The 1987 amendments to the Clean Water Act required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to establish the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program. In December 1999, the EPA published Phase II of the NPDES program titled Stormwater Phase II Final Rule. Phase II expands the program started in Phase I by automatically requiring NPDES stormwater permits for U.S. Census defined "urbanized areas". All areas identified in the 1990 U.S. census and the 2000 census maps as "urbanized areas" are required to have a Phase II permit.
Hamilton County as well as Fishers, Carmel, Westfield, Noblesville, Arcadia and Cicero are included in the Indianapolis Urbanized Area Map (PDF) and have received notification letters from Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) that they were subject to Rule 13. Each of these entities can apply for an individual permit or agree to be covered by a general permit, thereby, sharing the responsibilities. The Phase II regulations mandate 6 minimum control measures for inclusion in the NPDES permit. These measures are:
Public Education and Outreach
Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
Construction Site Runoff Control
Post-Construction Stormwater Management in New and Redevelopment
Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations
The permit application must identify the best management practices to be utilized in each of the 6 control measures, define the goal to be achieved, set forth a schedule of activities and identify persons responsible to implement and manage the practices. Rule 13 requires designated entities to submit a Notice of Intent letter (NOI) (PDF), which includes a copy of the Stormwater Quality Management Plan (SWQMP) - Part A (PDF) which was submitted on November 3rd, 2003. This NOI is written notification indicating an entity's intention to comply with the terms of Rule 13. In addition to the NOI , Part B (PDF) of the SWQMP must be completed and submitted within 6 months after the NOI submission and Part C (PDF) must be completed and submitted within 1 year after the NOI submission. Part C and the Illicit Discharge Plan (PDF) was submitted on January 31, 2005, and the County was approved by IDEM in 2006 (permit number INR 040066).
Phase II Requirements
A key issue regarding the NPDES Phase II program is that it is an unfunded mandate brought down by the U.S. EPA onto designated entities to be administered by IDEM (in the case of Indiana). EPA NPDES Phase II requirements include:
Mapping of the entire stormwater system and outfalls
Public education and outreach program development and implementation
Illicit discharge detection and elimination program development and implementation
Post-construction site runoff program and enforcement
Pollution prevention and good housekeeping programs
The Construction and Post Construction site runoff program, including enforcement, includes a runoff ordinance, which was signed by the Hamilton County Commissioners on July 11, 2005. The Runoff Ordinance (5-09-05-B) (PDF) can be downloaded online. This ordinance references Rule 5 and specifies how the building and development community will address construction site runoff and post-construction pollution prevention and permitting. As of January 1, 2006, municipal jurisdictions will be responsible for Rule 5 Plan Review and Enforcement. Please refer to the Stormwater Design Manual below for Rule 5 permitting and plan submission requirements for the Hamilton County jurisdiction including regulated drains. For projects in the Towns of Atlanta and Sheridan please contact the SWCD or IDEM.
Rule 5 Permitting
For projects in the Towns of Cicero, Fishers and Westfield and the Cities of Carmel and Noblesville, please contact those entities for their Rule 5 requirements and procedures. Also Rule 5 procedures at the IDEM website are being updated to reflect the new procedures. Refer to the IDEM website or the Hamilton County Stormwater Design Manual (PDF) if you have questions about Rule 5 or the requirements. Generally, all "land disturbing activity", including removing vegetative cover that exposes the underlying soil, excavating, filling, transporting, and grading requires a permit. If a developer or project site owner conducts a land disturbing activity that disturbs 1 or more acres of land, the project site owner must apply for coverage under a Rule 5 general stormwater permit.
If a construction project disturbs less than 1 acre of land, a Rule 5 permit is not required, unless the project is part of a "larger common plan of development or sale" or the land disturbing activity is determined to be causing an adverse impact to the environment, primarily related to a water of the state.
Larger Common Plan
By definition in the rule, "larger common plan of development or sale" means "a plan, undertaken by a single project site owner or a group of project site owners acting in concert, to offer lots for sale or lease; where such land is contiguous, or is known, designated, purchased or advertised as a common unit or by a common name. The term also includes phased or other construction activity by a single entity for its own use." If a project results in the disturbance on less than 1 acre of land, but is considered part of a "larger common plan of development or sale," a Rule 5 permit is required for the larger common plan that includes the individual lots with land disturbances of less than 1 acre. An original or intermediate project site owner may have continuing responsibility for land disturbing activities at a site after lots are sold.
Specific requirements for Erosion Control plans are outlined in the Stormwater Design Manual. The Hamilton County Surveyor's Office will be reviewing erosion plans for sufficiency for projects within its jurisdiction. An example of the Hamilton County Construction Plan Review form (PDF) can be downloaded online. Other forms (NOI, NOT, Public Notice Requirements, etc) can be downloaded at the IDEM website or contact the Hamilton County Surveyor's Office for copies. Detail sheets (Example A (PDF) and Example B (PDF)) that meet the Hamilton County requirements are available. While these are good examples of acceptable plan detail sheets that meet requirements, each project is different and requires a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan that is specific to the project site and conditions.
Illicit Discharge Ordinance
The Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping program includes an Illicit Discharge Ordinance, which was signed by the Hamilton County Commissioners on July 11, 2005. The Illicit Discharge Ordinance (5-09-05-A) (PDF) can be downloaded online. This ordinance addresses illegal discharges and dumping into storm drains, rivers, creeks, and other bodies of water within Hamilton County.
One of the products created by the Phase II Stormwater program was the Stormwater Manual and revised Stormwater Standard Details. This manual was written by the Hamilton County Stormwater Standards Committee, composed of the municipal staffs of Hamilton County and its surrounding entities. This information was compiled by Christopher B. Burke Engineering Limited. This document may include language that is similar to manuals in surrounding entities. However, these chapters are applicable only to unincorporated Hamilton County and regulated drains. Download the Stormwater Manual (PDF) (updated January 2009) from the Hamilton County Surveyor's Office. This manual is effective as of January 1, 2006 and will be modified at the direction of the Hamilton County Surveyor. Check this page for updates.