Introduced by Representatives Kupersmith of S. Burlington, Adams of Hartland, Audette of S. Burlington, Deen of Westminster, Head of S. Burlington, Hosford of Waitsfield, Pugh of S. Burlington and Randall of Troy
Subject: Conservation; stormwater; liability; offsets
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to require the state to pay the cost incurred by individual household owners for the construction, upgrade, or repair of a stormwater system required by the implementation of a TMDL, water quality remediation plan, or watershed improvement permit. The bill would also require the secretary of natural resources to review the compliance history of an applicant for a stormwater discharge permit, and the secretary would be authorized to deny a permit after review of the applicant’s compliance history. The bill proposes to limit the conversion of agricultural soils for use as an offset project in stormwater‑impaired waters. In addition, the bill would require the agency of natural resources to identify and list on its website all subdivisions in the state that lack a valid permit to discharge stormwater to state surface waters.
AN ACT RELATING TO STORMWATER MANAGEMENT
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 10 V.S.A. § 1264(a)(18) is added to read:
(18) “Stormwater system” means the storm sewers; outfall sewers; surface drains; natural and manmade wetlands; channels; ditches; wet and dry bottom basins; rain gardens; and other control equipment necessary and appurtenant to the collection, transportation, conveyance, pumping, treatment, disposal, and discharge of regulated stormwater runoff.
Sec. 2. 10 V.S.A. § 1264(e) is amended to read:
(e)(1) Except as otherwise may be provided in subsection (f) of this section, the secretary shall, for new stormwater discharges, require a permit for discharge of, regulated stormwater runoff consistent with, at a minimum, the 2002 stormwater management manual. The secretary may issue, condition, modify, revoke or deny discharge permits for regulated 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 specify the use of best management practices to control regulated stormwater runoff. The permit shall require as a condition of approval, proper operation and maintenance of any stormwater management facility and submittal by the permittee of an annual 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.
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(3) Prior to issuing a permit under this subsection, the secretary shall review the permit applicant’s history of compliance with the requirements of this chapter. The secretary may, at his or her discretion and as necessary to assure achievement of the goals of the program and compliance with state law and the federal Clean Water Act, deny an application for the discharge of regulated stormwater under this subsection if review of the applicant’s compliance history indicates that the applicant is discharging regulated stormwater in violation of this chapter or is the holder of an expired permit for an existing discharge of regulated stormwater. In reviewing the applicant’s compliance history, the secretary shall take into account the compliance history of all sources in the watershed in which the discharge is proposed and the number of permits held by the applicant.
Sec. 3. 10 V.S.A. § 1264(i) is added to read:
(i) The state shall be liable for paying the cost imposed on an individual homeowner or a homeowner’s association for the construction, upgrade, or repair of a stormwater system required by the implementation of a TMDL, water quality remediation plan, or watershed improvement permit under subdivision (f)(3) of this section when:
(1) The stormwater discharge from the stormwater system at issue was initiated prior to 1978; or
(2) The stormwater discharge from the stormwater system at issue was initiated after 1978, and the secretary did not previously issue or require a stormwater discharge permit or temporary pollution permit for the discharge.
Sec. 4. 10 V.S.A. § 1264a(e)(1) is amended to read:
(e)(1) The secretary of natural resources may issue a permit for an offset project under this section. Application shall be made on a form prescribed by the secretary of natural resources. An applicant shall pay an application fee in accordance with section 2282 of Title 3. The secretary may issue such permits for the following activities or projects:
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(C) Conversion of land use to reduce sediment load or hydrologic impact, especially in riparian areas, provided that conversion of primary and secondary agricultural soils as those terms are defined in section 6001 of this title shall be limited to establishing a vegetated buffer zone that meets the requirements of the department of environmental conservation’s technical guidance for the evaluation of nonimpervious surface treatment offset projects within impaired watersheds;
Sec. 5. AGENCY OF NATURAL RESOURCES IDENTIFICATION OF
RESIDENTIAL SUBDIVISIONS LACKING A PERMIT TO
DISCHARGE STORMWATER TO STATE WATERS
(a) The secretary of natural resources shall identify and create a list of every residential subdivision in the state that lacks a valid permit to discharge stormwater to state waters. By January 1, 2007, the secretary of natural resources shall publish the list on the agency’s website. The list shall include the name of each subdivision lacking a valid permit to discharge stormwater; the municipality in which each subdivision is located; and the name of each street within each subdivision.
(b) The agency of natural resources’ website to which the list required by subsection (a) is published shall include the following:
(1) A statement that the listed subdivisions are required to obtain a permit for the discharge of stormwater under section 1263 of Title 10 and the rules of the agency of natural resources under section 1264 of Title 10;
(2) A statement that failure to obtain a stormwater discharge permit may result in encumbrance on record title to real estate and affect the marketability of title of houses or condominiums within each listed subdivision; and
(3) An explanation of the procedure for obtaining a stormwater discharge permit, including the ability to obtain the permit as an individual, a group of homeowners, or an owners’ association.
Sec. 6. EFFECTIVE DATE
This act shall take effect upon passage.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street