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ACT NO. 114



This act addresses a situation in which municipal officials have requested authority from the secretary of natural resources to remove gravel from a watercourse, in order to prevent a threat to life or property. If the local legislative body and planning commission determine in writing, by majority of each, that gravel in the watercourse is threatening life or property, they may request expedited review of the completed permit application, and if the secretary fails to approve or deny the application within

45 days, the permit shall be deemed granted. Gravel removed must be used for public purposes, and cannot be sold, traded, or bartered.

The act extends until 2006 the statutory deadline for the Secretary of Natural Resources to revise all 17 of the state’s basin plans, and requires an annual report to legislative committees on progress made, and difficulties encountered in revising basin plans.

The act substantially revises the law on stormwater runoff, expressing the intent to reduce the adverse effects of stormwater runoff by a process that: assures broad public participation; focuses on pollution prevention; tailors strategies to the region and locale; and builds and funds broad-based programs that are consistent with the federal Clean Water Act and the water quality standards. Stormwater is defined as precipitation that does not infiltrate into the soil, including material dissolved or suspended in it, but does not include discharges from undisturbed natural terrain.

The act requires the secretary, by February 1, 2001, to consult with specified interested persons and entities, prepare an enhanced stormwater management program, and report on the program to specified legislative committees. The act outlines minimum elements that must be contained in the program, including the incorporation of stormwater management in the basin planning process, the development of a design manual and a model local stormwater management ordinance, the control of runoff from construction sites and other land disturbing activities, the provision of public information, and inspection and maintenance. In the absence of legislation to the contrary, the secretary is required to 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 that contains the regulatory elements of the program. After the program takes effect, the secretary shall require permits for stormwater runoff. The permit may require a semiannual inspection report on the operation, maintenance and condition of the management system, as well as other requirements deemed necessary by the secretary to maintain compliance with the water quality standards. However, permits shall not be required for stormwater runoff from farms subject to accepted agricultural practices, nor for silvicultural activities subject to accepted management practices. The act addresses situations in which the water quality standards are not met, and requires compliance schedules of no longer than five years, and it authorizes municipalities to adopt zoning and subdivision regulations to implement stormwater management and control. The secretary is required to conduct a study of stormwater management responsibilities suitable for implementation by municipalities, and present recommendations to the General Assembly.

Effective Date: May 19, 2000