City of Charleston


The Clean Water Act requires the City of Charleston to operate a stormwater management program for all surface runoff that enters the municipal separate storm sewer system ("MS4"). Charleston’s Department of Public Service has developed a Stormwater Management Program that serves as the basis for the City’s efforts to control stormwater. Compliance is required with both the City’s Stormwater Management Program and the City’s Stormwater Ordinance. The City of Charleston 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 Charleston will only provide construction permits to projects that establish a plan to manage stormwater runoff occurring during the construction process. Post-construction stormwater regulations and any applicable stormwater utility fees will also be enforced and collected by the city. The City of Charleston, 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.

Sec. 27-31. Stormwater Management Protection

Maintenance of the stormwater management system is critical for the achievement of its purpose of controlling stormwater runoff quantity and quality and the short-term and long-term public health safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the City. The Department of Public Service shall develop procedures to provide reasonable assurances that maintenance activities are performed for both the City and privately maintained systems. The Department of Public Service shall also define procedures for transferring maintenance responsibilities to another person.

  1. Property owners shall be responsible for maintaining stormwater quantity and quality facilities and all conveyance structures located on their property. The minimum maintenance requirements shall be performed at necessary intervals, as determined by the Director of Public Service or his designee, during construction and for as long as a stormwater management system or component is in use.
  2. A property owner or operator may hire or contract others to perform necessary maintenance actions.
  3. The City shall own and maintain all drainage system components that are constructed under or collect stormwater runoff from a City-owned road.
  4. The City may in its sole discretion accept, limit, or decline ownership and maintenance of all or part of a stormwater system.

Sec. 27·51. Inspections

(a) The department of stormwater management shall promulgate procedures for conducting site inspections.

(b) The director of stormwater management or his designee, bearing proper credentials and identification, may enter and inspect all properties for regular inspections, periodic investigations, monitoring, observation measurement, enforcement, sampling and testing, to effectuate the provisions of this article and the SWMP programs. Such inspections may be made at active construction, development, and re-development sites or at any stormwater management system or facility in perpetuity. The director of stormwater management or his designee shall duly notify the property owner or operator of said property or the representative on site and the inspection shall be conducted at reasonable times. Where the property owner or operator has security measures in force requiring proper identification and clearance before entry onto the premises, the person shall make necessary arrangements with the necessary parties so that, upon presentation of suitable identification, the director of stormwater management or his designee will be permitted to enter without delay for the purposes of performing such responsibilities identified above.

(c) Upon refusal by any property owner to permit an inspector to enter or continue an inspection, the inspector shall terminate the inspection or confine the inspection to areas concerning which no objection is raised. The director of stormwater management or his designee shall document the refusal and the grounds for such and promptly seek appropriate compulsory process.

(d) In the event that the director of stormwater management or his designee reasonably believes that a property is causing harm to the city's stormwater management system or facility which is an imminent and substantial threat to human health or the environment, an inspection may take place at any time and without notice to the owner of the property or a representative on site. The inspector shall present proper credentials upon reasonable request by the property owner or operator.

(e) Inspection reports shall be maintained by the department of stormwater management in accordance with the law.

Sec. 27-52. Enforcement

(a) When the director of stormwater management or his designee finds that work done for construction activities, new development, and re-development fails to conform to the approved construction activity application, or that the work has not been done, the director of stormwater management or his designee may by written notice of violation (NOV), direct conformity to said approval(s). Actions may include:

(1) Issuing a written order to comply, to suspend work, or to revoke the approval issued;

(2) Seeking redress through legal action;

(3) Withholding the release of certificate of occupancy; and/or

(4) Withholding or revoking city permits related to the site.

The written NOV shall be provided to the owner, operator, or the person responsible for land disturbing activities stating the nature of the violation, the amount of time in which to correct deficiencies, the date on which an inspection will be made to make sure that corrective action has been performed, and the proposed penalty structure if corrective action is not taken by the inspection date.

(b) The director of stormwater management, his designee, or other authorized personnel may issue a stop work order if it is found that a construction activity, new development, or re-development is being conducted in violation of this article. The stop work order may allow or require correction of notice of violation (NOV) issues, but shall otherwise stop all other construction, new development, and re-development related activities. A stop work order may carry with it criminal penalties as well. Any person in violation of a stop work order is subject to payment of all fees and criminal fines prior to the lifting of the stop work order.

(c) When the director of stormwater management or his designee determines that an owner or operator has failed to maintain a stormwater management facility, a written NOV shall be provided to the owner or operator of such property stating the nature of the violation, the amount of time in which to correct deficiencies, the date on which an inspection will be made to make sure that corrective action has been performed, and the proposed penalty structure if corrective action is not taken by the inspection date.

(d) When the director of stormwater management or his designee determines that an owner or operator of any property is causing or partially causing flooding, erosion, or non-compliance with water quality standards or this article, upon providing valid proof of such impacts, the director of stormwater management or his designee can require owners to remove the proven impact in a concerted, prudent manner and restore the impacted property. A written NOV shall be provided to the owner or operator of such property stating the nature of the violation, the amount of time in which to correct deficiencies, the date on which an inspection will be made to make sure that corrective action has been performed, and the proposed penalty structure if corrective action is not taken by the inspection date.

(e) This article may be enforced by any remedy of law or equity that the city is authorized to pursue, to include the authorities and powers conferred to local governments by the General Assembly of South Carolina. The city may institute injunctive, mandamus or other appropriate action or proceedings at law or equity, including criminal conviction, for the enforcement of this article or to correct violations of this article, and 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.

Sec. 27-53. Corrective Action

  1. In the even a violation of this ordinance has not been corrected within the applicable time period for correction stated on the NOV or if the violation poses an imminent threat to the health or safety of the general public or the environment, the City, or its agent, may enter upon the lot or parcel of land and correct the violation, and the costs incurred as a result of such action, including, but not limited to inspection, administration, labor, and equipment costs shall be collected from the property owner or the operator, or shall become a lien upon the property and shall be collected in the same manner as the City’s taxes are collected.

LINKS:

Charleston Stormwater Ordinance

Charleston Stormwater Management Program

Charleston Stormwater Design Manual