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NO. 114. AN ACT RELATING TO PREVENTING WATERCOURSES FROM FLOODING.

(H.316)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 10 V.S.A. § 1023(c) is added to read:

(c) If the local legislative body and planning commission determine in writing by majority vote of each that gravel in a watercourse is threatening life or property, due to increased potential for flooding, and that the removal of gravel is necessary to prevent the threat to life or property, and if a complete permit application has been submitted to the secretary, requesting authority to remove gravel in the minimum amount necessary to remove threats to life or property, the local legislative body and the planning commission may request an expedited review of the complete permit application by notifying the secretary and providing copies of their respective decisions. If the secretary fails to approve or deny the application within 45 calendar days of receipt of notice of the decisions, the application shall be deemed approved and a permit shall be deemed to have been granted. Gravel removed shall be used only for public purposes, and cannot be sold, traded, or bartered. The fact that an application for a permit has been filed under this subsection shall not limit the ability to take emergency measures under subsection 1021(b) of this title. For the purposes of section 1024 of this title, if a permit has been deemed to have been granted under this subsection, that permit shall constitute a decision of the secretary.

Sec. 2. 10 V.S.A. § 1253(d) is amended to read:

(d) The board shall determine what degree of water quality and classification should be obtained and maintained for those waters not classified by it before 1981 following the procedures in sections 1254 and 1258 of this title. Those waters shall be classified in the public interest. The secretary shall revise all 17 basin plans by January 1, *[2000]* 2006, and update them every five years thereafter. *[At least one basin plan shall be completed per year beginning in 1992.]* On or before January 1 of each year, the secretary shall report to the house committees on agriculture and natural resources and energy and to the senate committees on agriculture and natural resources and energy regarding the progress made and difficulties encountered in revising basin plans. By January 1, 1993, the secretary shall prepare an overall management plan to ensure that the water quality standards are met in all state waters.

Sec. 3. 10 V.S.A. § 1264 is amended to read:

§ 1264. STORMWATER MANAGEMENT

(a) *[The runoff of stormwater that is collected and discharged to the waters of the state and which may be deleterious to the surrounding waters shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter.]* The general assembly finds that the management of stormwater runoff is necessary to reduce stream channel instability, pollution, siltation, sedimentation and local flooding, all of which have adverse impacts on the water and land resources of the state. The general assembly intends, by enactment of this section, to reduce the adverse effects of stormwater runoff. The general assembly determines that this intent may best be attained by a process that: assures 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; assures an adequate funding source; 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. *[However, the]* The term "stormwater runoff," as used in this section, *[is limited to collected discharges]* *[from large scale developments to sensitive water quality areas,]* means precipitation 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*[, and does not include ditching, tiling or the creation of grass waterways within agricultural lands]*.

(b) The secretary shall prepare a plan for the management of collected stormwater runoff found by the department to be deleterious to receiving waters. The plan shall recognize that the runoff of stormwater 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 and natural degradation of the receiving water quality at the time of discharge. The plan shall be cost effective and designed to minimize any adverse impact of stormwater runoff to waters of the state. By no later than February 1, 2001, the secretary shall prepare an enhanced stormwater management program and report on the content of that program to the house committees on fish, wildlife and water resources and on natural resources and energy and to the senate committee on natural resources and energy. In developing the program, the secretary shall consult with the water resources board, affected municipalities, regional entities, other state and federal agencies, and members of the public. The secretary shall be responsible for implementation of the program. The secretary’s stormwater management program shall include, at a minimum, provisions that:

(1) Indicate that the primary goals of the state program will be to assure compliance with the Vermont water quality standards and to maintain after development, as nearly as possible, the predevelopment runoff characteristics.

(2) Allow for differences in hydrologic characteristics in different parts of the state.

(3) Incorporate stormwater management into the basin planning process conducted under section 1253 of this title.

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

(5) Address stormwater management in new development and redevelopment.

(6) Control stormwater runoff from construction sites and other land disturbing activities.

(7) Indicate that water quality mitigation practices may be required for any redevelopment of previously developed sites, even when pre-redevelopment runoff characteristics are proposed to be maintained.

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

(9) Promote detection and elimination of improper or illegal connections and discharges.

(10) Promote implementation of pollution prevention during the conduct of municipal operations.

(11) Provide for a design manual that includes technical guidance for the management of stormwater runoff.

(12) Encourage municipal governments to utilize existing regulatory and planning authority to implement improved stormwater management by providing technical assistance, training, research and coordination with respect to stormwater management technology, and by preparing and distributing a model local stormwater management ordinance.

(13) Promote public education and participation among citizens and municipalities about cost-effective and innovative measures to reduce stormwater discharges to the waters of the state.

(c) The secretary shall submit the *[plan]* program report to the house committees on agriculture, transportation and natural resources and energy and to the senate committees on agriculture and *[energy and]* natural resources and energy.

(d) *[The board shall consider the plan, and may amend it. It shall adopt the plan as a rule under the Administrative Procedure Act.]* In the absence of legislation to the contrary, the secretary shall file with the secretary of state, no sooner than the end of the 2001 legislative session and no later than July 1, 2001, a proposed rule which contains the regulatory elements of the program.

Notwithstanding 3 V.S.A. § 840(a), the secretary shall hold at least three public hearings in different areas of the state regarding the proposed rule.

(e) After the *[plan]* program takes effect as a rule, the secretary shall *[issue]* require a *[discharge]* permit for discharge of collected stormwater runoff *[which]* *[achieves the goals of the plan]* consistent with, at a minimum, the December 15, 1997, agency of natural resources stormwater management procedures. The secretary may issue, condition, modify, revoke or deny discharge permits for collected stormwater runoff, as necessary to assure achievement of the goals of the program and compliance with state law and the federal Clean Water Act. The permit shall require as a condition of approval, proper operation and maintenance of any stormwater management facility and submittal by the permittee of a semiannual inspection report on the operation, maintenance and condition of the stormwater management system. The permit shall contain additional conditions, requirements and restrictions as the secretary deems necessary to achieve and maintain compliance with the water quality standards, including but not limited to requirements concerning recording, reporting and monitoring the effects on receiving waters due to operation and maintenance of stormwater management facilities. The secretary may issue general permits for classes of stormwater runoff permittees and may specify the period of time for which the permit is valid other than that specified in section 1263(d)(4) of this title when such is consistent with the *[goals]* provisions of this section. General permits shall be adopted and administered in accordance with the provisions of subsection 1263(b) of this title. No permit is required under this section for stormwater runoff from *[fields used for normal agricultural activities]* farms subject to accepted agricultural practices adopted by the commissioner of agriculture, food and markets or for stormwater runoff from silvicultural activities subject to accepted management practices adopted by the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation.

(f) Where the secretary determines the water quality standards are not met in receiving waters due, in whole or in part, to collected stormwater runoff, the secretary may issue for existing discharges a general permit specific to the watershed or a permit for an individual project, but not a statewide general permit for such receiving waters. Any permit issued pursuant to this subsection shall include a compliance schedule of no longer than five years reasonably designed to assure attainment of the water quality standards in the receiving waters. This compliance schedule shall not require a permittee to take actions regarding discharge of collected stormwater runoff that are not subject to the control of the permittee.

Sec. 4. 24 V.S.A. § 4407(20) is added to read:

(20) Stormwater management and control. Any municipality may adopt zoning and subdivision regulations as necessary to implement stormwater management and control consistent with the program developed by the secretary of natural resources pursuant to 10 V.S.A. § 1264.

Sec. 5. TRANSITION

(a) Until the secretary has adopted rules implementing the enhanced program for management of stormwater runoff, the secretary’s existing program shall remain in effect, and may be amended by the secretary, under the authority of this section prior to the amendments included in this act.

(b) The secretary shall conduct a study of stormwater management responsibilities suitable for implementation by municipalities and shall present to the legislature recommendations for promoting increased and cost effective municipal involvement in stormwater management. The study shall be conducted in cooperation with representatives of: municipal governments, the agency of transportation, conservation groups, fishing groups, the construction industry, agricultural interests, and the earth moving and shaping industry.

Sec. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE

This act shall take effect upon passage.

Approved: May 19, 2000