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    City of Cincinnati

    The City of Cincinnati has enacted Stormwater Ordinances in order to provide for effective management and financing of a stormwater system within the city; to provide mechanism for mitigating the damaging effects of uncontrolled and unplanned stormwater runoff; to improve the public health, safety and welfare by providing for the safe and efficient capture and conveyance of stormwater runoff and the correction of stormwater problems; to authorize the establishment and implementation of a master plan for storm drainage, including design, coordination construction, management, operation, maintenance, inspection and enforcement; to establish reasonable storm drainage service charges based on each property's contribution of stormwater runoff to the system and use and benefit of services and facilities; and to encourage and facilitate urban water resources management techniques, including detention of stormwater runoff, minimization of the need to construct storm sewers, and the enhancement of the environment.

    Excerpt from Cincinnati Stormwater Management Code

    Chapter 720 Stormwater Management

    Sec. 720-13. - Private Facilities.

    The owner shall be responsible for private drainage facilities within the public right-of-way, including but not limited to downspout lines, sump lines, foundation drains, yard drains, patio and porch drains.

    The owner shall clean and maintain the private facilities as required to ensure proper operation. The utility division may repair private facilities within the right-of-way when the utility engineer has determined that such repair is needed to abate a risk to the public or public property. In such circumstances, the utility division may bill the owner of the private facility for all repair costs.

    The owner shall place no structures or plantings that interfere with the drainage facility or its operation and maintenance.

    (Ordained by Ord. No. 281-1985, eff. July 19, 1985; a. Ord. No. 152-1997, eff. June 20, 1997; a. Ord. No. 056-2012, § 10, eff. March 29, 2012)

    Sec. 720-43. - Inspection and Surveillance.

    The utility engineer shall inspect permit premises and enforce all laws relating to construction, alteration, repair, removal, demolition, equipment, use, location, and maintenance of the drainage facilities except as may be otherwise provided for. The utility engineer shall, when the interests of the city so require, make investigations in connection with matters referred to in the code and render written reports on the same. For the purpose of enforcing compliance with the law, the utility engineer shall issue such notices or orders as may be necessary.

    The utility engineer shall keep careful and comprehensive records of applications permits, inspections, reports rendered, notices, orders issued, and approvals. All such records shall be open for public inspection.

    (Ordained by Ord. No. 281-1985, eff. July 19, 1985)

    Sec. 720-44. - Prohibition of Illicit Discharges and Connections.


    Illicit Discharges: No pollutant or water containing any pollutant, including the backwash water from the cleaning of private residential swimming pool filtration medium and filter elements, other than stormwater shall be discharged, caused or threatened to be discharged to the stormwater system. For the purposes of this section, the following non-stormwater sources are not pollutants:

    (1) Water line flushing, landscape irrigation, diverted stream flows, rising ground waters, uncontaminated ground water infiltration [as defined at 40 CFR §35.2005(20)], uncontaminated pumped ground water, discharges from potable water sources, foundation drains, air conditioning condensation, irrigation water, springs, water from crawl space pumps, footing drains, lawn watering, non-commercial car washing, flows from riparian habitats and wetlands, dechlorinated swimming pool discharges, street wash water, and discharges or flows from fire fighting activities.

    (2) Water associated with dye testing, provided the dye has been approved by the utility engineer and prior written notification of the day and time of testing has been provided to the utility engineer.

    (3) Discharges permitted under a valid National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, waiver, or waste discharge order administered by the United States or Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, provided that the discharger is in compliance with all requirements of the permit or order and written approval has been granted by the utility engineer for any such discharge.

    (4) Discharges from an existing Household Sewage Disposal System, provided the Household Sewage Disposal System is being operated with a permit from the Cincinnati Board of Health.

    (5) Discharges of non-backwash water from private residential swimming pools, provided the swimming pool water is dechlorinated by resting the water for at least 48 hours following the addition of chlorine or the chlorine level is below 0.1 milligrams per liter, and provided that the pH of any non-backwash swimming pool water discharged to the stormwater system shall not be less than 6.5 or greater than 8.5 at the time of the discharge.


    Notification of Illicit Discharge: A person responsible for an illicit discharge shall notify the utility division immediately of such illicit discharge. This notification shall be followed, within 15 days of the date of occurrence, by a detailed written statement from the person responsible describing the causes of the discharge and the measures being taken to reduce, eliminate and prevent future occurrences of illicit discharges. The detailed written statement must be retained by the person responsible for three years from the date of the illicit discharge if the illicit discharge originated from a commercial or industrial establishment.


    Illicit Connections: No pipe, ditch, drain, conveyance, device, outlet or accessory shall be connected directly or indirectly to the stormwater system that will discharge any pollutant or water containing any pollutant other than stormwater into the stormwater system. No illicit connection shall be constructed, used, operated, maintained or otherwise continued in existence.

    (Ordained by Ord. No. 056-2012, § 15, eff. March 29, 2012)

    Sec. 720-45. - Notice of Violations.

    When the utility engineer finds the drainage facility, or the construction thereof, is contrary to the approved plans, or presents an unsafe or dangerous condition in connection with the provisions of this code or of any law or ordinance relating to the same subject matter, or finds an illicit discharge or illicit connection, the engineer shall give written notice to the owner of the premises. In addition to specifying a reasonable time in which to conform to the plans or the code, the notice shall:

    1. State where and in what respect the work does not conform to the approved plans, or state the defective condition and law violated; or
    2. State the nature of the illicit discharge and law violated; or
    3. State the illicit connection and law violated.

    In every instance, a revocation notice of the permit shall be in writing and shall be served upon the owner, agent, or the person having charge of the work. A revocation notice shall also be posted alongside the permit. After the notice is received or posted, it shall be unlawful for any person to proceed with any operation for which such permit was issued. No part of the fees for such permit shall be returned.

    Notice, as required by this provision, is to be served on the owner, agent, contractor or other person responsible for the work or violation related to this chapter, by personal delivery or by certified mail addressed to the last-known place of residence or place of business.

    (Ordained by Ord. No. 281-1985, eff. July 19, 1985; a. Ord. No. 056-2012, § 16, eff. March 29, 2012)

    Sec. 720-47. - Right of Entry for Survey and Examination.

    After presenting proper credentials and securing permission, the employees of the utility division or its agents, including contractors and their employees, consultants and their employees, may enter upon lands within the city to make surveys and examinations to accomplish the necessary preliminary findings to establish a master plan and for detailed analysis to prepare final plans and specifications for the proposed improvements.

    Where improvements are made that require periodic maintenance or inspection upon the lands by the utility division, the owner of such lands shall grant the city a perpetual easement and right of entry around and access to any stormwater channel or facility, including storm sewers.

    (Ordained by Ord. No. 281-1985, eff. July 19, 1985)

    Sec. 720-48. - Right of Entry for Enforcement.

    The employees of the utility division or its agents may enter upon lands at any reasonable time in the performance of their duties in the enforcement of Chapter 720, except that no such employee shall enter a building until the employee has identified himself or herself and secured permission from the owner, occupant or other person in control of the building to enter the building. Permission to enter from the owner, occupant, or other person in control of the building shall not be required if the employee is entering the building in the execution of a search warrant issued by a judge or magistrate authorizing entry and inspection, in accordance with law and utility division policy.

    Before entering upon a premises or while on a premises in the performance of enforcement of Chapter 720, an employee of the utility division or its agent shall show his or her department credentials upon request by the owner or occupants of the premises involved or by the contractor performing work on the premises.

    (Ordained by Ord. No. 056-2012, § 17, eff. March 29, 2012)


    City of Cincinnati Stormwater Management Code

    City of Cincinnati Stormwater Website