City of Gary

The City of Gary has enacted a Stormwater Ordinance in order to provide for the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the City of Gary through the regulation of storm water and non-storm water discharges to the storm drainage system and to protect, conserve and promote the coordinated development of land and water resources within the City of Gary.  The City of Gary 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 Gary will only provide construction permits to projects that establish a plan to manage stormwater runoff occurring during the construction process. Stormwater fees will be calculated and collected by the City of Gary. The City of Gary, 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 Gary has the authority to inspect stormwater facilities and practices in order to ascertain that they properly maintained and functioning.


Stormwater User Fee Structure

All properties in Gary, Indiana are charged a monthly stormwater user fee based on the classification of their property.

Property Class Code

Monthly Fee

400 Commercial Vacant Land

20 acres or less = $2.50 per month

Greater than 20 acres = $0.125 per acre per month

401 Commercial Apartment 4-19 Units

$15.00 per month

402-499 All commercial including apartments over 19 units

$35.00 per month




This Chapter shall apply to all discharges, liquid or solid, including illegal dumping, entering the storm water drainage system under the control of the City of Gary, regardless of whether the discharge originates from developed, re-developed, or undeveloped lands, and regardless of whether the discharge is generated from an active construction site or a stabilized site. These discharges include flows from direct connections to the storm water drainage system, illegal dumping, and contaminated runoff.

Any non-storm water discharge permitted under an NPDES permit, waiver, or waste discharge order issued to the discharger and administered under the authority of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, provided that the discharger is in full compliance with all requirements of the permit, waiver, or order and other applicable laws and regulations, and provided that written acceptance has been granted by GSWMD for the subject discharge to the storm water drainage system, is also exempted from this chapter.


No person shall discharge to a MS4 conveyance, watercourse, or water body, directly or indirectly, any substance other than storm water or an exempted discharge. Any person discharging storm water shall effectively minimize, to the maximum extent practicable, pollutants from also being discharged with the storm water, through the use of, among other things, best management practices (BMPs).

The GSWMD is authorized to require dischargers to implement pollution prevention measures, utilizing BMPs, necessary to prevent or reduce the discharge of pollutants into the City of Gary’s storm water drainage system to the maximum extent practicable.


Notwithstanding other requirements in this Ordinance, the following categories of non-storm water discharges or flows are exempted from the requirements of this chapter:

  1. Water line flushing;
  2. Landscape irrigation;
  3. Diverted stream flows;
  4. Rising ground waters;
  5. Uncontaminated groundwater infiltration;
  6. Uncontaminated pumped ground water;
  7. Discharges from potable water sources;
  8. Foundation drains;
  9. Air conditioning condensation;
  10. Springs;
  11. Water from crawl space pumps;
  12. Footing drains;
  13. Lawn watering;
  14. Individual residential car washing;
  15. Flows from riparian habitats and wetlands;
  16. Dechlorinated swimming pool discharges;
  17. Street wash water;
  18. Discharges from firefighting activities;


Storage or stockpiling of hazardous or toxic material within any watercourse, or in its associated floodway or floodplain, is strictly prohibited. Storage or stockpiling of hazardous or toxic material on active construction sites must include adequate protection and/or containment so as to prevent any such materials from entering any temporary or permanent storm water conveyance or watercourse. Compliance with any City of Gary ordinances associated with surface contaminations is also required.


Every person owning property through which a watercourse passes, or such person's lessee, shall keep and maintain that part of the watercourse located within their property boundaries, free of trash, debris, excessive vegetation, and any other obstacles and/or items that would pollute, contaminate, or significantly retard the flow of water through the watercourse. In addition, the owner or lessee shall maintain existing privately owned structures within or adjacent to a watercourse so that such structures will not become a hazard to the use, function, or physical integrity of the watercourse.


Any discharger who accidentally discharges into a water body any substance other than storm water or an exempted discharge shall immediately inform HAZMAT, the City of Gary Department of Environmental Affairs, Health Department, GSWMD, and any other entity required by state or federal law, of the details of the discharge. A written report concerning the discharge shall be filed with the GSWMD’s Office and IDEM, by the dischargers, within five (5) days. The written report shall specify:

  1. The composition of the discharge and the cause thereof;
  2. The date, time, and estimated volume of the discharge;
  3. All measures taken to clean up the accidental discharge and all measures proposed to be taken to prevent any recurrence;
  4. The name and telephone number of the person making the report, and the name and telephone number of a person who may be contacted for additional information on the matter.

A properly reported accidental discharge shall be a mitigating factor in a civil infraction proceeding brought under this Ordinance against a discharger for such discharge. It shall not, however, be a defense to a legal action brought to obtain an injunction, to obtain recovery of costs or to obtain other relief because of, or arising out of, the discharge. A discharge shall be considered properly reported only if the discharger complies with all the requirements of this section. This requirement does not relieve a discharger from notifying other entities as required by State or Federal regulations.


A. Storm Drainage System

The GSWMD has the authority to periodically inspect the portion of the storm drainage system within the City of Gary’s jurisdiction in an effort to detect and eliminate illicit connections and discharges into the system. This inspection may include an assessment (preliminary screening) of discharges from outfalls connected to the system in order to determine if prohibited flows are being conveyed into the storm drainage system. It may also include spot testing of waters contained in the storm drainage system itself to detect the introduction of pollutants into the system by means other than a defined outfall, such as dumping or contaminated sheet runoff.

B. Potential Polluters

If, as a result of a storm drainage system inspection or other relevant evidence, there is reason to believe that a discharger has caused or contributed to an illicit discharge, the GSWMD may inspect and/or obtain storm water samples from storm water runoff and facilities of the subject discharger, to determine compliance with the requirements of this Ordinance. Upon request, the discharger shall allow the GSWMD's properly identified representative to enter upon the premises of the discharger at any hour necessary for the purposes of such inspection or sampling. The GSWMD or its properly identified representative may place on the discharger's property the equipment or devices used for such sampling or inspection. Tampering with any equipment placed on the discharger’s property for sampling, monitoring, and/or inspection purposes is punishable by a fine of up to $2,500 per violation.



It is recognized that developed areas, as compared to undeveloped areas, generally have increased imperviousness, decreased infiltration rates, increased runoff rates, and increased concentrations of pollutants, including, but not limited to, fertilizers, herbicides, greases, oil, salts and metals. There are four major sources of pollutants for a stabilized construction site:

 a. Deposition of atmospheric material (including wind-eroded material and dust)

 b. General urban pollution (thermal pollution, litter)

 c. Pollutants associated with specific land uses

 d. Suspended solids

It should be noted that some pollutants accumulate on impervious surfaces. This accumulated material is then subject to being washed into watercourses during storm events. It is for this reason that fish kills often occur during a rain event with a substantial prior rainless period. This is also the reason that the most hazardous driving conditions are realized after the initial onset of a storm event, when deposited oil has not yet washed into adjacent conveyance systems. Post-construction pollutants of concern include:

  1. Toxic chemicals from illegal dumping and poor storage and handling of materials. Industrial sites pose the most highly variable source of this pollution due to the dependency of the specific process to the resulting pollution amounts and constituents. As during construction, these chemicals can pose acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term) risk to aquatic life, wildlife and the general public.
  2. Pathogens from illicit sanitary connections to storm sewer systems, combined sewers, leaking septic systems, and wildlife and domestic animal waste. Pathogens may pose a direct health risk to humans and animals.
  3. Nutrients can be released from leaking septic systems, Canine Parks or applied in the form of fertilizers. Golf courses, manicured landscapes and agricultural sources are the primary land uses associated with excess fertilization. Excessive nutrients in the local ecosystem are the source of algal blooms in ponds and lakes. These excessive nutrients also lead to acceleration of the eutrofication process, reducing the usable lifespan of these water bodies. Nitrogen and phosphorous are the primary nutrients of concern.
  4. Oxygen demand can be impacted by chemicals transported on sediment, by nutrients, and other pollutants (such as toxic chemicals). Reduced levels of oxygen impair or destroy aquatic life.
  5. Oils and hydrocarbons accumulate in streets from vehicles. They can also be associated with fueling stations and illicit dumping activities. Oils and hydrocarbons pose health risk to both aquatic and human health.
  6. Litter can result in a threat to aquatic life. The aesthetic impact can also reduce the quality of recreational use.
  7. Metals can be associated with vehicular activity (including certain brake dusts), buildings, construction material storage, and industrial activities. Metals are often toxic to aquatic life and threaten human health.
  8. Chlorides (salts) are historically associated with deicing activities. Chlorides are toxic to native aquatic life (verses saltwater aquatic life). Communities should consider a combination or cinders or sand to replace or supplement their deicing activities with chlorides. In addition, chloride should always be stored in enclosed structures.
  9. Thermal effects can be introduced by the removal of shade provided by riparian trees, as well as impervious channel linings, such as concrete, which release stored heat to water passing over them. Other sources of elevated temperature include effluent from power plant and industrial activities. Thermal pollution can threaten aquatic habitat, including fish species and beneficial water insects. Of particular concern are salmonoid streams, due to the effect of thermal pollution on spawning for this particular species.

Gasoline outlets and refueling areas must install appropriate practices to prevent lead, copper, zinc, and hydrocarbons from being in storm water runoff from these areas. These requirements will apply to all new facilities and existing facilities.


All storm water quality management systems, including detention or retention basins, filter strips, pocket wetlands, in-line filters, infiltration systems, conveyance systems, structures and appurtenances located outside of the right-of-way shall be incorporated into permanent easements. For developments occurring within the City and at the discretion of the GSWMD, the developer may petition to establish the noted system as a portion of the City of Gary's drainage system but the drainage plan shall not be accepted until such petition is submitted in a form acceptable to the GSWMD. For the purposes of monitoring, inspection, and general maintenance activities, the petition should include a drainage easement with a minimum width determined through the application process.


Storm water quality facilities shall be maintained in good condition, in accordance with the Operation and Maintenance procedures and schedules listed in the Indiana Storm Water Quality Manual and the City of Gary Design Standards Manual, and the terms and conditions of the approved storm water permit, and shall not be subsequently altered, revised, or replaced except in accordance with the approved storm water permit, or in accordance with approved amendments or revisions in the permit. Following construction completion, inspection and maintenance of storm water quality facilities shall be the long-term responsibility of the owner. Storm water detention / retention basins may be donated to the City of Gary or other unit of government approved by the GSWMD, for ownership and permanent maintenance providing the GSWMD or other governmental unit is willing to accept such responsibility.

The GSWMD also has the authority to perform long-term, post-construction inspection of all public or privately owned storm water quality facilities. The inspections will follow the Operation and Maintenance procedures included in the City of Gary Design Standards Manual and/or the permit application for each specific BMP. The inspection will cover physical conditions, available water quality storage capacity and the operational condition of key facility elements. Noted deficiencies and recommended corrective action will be included in an inspection report.


Gary Storm Water District User Fees Ordinance

Gary Storm Water Management Ordinance