion of this chapter shall pay for all costs of Augusta-Richmond County associated with the violation, including (but not limited to) containment, cleanup, injury, death, legal, or other costs.
§ 5-1-15 ENFORCEMENT; PENALTIES.
(a) This chapter shall be enforced by the office of the director of engineering. Citations for violation may be issued by inspectors from the department of public works. Citation shall specify the nature of violation and the potential penalty involved.
(b) Any person, cited for violating this chapter shall be tried as a misdemeanor and shall upon conviction, shall be subject to the penalties provided in § 1-6-1.
(c) In addition, Augusta, Georgia may institute appropriate action or proceedings at law or in equity for the enforcement of this chapter or to correct violations of this chapter. Any court of competent jurisdiction may have the right to issue restraining orders, temporary or permanent injunctions, and other appropriate forms of remedy or relief. Each day of noncompliance is considered a separate offense. Nothing herein contained shall prevent Augusta, Georgia from taking such other lawful action as is necessary to prevent or remedy any violation, including application for injunctive relief.