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    City of Columbia

    The Clean Water Act requires the City of Columbia to operate a stormwater management program for all surface runoff that enters the municipal separate storm sewer system ("MS4"). The City of Columbia 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 Columbia will only provide construction permits to projects that establish a plan to manage stormwater runoff occurring during the construction process. Post-construction stormwater regulations and applicable stormwater utility fees will also be enforced and collected by the city. The City of Columbia offers stormwater credits that reduce your stormwater fees in exchange for implementing specific stormwater best managment practices. The City of Columbia, 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.

     Permanent Stormwater System Maintenance and Responsibility Agreement 

    Under the South Carolina Stormwater Management and Sediment Reduction Act of 1991, Regulation 72‐308 requires the Landowner, its successors and assigns, including any homeowners association, shall adequately maintain the Stormwater management/Best Management Practices (BMP) facilities. This includes all pipes and channels built to convey Stormwater to the facility, as well as all structures, improvements, and vegetation provided to control the quantity and quality of the Stormwater. Adequate maintenance is herein defined as good working condition so that these facilities are performing their design functions.

    The Landowner, its successors and assigns, will perform the work necessary to keep these facilities in good working order as appropriate. In the event a maintenance schedule for the stormwater management/BMP facilities (including sediment removal) is outlined on the approved plans, the schedule will be followed.

    Ownership and city participation

    (a) Unless city ownership is established prior to the amendment of this article, all stormwater management systems and facilities located on any property within the city's jurisdiction shall be privately owned and maintained unless the director accepts the controls or structures for city ownership and maintenance. The City of Columbia owns or has legal access for purposes of operation, maintenance, and improvement of those systems and facilities which:

    (1) Are located within city-maintained public streets, rights-of-way; and easements;

    (2) Are subject to easements, rights-of-entry, rights-of-access, rights-of-use, or other permanent provisions for adequate access for operation, maintenance, and/or improvement of systems and facilities; or

    (3) Are located on public lands to which the city has adequate access for operation, maintenance, and/or improvement of systems and facilities.

    (b) The city reserves the right to accept or refuse ownership and maintenance of all or part of a stormwater system on any property not owned by the city.

    (c) Privately-owned stormwater management systems and facilities shall be maintained in accordance with the design and procedures set forth in the approved land disturbance plans. Operation, maintenance, and/or improvement of stormwater systems and facilities which are located on private property or public property not owned by the city and for which there has been no public dedication of such systems and facilities for operation, maintenance, and/or improvement of the systems and facilities shall be and remain the legal responsibility of the property owner.

    (d) A property owner or lessee may hire or contract others to perform necessary maintenance actions, but the city will hold the property owner or lessee as the responsible party should legal actions be necessary. The person(s) performing said work must be able to produce proof of any required trainings meeting NPDES MS4 permit conditions.

    (e) The city shall have the right, pursuant to the authority of this article, for its designated officers and employees to enter upon private property and public property owned by other than the city, upon reasonable notice to the owner thereof, to inspect the property and conduct surveys and engineering tests thereon in order to assure compliance with this article.

    (f) When the stormwater division determines that additional storage capacity or pollution reduction for on-site stormwater management is necessary in order to meet NPDES MS4 permit conditions, to enhance or provide for the public health, safety and general welfare, to correct existing water quantity and quality problems or to provide protection for future development, the city may require additional stormwater controls that may include additional storage or treatment capacity.

    (g) It is the express intent of this article to protect the public health, safety, and welfare of all properties and persons in general, but not to create any special duty or relationship with any individual person or to any specific property within or outside the boundaries of the city. The city expressly reserves the right to assert all available immunities and defenses in any action seeking to impose monetary damages upon the city, its officers, employees and agents arising out of any alleged failure or breach of duty or relationship as may now exist or hereafter be created.

    (h) To the extent any permit, plan approval, inspection or similar act is required by the city as a condition precedent to any activity or change upon property not owned by the city, pursuant to this or any other regulatory ordinance, regulation, or rule of the city or under federal or state law, the issuance of such permit, plan approval, or inspection shall not be deemed to constitute a warranty, express or implied, nor shall it afford the basis for any action, including any action based on failure to permit or negligent issuance of a permit, seeking the imposition of money damages against the city, its officers, employees, or agents.

    Stormwater Utility Fee

    The City of Columbia enacted a Stormwater Utility Fee July 1, 2002. All money collected from the fee to put towards funding stormwater related activities such as:

    • Designing and constructing capital improvement drainage projects
    • Routine cleaning, maintenance and repair of the City's stormwater drainage system
    • Developing an inventory of the City's stormwater drainage system
    • Master planning for capital improvements
    • Complying with the City's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System stormwater quality requirements


    Columbia Municipal Code

    Stormwater Management Utility Fee

    Stormwater Management and Sediment Reduction Regulations 

    Columbia Stormwater Management Plan

    Stormwater Homepage