City of Providence


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized on December 8, 1999, the Storm Water Phase II Rule, that requires MS4s to obtain permits and establish a storm water management program that is intended to improve waterbodies by reducing the quantity of pollutants that can enter storm sewer systems during storm events. The Storm Water Phase II Rule extends the coverage of the NPDES storm water program to include "small" MS4s. The Phase II Rule automatically covers on a nationwide basis all small MS4s located in "urbanized areas"(UAs) as defined by the Bureau of the Census. Small MS4s located outside of UAs may be subject to future designation on a case-by-case basis.

The RIPDES Program amended the RIPDES Regulations and has included Phase II storm water requirements (amended February 5, 2003). The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) has implemented 11 minimum standards for the management of stormwater runoff. Of these standards include: LID Site Planning and Design Strategies, Groundwater Recharge, Water Quality, Pollution Prevention, and Stormwater Management System Operation and Maintenance.

In the City of Providence, the Engineering Division is responsible for coordinating the City's Storm Water Management Plan in conformance with the requirements of Rhode Island Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (RIPDES). The city shall have the authority and discretion to invoke penalties and/or impose a lien whenever a stormwater management facility is not implemented, operated, and/or maintained in accordance with its approval and this article [Article VI]. Any penalty invoked shall be in accordance with this section.

Providence Stormwater Ordinance

ARTICLE VI. - POST-CONSTRUCTION STORMWATER CONTROL

Sec. 5-81. - Purpose.

Unmitigated stormwater from areas altered by development may pose public health and safety threats. Potential contaminants in stormwater runoff may include suspended solids, nitrogen, phosphorus, hydrocarbons, heavy metals, pathogenic organisms (bacteria and viruses), and road salts.

This article establishes the administrative mechanisms necessary for the city to ensure proper stormwater management. This article is written to work in conjunction with current state regulations.

(Ord. 2005, ch. 05-54, § 1, 12-1-05)

Sec. 5-82. - Applicability.

This article shall apply to all development and redevelopment occurring within the city. No person shall engage in land development activities without receiving approval from the building official or his/her designee, unless specifically exempted by section 5-83 of this article.

(Ord. 2005, ch. 05-54, § 1, 12-1-05)

Sec. 5-83. - Exemptions.

The following activities do not require written approval pursuant to this article, unless the developer or redeveloper is within three hundred (300) feet of a watercourse, as defined in the soil erosion and sediment control ordinance:

  1. Any development or redevelopment on lots less than twenty thousand (20,000) square feet in size located in C1, C2, C4, D1, D2, M1, M2, W1, W2, and W3 zoning districts.
  2. Any complete project that disturbs less than one (1) acre not including projects less than one (1) acre that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale that propose more than one (1) acre of disturbance.

(Ord. 2005, ch. 05-54, § 1, 12-1-05)

Sec. 5-84. - Submissions and approvals.

In accordance with section 5-82 of this article, all persons must obtain approval from the building official or his/her designee prior to engaging in any land development activities, unless exempted by section 5-83 of this article. To obtain approval applicants must demonstrate compliance with all policy, standards and requirements of this article to the satisfaction of the building official or his/her designee. Applicants may demonstrate compliance via submission of materials and documentation including but not limited to a stormwater management plan, site plan, and maintenance agreement in accordance with this article. Plans will be reviewed in conjunction with site plan review by the planning board.

(Ord. 2005, ch. 05-54, § 1, 12-1-05)

Sec. 5-85. - Technical standards.

All applicants are required to develop and submit a stormwater management plan. All stormwater management plans must address stormwater management on a site-by-site basis and all requirements of this article. All stormwater management practices shall be consistent with the "Rhode Island Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual" and the "Rhode Island Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook," as amended.

(1)  Performance standards. Stormwater management plans shall incorporate best management practices (BMPs) for water quality control, which in combination are demonstrated to reduce the average annual total suspended solids in post-development runoff by eighty (80) percent. Development in drinking water supply watersheds or watersheds where impaired waters as defined by the state's 303(d) list exist may be held to higher standards.

(2)  Disallowed stormwater best management practices (BMPs). The placement of detention basins and other stormwater structures within a floodplain shall be avoided. If there is no alternative, the applicant must show what effects, if any, the tailwaters created by the floodplain will have on the outflow and effective storage capacity of the detention facility.

(3)  Facilitation of maintenance. Facilities that require maintenance shall be designed to minimize the need for regular maintenance, facilitate required maintenance, and ensure accessibility of components that require maintenance. At a minimum, all stormwater management plans must incorporate BMPs with appropriate maintenance design in accordance with the "Rhode Island Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual," as amended; or the "Rhode Island Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook," as amended.

(4)  Flood protection. Stormwater management plans shall demonstrate that a proposed project provides for protection of life and property from flooding and flood flows. Water quantities must be controlled in accordance with the "Rhode Island Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual," as amended, or a municipally approved regional stormwater management plan for the watershed in which the project site is located. Stormwater management plans shall demonstrate incorporation of the following standards into the proposed project:

  1. Control and maintenance of post-development peak discharge rates from the two-year, ten-year, twenty-five-year, and one hundred-year storm events and predevelopment levels.
  2. Downstream analysis of the one hundred-year storm event and control of the peak discharge rate for the one hundred-year storm to mitigate significant downstream impacts.
  3. Discharge from any stormwater facility must be conveyed through properly constructed conveyance system to provide for non-erosive flows during all storm events. The proposed stormwater conveyance system consisting of open channels, pipes, and other conveyance devices shall at a minimum accommodate the runoff from a twenty-five-year storm event. The stormwater conveyance system must provide for non-erosive flows to receiving waters.

(5) Surface water and groundwater. Stormwater management plans shall demonstrate that during development and post-development, all receiving waters will be recharged in a manner closely resembling predevelopment conditions and that the developed site will retain hydrologic conditions that closely resemble those prior to disturbance. Predevelopment conditions are defined as those conditions existing at the site (precursor to the currently proposed development) at the time of adoption of this article. For redevelopment of previously developed sites, every effort shall be made to model the conditions prior to the presence of non-permeable surfaces (building or infrastructure) and/or fill.

(Ord. 2005, ch. 05-54, § 1, 12-1-05)

Sec. 5-86. - Maintenance requirements for best management practices (BMPs).

(a) Routine maintenance and repair procedures. Preventative maintenance procedures are required to maintain the intended operation and safe condition of the stormwater management facility by greatly reducing the occurrence of problems and malfunctions. To be effective, preventative maintenance shall be performed on a regular basis and include such routine procedures as training of staff, periodic inspections, grass cutting elimination of mosquito breeding habitats, and pond maintenance. Disposal of sediment and debris must occur on a regular basis (unless otherwise specified within an approved plan), at suitable disposal sites or recycling sites and shall comply with applicable local, state and federal regulations. Corrective maintenance procedures are required to correct a problem or malfunction at a stormwater management facility and to restore the facility's intended operation and safe condition. Based upon the severity of the problem, corrective maintenance must be performed on an as-needed or emergency basis and include such procedures as structural repairs, removal of debris, sediment and trash removal, erosion repair, snow and ice removal, fence repair, mosquito extermination, and restoration of vegetated and non-vegetated linings.

(b) General maintenance standards for stormwater best management practices (BMPs). Maintenance design and maintenance procedures for all stormwater BMPs shall be in accordance with the "Rhode Island Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual," as amended, or the "Rhode Island Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Handbook," as amended as well as in accordance with manufacturer's recommendations. Stormwater management plans shall demonstrate appropriate maintenance design and procedures for each proposed best management practice. A maintenance schedule for each type of BMP must be included in the stormwater management plan. These schedules shall list the frequency and type of maintenance operations necessary along with the legally responsible party's name, address, and telephone number. If the stormwater drainage facility is to be deeded to the city the applicant must obtain a letter from the city or its designee acknowledging maintenance responsibility and intent of ownership.

(Ord. 2005, ch. 05-54, § 1, 12-1-05)

Sec. 5-87. - Stormwater management plans.

(a) Calculations. In addition to the information required for the site plan the following information must also be included with the application, where applicable.

  1. The area of each sub-watershed as identified on final site plans.
  2. The area of impervious surfaces (including all roads, driveways, rooftops, sidewalks, etc.) for each sub-watershed as identified in the "Rhode Island Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual," as amended.
  3. Weighted curve numbers, (CN) as determined by the SCS TR-55 method, for each sub-watershed as identified in the "Rhode Island Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual," as amended.
  4. Invert elevations for all applicable BMPs. In addition, the elevations for permanent and/or flood pool stages, including peak discharge rates for each stage, within all basins are required.
  5. The total volume capacity for all flood control and water quality BMPs (e.g., infiltration basin, detention basins, wet ponds, etc.). Volumes must be segregated into permanent and flood pool stage volumes where applicable. Furthermore, the volumes of all sediment storage (basins, forebays, etc.) area must also be provided.
  6. Predevelopment and post-development peak discharge rates and runoff volumes for the two-year, ten-year, twenty-five-year, and one hundred-year frequency storm events for each sub-watershed. The water quality volume must also be calculated for each sub-watershed. All relevant variables such as curve numbers and time of concentration, along with the supporting computations and worksheets must be included.

(b) Narrative description. As part of the stormwater management plan, the applicant shall include a discussion of the protection of environmental resource functions and values. The following outline is provided as guidance for preparing a narrative description for the stormwater management plan. Depending on the size and scope of the proposed project, the amount of information required by the permitting agency may vary, therefore, it is advised to consult the appropriate permitting agency for specific requirements.

  1. Site description—general topography, soil types, current vegetative composition and relative abundance, existing infrastructure, and/or adjacent properties, identification of major resources (e.g., wetlands, groundwater, surface waters, etc.), name of receiving water(s), potential water quality and/or hydrologic impacts on resources.
  2. Site input data—watershed characteristics, area of all impervious surfaces, total area of site, annual mean rainfall, runoff coefficients, curve numbers for various land uses, peak discharge rates.
  3. Land use planning and source control plan.
  4. Best management practices (BMPs)—identify the type of BMP(s) employed both during and post construction and justification for selection, including any deviation from the "Rhode Island Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual," as amended, and the potential effect on pollutant removal efficiency.
  5. Technical feasibility of BMPs including sizing, location, hydraulic and environmental impacts. Alternatives, which were considered but determined not to be feasible, should also be discussed.
  6. Maintenance schedule of BMPs to be used, both during and post construction including the frequency of inspections and maintenance.

(Ord. 2005, ch. 05-54, § 1, 12-1-05)

Sec. 5-88. - Maintenance agreements.

Maintenance agreements shall provide written, contractual documentation, which demonstrates compliance with this article and legal arrangements for the upkeep of stormwater facilities to assure their functionality and safety in accordance with this article.

The owner or responsible person shall maintain "as-built" plans of any stormwater management practices located on-site after final construction is completed. The plans must show the final design specifications for all stormwater management facilities and must be certified by a professional engineer.

Maintenance agreements, which describe all maintenance schedules and requirements, must be developed for each stormwater management facility unless the facility is dedicated to and accepted by the city.

  1. Recognition of municipal inspection requirements. Maintenance agreements shall include a reasonable and regular schedule for the city, or designee, to conduct on-site inspection of the functionality and safety of the stormwater management facilities. Inspection schedules shall be based on the complexity and frequency of maintenance needs and shall be subject to the approval of the city. At a minimum, the maintenance frequency should be in accordance with the "Rhode Island Stormwater Design and Installation Standards Manual," as amended.
  2. Record keeping for maintenance activities. Maintenance agreements shall include provisions for maintenance record keeping. All activities conducted in accordance with a maintenance agreement must be recorded in a work order and inspection log. Timely updates of the log shall be the responsibility of the stormwater management facility owner or other responsible party pursuant to this article. Review of the maintenance and inspection log shall be completed by the city, or designee, to determine the effectiveness of operation, maintenance and safety activities. Reviews shall occur as part of each on-site inspection. Additional reviews may be made as deemed appropriate by the city or designee.
  3. Responsibility for maintenance to assure functionality and safety. Appropriate maintenance to assure functionality and safety of stormwater management facilities shall be the responsibility the owner or may be assumed by another party via a written contractual arrangement in accordance with this article.
  4. Alterations to maintenance agreements. Any alterations in maintenance responsibility or alterations to maintenance agreements must be reviewed and approved by the building official or his/her designee. If portions of the land serviced by a stormwater management facility are to be sold, written contractual arrangements shall be made to pass all responsibility of the maintenance agreement to the purchaser and shall be subject to review and approval of the building official or his/her designee. All alterations to maintenance agreements shall be recorded in accordance with this article.
  5. Recordation of maintenance agreements. All maintenance agreements and alterations to maintenance agreements shall be recorded in the land evidence records of the city. Copies of all maintenance agreements and alterations to maintenance agreements shall be included in stormwater management plans. Recordation of maintenance agreements in accordance with this article shall be the responsibility of the owner.

(Ord. 2005, ch. 05-54, § 1, 12-1-05)

Sec. 5-89. - Application fees.

The city shall be empowered to collect fees from permit applicants, which are commensurate with the cost of administering this article.

(Ord. 2005, ch. 05-54, § 1, 12-1-05)

Sec. 5-90. - Enforcement.

The city shall have the authority and discretion to invoke penalties and/or impose a lien whenever a stormwater management facility is not implemented, operated, and/or maintained in accordance with its approval and this article. Any penalty invoked shall be in accordance with this section.

  1. Notification of violation. In the event that the stormwater management facility becomes a danger to public safety or public health, is in need of maintenance, or has not been maintained in accordance with the maintenance agreement, the city shall notify the responsible person in writing by certified mail. Upon receipt of that notice, the responsible person shall have five (5) calendar days to temporarily correct the violations and thirty (30) calendar days to complete maintenance and permanently repair the facility in a manner that is approved by the municipality. If the responsible person fails or refuses to perform such maintenance and repair, the municipality may immediately proceed to do so and enforce penalties and/or liens as described herein.
  2. Enforcement of penalties and liens. Any applicant/owner who fails and/or refuses to temporarily correct the violation within five (5) calendar days from notice and/or to permanently correct a violation within thirty (30) calendar days from notice shall be fined up to seventy five dollars ($75.00), and each day following notice during which the violation continues shall constitute a separate offense. The city also may charge the applicant/owner any costs associated with the removal or repair of damage resulting from the violation. In addition, any violation continuing thirty (30) calendar days after notice shall be deemed, and is hereby declared to be, a public nuisance and the city solicitor is hereby empowered to institute an action for an injunction, abatement or any other appropriate action to prevent, enjoin or abate such nuisance. The remedies provided for herein shall be cumulative and not exclusive and shall be in addition to any other remedies provided by law.
  3. Hearing. Any owner or responsible party, receiving a written notice of violation, shall be given an opportunity, within a reasonable time frame, for a hearing before the zoning board of review to state their case. If evidence indicates that a violation has not occurred, the zoning board of review shall revoke the notice of violation.

(Ord. 2005, ch. 05-54, § 1, 12-1-05)

Providence, RI Stormwater Documents