City of Bethlehem

The City of Bethlehem has enacted a Stormwater Ordinance in to promote the public health, safety and welfare within the City’s Watersheds by minimizing the damages and maximizing the benefits associated with stormwater. The City of Bethlehem 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. The City of Bethlehem will only provide construction permits to projects that establish a plan to manage stormwater runoff occurring during the construction process. The City of Bethlehem, 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. Property owners are responsible for the maintenance of any stormwater facilities or practices located on the property. The City of Bethlehem has the authority to inspect stormwater facilities and practices in order to ascertain that they properly maintained and functioning.



C. The existing locations of concentrated drainage discharge onto adjacent property shall not be altered without written approval of the affected property owner(s) and the City Engineer.

D. Areas of existing diffused drainage discharge onto adjacent property shall be managed such that, at minimum, the peak diffused flow does not increase in the general direction of discharge, except as otherwise provided in this Ordinance. If diffused flow is proposed to be concentrated and discharged onto adjacent property, the developer must document that there are adequate downstream conveyance facilities to safely transport the concentrated discharge to the point of pre-development flow concentration, to the stream reach or otherwise prove that no harm will result from the concentrated discharge. Areas of existing diffused drainage discharge shall be subject to any applicable release rate criteria in the general direction of existing discharge whether they are proposed to be concentrated or maintained as diffused drainage areas.


A. DEP or its designees (e.g. County Conservation District) normally ensure compliance with any permits issued, including those for stormwater management. In addition to DEP compliance programs, the City Engineer or his designee may inspect all phases of the construction, operations, maintenance and any other implementation of stormwater BMPs. The City Engineer or his designee may also check that as-built records are being maintained onsite.


A. The BMP Operations and Maintenance Plan for the project site shall establish responsibilities for the continuing operation and maintenance of all permanent stormwater BMPs, as follows:

  1. If a Plan includes structures or lots which are to be separately owned and in  which streets, sewers and other public improvements are to be dedicated to the City, stormwater BMPs may also be dedicated to and maintained by the City;
  2. If a Plan includes operations and maintenance by a single ownership or if sewers and other public improvements are to be privately owned and maintained, then the operation and maintenance of stormwater BMPs shall be the responsibility of the owner or private management entity.

B. The City shall make the final determination on the continuing operations and maintenance responsibilities. The City reserves the right to accept or reject the operations and maintenance responsibility for any or all of the stormwater BMPs.


 It shall be unlawful to alter or remove any permanent stormwater BMP required by an approved BMP Operations and Maintenance Plan or to allow the property to remain in a condition which does not conform to an approved BMP Operations and Maintenance Plan unless an exception is granted in writing by the City.


A. The property owner shall sign an operations and maintenance agreement with the City covering all stormwater BMPs that are to be privately owned. The agreement shall include the terms of the format agreement referenced in Appendix E of this Ordinance.

B. Other items may be included in the agreement where determined by the City to be reasonable or necessary to guarantee the satisfactory operation and maintenance of all permanent stormwater BMPs. The agreement shall be subject to the review and approval of the City.


 Stormwater management easements shall be provided by the property owner if necessary for access for inspections and maintenance or for preservation of stormwater conveyance, infiltration, detention areas and other BMPs by persons other than the property owner.


A. No person in the City shall allow or cause to allow stormwater discharges into the City’s separate storm sewer system which are not composed entirely of stormwater except as provided in subsection B below or as allowed under a State or Federal permit.

B. Discharges that may be allowed based on the City finding that the discharge(s) do not significantly contribute pollution to surface waters of the Commonwealth are listed below.

  1. Discharges from firefighting activities
  2. Potable water sources including dechlorinated water line and fire hydrant flushings
  3. Irrigation drainage
  4. Routine external building washdown which does not use detergents or other compounds
  5. Air conditioning condensate
  6. Water from individual residential car washing
  7. Springs
  8. Water from crawl space pumps
  9. Uncontaminated water from foundation or from footing drains
  10. Flows from riparian habitats and wetlands
  11. Lawn watering
  12. Pavement washwaters where spills or leaks of toxic or hazardous materials have not occurred (unless all spill material has been removed) and where detergents are not used
  13. Dechlorinated swimming pool discharges
  14. Uncontaminated groundwater

C. In the event that the City determines that any of the discharges identified in the prior Section significantly contribute to pollution of waters of the Commonwealth or is so notified by DEP, the City will notify the responsible person to cease the discharge.

D. Upon notice provided by the City under the prior section, the discharger will have a reasonable time, as determined by the City, to cease the discharge consistent with the degree of pollution caused by the discharge.

E. Nothing in this Section shall affect a discharger’s responsibilities under state law.


A. The following connections are prohibited, except as provided in Section Prohibited Discharges B above:

  1. Any drain or conveyance, whether on the surface or subsurface, which allows any non-stormwater discharge including sewage, process wastewater and wash water to enter the separate storm sewer system and any connections to the storm drain system from indoor drains and sinks.
  2. Any drain or conveyance connected from a commercial or industrial land use to the separate storm sewer system which has not been documented in plans, maps or equivalent records and approved by the City.


A. Roof drains shall not be connected to streets, sanitary or storm sewers or roadside ditches, except when it is more advantageous to connect directly to streets or storm sewers, connections of roof drains to streets or roadside ditches may be permitted by the City. Roof drains shall discharge to infiltration areas or vegetative BMPs to the maximum extent practicable.


A. No person shall modify, remove, fill, landscape or alter any existing stormwater BMP without the written approval of the City unless it is part of an approved maintenance program.

B. No person shall place any structure, fill, landscaping or vegetation into a stormwater BMP or within a drainage easement, which would limit or alter the functioning of the BMP, without the written approval of the City.


A. Upon presentation of proper credentials, duly authorized representatives of the City may enter at reasonable times upon any property within the City to inspect the implementation, condition or operation and maintenance of the stormwater BMPs or to investigate or ascertain the condition of the subject property in regard to any aspect regulated by this Ordinance.

B. Unreasonable delays in allowing the City access to a BMP shall be considered a violation of this Section.

C. In the event that the land owner refuses admission to the property, duly authorized representatives of the municipality may seek an administrative search warrant issued by a district justice to gain access to the property.


A. Whenever the City finds that a person has violated a prohibition or failed to meet a requirement of this Ordinance, the City may order compliance by written notice to the responsible person. Such notice may require without limitation:

  1. The performance of monitoring, analyses and reporting
  2. The elimination of prohibited connections or discharges
  3. Cessation of any violating discharges, practices or operations
  4. The abatement or remediation of stormwater pollution or contamination hazards and the restoration of any affected property
  5. Payment of a fine to cover administrative and remediation costs
  6. The implementation of stormwater BMPs
  7. Operation and maintenance of stormwater BMPs
  8. The name of the owner of record and any other person against whom the City intends to take action
  9. The location of the property in violation

B. Such notification shall set forth the nature of the violation(s) and establish a time limit for correction of the violation(s). Said notice may further advise that should the violator fail to take the required action within the established deadline, the work will be done by the City or designee and the expense thereof, together with all related lien and enforcement fees, charges and expenses, shall be charged to the violator.

C. Failure to comply within the time specified shall also subject such person to the penalty provisions of this Ordinance. All such penalties shall be deemed cumulative and shall not prevent the City from pursuing any and all other remedies available in law or equity.


A. The violation of any provision of this Ordinance is hereby deemed a Public Nuisance.

B. Each day that an offense continues shall constitute a separate violation.


A. Any person violating the provisions of this Ordinance shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be subject to the following penalties:

  1. First violation – A fine of $200.00, or thirty days imprisonment, or both;
  2. Second violation – A fine of $500.00, or sixty days imprisonment, or both;
  3. Third and each subsequent violation – A fine of $1,000.00, or ninety days imprisonment, or both.

Each day that the violation continues shall be a separate offense.

B. This Article and the foregoing penalties shall not be construed to limit or deny the right of the City or any person to such equitable or other remedies as may otherwise be available with or without process of law, including payment of damages to the City by any person causing damage or injury to the City’s storm sewer system.

C. The court of common pleas, upon petition, may grant an order of stay upon cause shown, tolling the per diem judgment pending a final adjudication of the violation and judgment.

D. Nothing contained in this Section shall be construed or interpreted to grant to any person or entity other than the municipality the right to commence any action for enforcement pursuant to this Section.

E. District justices shall have initial jurisdiction in proceedings brought under this Section.

F. In addition, the municipality, through its solicitor, may institute injunctive, mandamus or any other appropriate action or proceeding at law or in equity for the enforcement of this Ordinance. Any court of competent jurisdiction shall have the right to issue restraining orders, temporary or permanent injunctions, mandamus or other appropriate forms of remedy or relief.



Bethlehem Stormwater Management Regulations Ordinance and Appendices

Stormwater BMP Operations and Maintenance Agreement