City of Reading


The City of Reading has enacted a Stormwater Ordinance in order to promote the public health, safety, and welfare within the City of Reading and its watersheds by maintaining the natural hydrologic regime by minimizing the impacts from inadequate stormwater management. The City of Reading 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 Reading will only provide construction permits to projects that establish a plan to manage stormwater runoff occurring during the construction process. The City of Reading, 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 Reading has the authority to inspect stormwater facilities and practices in order to ascertain that they properly maintained and functioning.

Excerpt from Reading Stormwater Management Ordinance

Article V - Inspections

Section 501. Schedule of Inspections

  1. The Municipal Engineer or his designee shall inspect all phases of the installation of the permanent stormwater management facilities as deemed appropriate by the Municipal Engineer.
  2. During any stage of the work, if the Municipal Engineer or his municipal designee determines that the permanent stormwater management facilities are not being installed in accordance with the approved Stormwater Management Plan, the Municipality shall revoke any existing building permits and issue a cease and desist order until a revised Drainage Plan is submitted and approved, as specified in this Ordinance.
  3. A final inspection of all stormwater management facilities shall be conducted by the Municipal Engineer or his municipal designee and to confirm compliance with the approved Drainage Plan prior to the issuance of any Occupancy Permit.

Maintenance Responsibilities

Section 701. Performance Guarantee

  1. For subdivisions and land developments the Applicant shall provide a financial guarantee to the municipality for the timely installation and proper construction of all stormwater management controls as: 1) required by the approved drainage plan equal to or greater than the full construction cost of the required controls; or 2) in the amount and method of payment provided for in Chapter 515, Subdivision and Land Development.
  2. For other regulated activities, the municipality may require a financial guarantee from the applicant.
  3. At the completion of the project, and as a prerequisite for the release of the performance guarantee, the applicant or his representatives shall:
    • Provide a certification of completion from an engineer, architect, surveyor or other qualified person verifying that all permanent facilities have been constructed according to the plans and specifications and approved revisions thereto.
    • Provide a set of record drawings in the form required by § 505-112.
  1. After the municipality receives the certification, a final inspection shall be conducted by the Municipal Engineer or designee to certify compliance with this Part.

Section 702. Responsibilities for operations and maintenance of stormwater controls and BMPs.

  1. No regulated earth disturbance activities within the municipality shall commence until approval by the municipality of a stormwater control and BMP operations and maintenance plan which describes how the permanent (e.g., post construction) stormwater controls and BMPs will be properly operated and maintained.
  2. The following items shall be included in the stormwater control and BMP operations and maintenance plan:
    1. Map(s) of the project area, in a form that meets the requirements for recording at the offices of the Recorder of Deeds of Berks County, and shall be submitted on twenty-four inch by thirty-six inch sheets. The contents of the map(s) shall include, but not be limited to:
      1. Clear identification of the location and nature of permanent stormwater controls and BMPs.
      2. The location of the project site relative to highways, municipal boundaries or other identifiable landmarks.
      3. Existing and final contours at intervals of two feet, or others as appropriate.
      4. Existing streams, lakes, ponds, or other bodies of water within the project site area.
      5. Other physical features including flood hazard boundaries, sinkholes, streams, existing drainage courses, and areas of natural vegetation to be preserved.
      6. The locations of all existing and proposed utilities, sanitary sewers, and water lines within 50 feet of property lines of the project site.
      7. Proposed final changes to the land surface and vegetative cover, including the type and amount of impervious area that would be added.
      8. Proposed final structures, roads, paved areas, and buildings.
      9. A minimum fifteen-foot wide access easement surrounding all sides of all stormwater controls and BMPs that would provide ingress to and egress from a public right-of-way.
    2. A description of how each permanent stormwater control and BMP will be operated and maintained, and the identity of the person(s) responsible for operations and maintenance.
    3. The name of the project site, the name and address of the owner of the property, and the name of the individual or firm preparing the plan.
    4. A statement, signed by the landowner, acknowledging that the stormwater controls and BMPs are fixtures that can be altered or removed only after approval by the municipality.
  3. The stormwater control and BMP operations and maintenance plan for the project site shall establish responsibilities for the continuing operation and maintenance of all permanent stormwater controls and 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 municipality, stormwater controls and BMPs may also be dedicated to and maintained by the municipality at the municipality's sole discretion.
    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 controls and BMPs shall be the responsibility of the owner or private management entity.
  4. The municipality shall make the final determination on the continuing operations and maintenance responsibilities. The municipality reserves the right to accept or reject the operations and maintenance responsibility for any or all of the stormwater controls and BMPs.

Section 704. Adherence to approved stormwater control and BMP operations and maintenance plan.

It shall be unlawful to alter or remove any permanent stormwater control and BMP required by an approved stormwater control and BMP operations and maintenance plan, or to allow the property to remain in a condition which does not conform to an approved stormwater control and BMP operations and maintenance plan.

Section 705. Operations and maintenance agreement for privately owned stormwater controls and BMPs.

  1. The property owner shall sign an operations and maintenance agreement with the Municipality covering all controls and BMPs that are to be privately owned. the agreement shall be substantially at the same as the agreement in Appendix A of this ordinance.
  2. Other items may be included in the agreement where determined necessary to guarantee the satisfactory operation and maintenance of all permanent stormwater controls and BMPs. The agreement shall be subject to the review and approval of the municipality.

Section 706. Stormwater management easements.

Stormwater management easements are required for all areas used for off-site stormwater control, unless a waiver is granted by the Municipal Engineer.

Stormwater management easements shall be provided by the property owner if necessary for: access for inspections and maintenance; or preservation of stormwater runoff conveyance, infiltration, and detention areas and other stormwater controls and BMPs, by persons other than the property owner. The purpose of the easement shall be specified in any agreement under § 505-176.

Section 707. Maintenance agreement for privately owned stormwater facilities.

  1. Prior to final approval of the site's drainage plan, the applicant shall sign and record the maintenance agreement contained in Appendix A which is attached and made part hereof, covering all stormwater control facilities that are to be privately owned.
  2. Other items may be included in the agreement where determined necessary to guarantee the satisfactory maintenance of all facilities. The maintenance agreement shall be subject to the review and approval of the Municipal Solicitor and Municipal Engineer, or their designees.

Section 709. Municipal stormwater control and BMP operation and maintenance fund.

  1. Persons installing stormwater controls or BMPs shall be required to pay a specified amount to the Municipal stormwater control and BMP operation and maintenance fund to help defray costs of periodic inspections and maintenance expenses. The amount of the deposit shall be determined as follows:
    1. If the stormwater control or BMP is to be privately owned and maintained, the deposit shall cover the cost of periodic inspections performed by the municipality for a period of 10 years, as estimated by the Municipal Engineer. After that period of time, inspections will be performed at the expense of the municipality.
    2. If the stormwater control or BMP is to be owned and maintained by the municipality, the deposit shall cover the estimated costs for maintenance and inspections for 10 years. The Municipal Engineer will establish the estimated costs utilizing information submitted by the applicant.
    3. The amount of the deposit to the fund shall be converted to present worth of the annual series values. The Municipal Engineer shall determine the present worth equivalents, which shall be subject to the approval of the governing body.
  2. If a stormwater control or BMP is proposed that also serves as a recreation facility (e.g., ballfield, lake), the municipality may reduce or waive the amount of the maintenance fund deposit based upon the value of the land for public recreation purpose.
  3. If at some future time a stormwater control or BMP (whether publicly or privately owned) is eliminated due to the installation of storm sewers or other storage facility, the unused portion of the maintenance fund deposit will be applied to the cost of abandoning the facility and connecting to the storm sewer system or other facility. Any amount of the deposit remaining after the costs of abandonment are paid will be returned to the depositor.
  4. If stormwater controls or BMPs are accepted by the municipality for dedication, the municipality may require persons installing stormwater controls or BMPs to pay a specified amount to the municipal stormwater control and BMP operation and maintenance fund, to help defray costs of operations and maintenance activities. The amount may be determined as follows:
    1. If the stormwater control or BMP is to be owned and maintained by the municipality, the amount shall cover the estimated costs for operations and maintenance for 10 years, as determined by the municipality.
    2. The amount shall then be converted to present worth of the annual series values.
  5. If a stormwater control or BMP is proposed that also serves as a recreation facility (e.g., ballfield, lake), the municipality may adjust the amount due accordingly.
  6. Long-term maintenance. The municipality shall require applicants to pay a fee to the municipal stormwater maintenance fund to cover long-term maintenance of stormwater control and best management practices.
  7. Stormwater-related problems. The municipality may require applicants to pay a fee to the municipal stormwater maintenance fund to cover stormwater-related problems which may arise from the land development and earth disturbance. The municipality and/or any adversely impacted property owners may institute the appropriate legal, equitable or otherwise action to prevent, restrain, correct or abate problems and seek restitution and/or damages resulting from stormwater problems emanating from the land development or earth disturbance activities.

Article VIII - Prohibitions

§ 505-181. Prohibited discharges.

  1. No person in the municipality shall allow, or cause to allow, stormwater discharges into the municipality's separate storm sewer system which are not composed entirely of stormwater, except: as provided in subsection below; and discharges allowed under a state or federal permit.
  2. Discharges which may be allowed based on a finding by the municipality that the discharge(s) do not significantly contribute to pollution to surface waters of the commonwealth, are
    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. Spring water from crawl space pumps.
    8. Uncontaminated water from foundation or from footing drains.
    9. Flows from riparian habitats and wetlands.
    10. Lawn watering.
    11. 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.
    12. Dechlorinated swimming pool discharges.
    13. Uncontaminated groundwater.
  3. In the event that the municipality determines that any of the discharges identified in Subsection B significantly contribute to pollution of waters of the commonwealth, or is so notified by DEP, the municipality will notify the responsible person to cease the discharge.
  4. Upon notice provided by the municipality under Section 801.C, the discharger will have a reasonable time, as determined by the municipality, to cease the discharge consistent with the degree of pollution caused by the discharge.
  5. Nothing in this section shall affect a discharger's responsibilities under state law.

Section 802. Prohibited connections.

  1. The following connections are prohibited, except as provided in Section 801.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 municipality.

Section 803. Roof drains.

  1. Roof drains shall not be connected to streets, sanitary or storm sewers or roadside ditches in order to promote overland flow and infiltration/percolation of stormwater where advantageous to do so. When it is more advantageous to connect directly to streets or storm sewers, then it shall be permitted on a case-by-case basis by the municipality.
  2. 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 municipality.
  3. Roof drains shall discharge to infiltration areas or vegetative BMPs to the maximum extent practicable.

Section 804. Alteration of BMPs.

  1. No person shall modify, remove, fill, landscape or alter any existing stormwater control or BMP, unless it is part of an approved maintenance program, without the written approval of the municipality.
  2. No person shall place any structure, fill, landscaping or vegetation into a stormwater control or BMP or within a drainage easement, which would limit or alter the functioning of the stormwater control or BMP, without the written approval of the municipality.

Article IX - Enforcement and Penalties

Section 901. Right of entry.

  1. Upon presentation of proper credentials, duly authorized representatives of the municipality may enter at reasonable times upon any property within the municipality to inspect the implementation, condition, or operation and maintenance of the stormwater controls or BMPs in regard to any aspect governed by this Part.
  2. Stormwater control and BMP owners and operators shall allow persons working on behalf of the municipality ready access to all parts of the premises for the purposes of determining compliance with this Part.
  3. Persons working on behalf of the municipality shall have the right to temporarily locate on any stormwater control or BMP in the municipality such devices as are necessary to conduct monitoring and/or sampling of the discharges from such stormwater control or BMP.
  4. Unreasonable delays in allowing the municipality access to a stormwater control or BMP is a violation of this Part.

Section 902. Public nuisance.

  1. The violation of any provision of this Part is hereby deemed a public nuisance.
  2. Each day that a violation continues shall constitute a separate violation.

Section 903. Enforcement generally.

  1. Whenever the municipality finds that a person has violated a prohibition or failed to meet a requirement of this Part, the municipality 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 controls and BMPs.
    7. Operation and maintenance of stormwater controls and BMPs.
  2. Such notification shall set forth the nature of the violation(s) and establish a time limit for correction of these violation(s). Said notice may further advise that, if applicable, should the violator fail to take the required action within the established deadline, the work will be done by the municipality or designee and the expense thereof shall be charged to the violator.
  3. Failure to comply within the time specified shall also subject such person to the penalty provisions of this Part. All such penalties shall be deemed cumulative and shall not prevent the municipality from pursuing any and all other remedies available in law or equity.

Section 904. Suspension and revocation of permits and approvals.

  1. Any building, land development or other permit or approval issued by the municipality may be suspended or revoked by the municipality for:
    1. Noncompliance with or failure to implement any provision of the permit.
    2. A violation of any provision of this Part.
    3. The creation of any condition or the commission of any act during construction or development which constitutes or creates a hazard or nuisance, pollution or which endangers the life or property of others.
  2. A suspended permit or approval shall be reinstated by the municipality when:
    1. The Municipal Engineer or designee has inspected and approved the corrections to the stormwater controls and BMPs, or the elimination of the hazard or nuisance.
    2. The municipality is satisfied that the violation of the ordinance, law, or rule and regulation has been corrected.
  3. A permit or approval which has been revoked by the municipality at its discretion cannot be reinstated. The applicant may apply for a new permit under the procedures outlined in this Part.

Section 905. Violations and penalties.

  1. Any person violating the provisions of this Part shall be subject to a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 for each violation, recoverable with costs, or imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both. Each day that the violation continues shall constitute a separate offense and the applicable fines are cumulative.
  2. 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 Part. 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.

§ 505-196. Notification.

In the event that a person fails to comply with the requirements of this Part, or fails to conform to the requirements of any permit issued hereunder, the municipality shall provide written notification of the violation. Such notification shall set forth the nature of the violation(s) and establish a time limit for correction of these violation(s). Failure to comply within the time specified shall subject such person to the penalty provisions of this Part. All such penalties shall be deemed cumulative and shall not prevent the municipality from pursuing any and all remedies. It shall be the responsibility of the owner of the real property on which any regulated activity is proposed to occur, is occurring, or has occurred, to comply with the terms and conditions of this Part.

§ 505-197. Enforcement.

The municipal governing body is hereby authorized and directed to enforce all of the provisions of this Part. All inspections regarding compliance with the drainage plan shall be the responsibility of the Municipal Engineer or his designee.

LINK:

Reading Stormwater Management Ordinance