Please submit your name and email to access this content

    City of Rockford

    The City of Rockford has enacted a Stormwater Ordinance in order to provide for the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the City of Rockford. The City of Rockford 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 Rockford will only provide construction permits to projects that establish a plan to manage stormwater runoff occurring during the construction process. The City of Rockford, 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 Rockford has the authority to inspect stormwater facilities and practices in order to ascertain that they properly maintained and functioning.

    Illicit Discharge

    Illicit discharges are more than just the dumping of hazardous materials.  It is any discharge that enters the City of Rockford's storm system that is not composed entirely of rainwater.  The City's storm system is not just curbs, gutters and inlets.  It's also driainage ways, ditches, creeks and other area water flows during a rain.  Waste that enters the City of Rockford's storm system does not get treated like sanitary waste.  Once pollutants enter the storm system it goes directly to the river untreated.

    The City of Rockford has specific requirements on what is allowed to be discharged into its storm system.  While some things are allowed, provided certain criterial are met, i.e. declorinated pool water, other discharges such as those from industries, requiring permitting from the City and in some cases, the Illinois EPA.



    The purpose of this article is to provide for the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the City of Rockford through the regulation of non-stormwater discharges to the storm drainage system to the maximum extent practicable as required by federal and state law. This article establishes methods for controlling the introduction of pollutants into the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) in order to comply with requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit process. The objectives of this article are:

    (1) To regulate the contribution of pollutants to the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) by stormwater discharges by any user;

    (2) To prohibit illicit connections and discharges to the municipal separate storm sewer system; and

    (3) To establish legal authority to carry out all inspection, surveillance and monitoring procedures necessary to ensure compliance with this article.

    Discharge prohibitions.

    (a) Prohibition of illegal discharges. No person shall discharge or cause to be discharged into the storm drain system or watercourses any materials, including but not limited to pollutants or waters containing any pollutants that cause or contribute to a violation of applicable water quality standards, other than stormwater.

    The commencement, conduct or continuance of any such illegal discharge to the storm drain system is prohibited except as described as follows:

    (1) The following discharges are exempt from discharge prohibitions established by this article: water line flushing or other potable water sources, landscape irrigation or lawn watering, diverted stream flows, rising ground water, ground water infiltration to storm drains, uncontaminated pumped ground water, foundation or footing drains (not including active groundwater dewatering systems), crawl space pumps, air conditioning condensation, springs, noncommercial washing of vehicles, natural riparian habitat or wet-land flows, swimming pools (if dechlorinated-typically less than one PPM chlorine), firefighting activities, and any other water source not containing pollutants.

    (2) Discharges specified in writing by the authorized enforcement agency as being necessary to protect public health and safety.

    (3) Dye testing is an allowable discharge, but requires a verbal notification to the authorized enforcement agency prior to the time of the test.

    (4) The prohibition shall not apply to any non-stormwater discharge permitted under an NPDES permit, waiver, or waste discharge order issued to the discharger and administered under the authority of the Federal Environmental Protection Agency, provided that the discharger is in full compliance with all requirements of the permit, waiver, or order and other applicable laws and regulations, and provided that written approval has been granted for any discharge to the storm drain system.

    (b) Prohibition of illicit connections.

    (1) No person shall construct, use, maintain or allow the continued existence of an illicit connection to the storm drain system.

    (2) This prohibition expressly includes, without limitation, illicit connections made in the past, regardless of whether the connection was permissible under law or practices applicable or prevailing at the time of connection.

    (3) A person is considered to be in violation of this article if the person connects a line conveying sewage to the storm drain system, or allows such a connection to continue.

    Suspension of access to the storm drain system.

    (a) Suspension due to illicit discharges in emergency situations. The administrator may, without prior notice, suspend discharge access to the storm drain system to a person when such suspension is necessary to stop an actual or threatened discharge which presents or may present imminent and substantial danger to the environment, or to the health or welfare of persons, or to the storm drain system or waters of the United States. If the violator fails to comply with a suspension order issued in an emergency, the authorized enforcement agency may take such steps as deemed necessary to prevent or minimize damage to the storm drain system or waters of the United States, or to minimize danger to persons.

    (b) Suspension due to the detection of illicit discharge. Any person discharging to the storm drain system in violation of this article may have their access to the storm drain system terminated if such termination would abate or reduce an illicit discharge. The authorized enforcement agency will notify a violator of the proposed termination of its MS4 access. The violator may petition the administrator for a reconsideration and hearing. A person commits an offense if the person reinstates access to the storm drain system to premises terminated pursuant to this section, without the prior approval of the administrator.

    Industrial or construction activity discharges.

    Any person subject to an industrial or construction activity NPDES stormwater discharge permit shall comply with all provisions of such permit. Proof of compliance with said permit may be required in a form acceptable to the administrator prior to the allowing of discharges to the MS4.

    Monitoring of discharges.

    Access to facilities.

    (1) The administrator shall be permitted to enter and inspect facilities subject to regulation under this article as often as may be necessary to determine compliance with this article. If a discharger has security measures in force which require proper identification and clearance before entry into its premises, the discharger shall make the necessary arrangements to allow access to representatives of the authorized enforcement agency.

    (2) Facility operators shall allow administrator ready access to all parts of the premises for the purposes of inspection, sampling, examination and copying of records that must be kept under the conditions of an NPDES permit to discharge stormwater, and the performance of any additional duties as defined by state and federal law.

    (3) The administrator shall have the right to set up on any permitted facility such devices as are necessary in the opinion of the authorized enforcement agency to conduct monitoring and/or sampling of the facility's stormwater discharge.

    (4) The administrator has the right to require the discharger to install monitoring equipment as necessary. The facility's sampling and monitoring equipment shall be maintained at all times in a safe and proper operating condition by the discharger at its own expense. All devices used to measure stormwater flow and quality shall be calibrated to ensure their accuracy.

    (5) Any temporary or permanent obstruction to safe and easy access to the facility to be inspected and/or sampled shall be promptly removed by the operator at the written or oral request of the administrator and shall not be replaced. The costs of clearing such access shall be borne by the operator.

    (6) Unreasonable delays in allowing administrator access to a permitted facility is a violation of a stormwater discharge permit and of this article. A person who is the operator of a facility with a NPDES permit to discharge stormwater associated with industrial activity commits an offense if the person denies the administrator reasonable access to the permitted facility for the purpose of conducting any activity authorized or required by this article.

    (7) If the administrator has been refused access to any part of the premises from which stormwater is discharged, and he/she is able to demonstrate probable cause to believe that there may be a violation of this article, or that there is a need to inspect and/or sample as part of a routine inspection and sampling program designed to verify compliance with this article or any order issued hereunder, or to protect the overall public health, safety, and welfare of the community, then the authorized enforcement agency may seek issuance of a search warrant from any court of competent jurisdiction.

    Requirements to prevent, control, and reduce stormwater pollutants by the use of best management practices.

    The owner or operator of a commercial or industrial establishment shall provide, at their own expense, reasonable protection from accidental discharge of prohibited materials or other wastes into the municipal storm drain system or watercourses through the use of these structural and nonstructural BMPs. Further, any person responsible for a property or premise, which is, or may be, the source of an illicit discharge, may be required to implement, at said person's expense, additional structural and non-structural BMPs to prevent the further discharge of pollutants to the municipal separate storm sewer system. Compliance with all terms and conditions of a valid NPDES permit authorizing the discharge of stormwater associated with industrial activity, to the extent practicable, shall be deemed compliance with the provisions of this section. These BMPs shall be part of a stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) as necessary for compliance with requirements of the NPDES permit.

    Watercourse protection.

    Every person owning property through which a watercourse passes, or such person's lessee, shall keep and maintain that part of the watercourse within the property free of trash, debris, excessive vegetation, and other obstacles that would pollute, contaminate, or significantly retard the flow of water through the watercourse. In addition, the owner or lessee shall maintain existing privately owned structures within or adjacent to a watercourse, so that such structures will not become a hazard to the use, function, or physical integrity of the watercourse.

    Notification of spills.

    Notwithstanding other requirements of law, as soon as any person responsible for a facility or operation, or responsible for emergency response for a facility or operation has information of any known or suspected release of materials which are resulting or may result in illegal discharges of pollutants discharging into stormwater, the storm drain system, or water of the U.S. said person shall take all necessary steps to ensure the discovery, containment, and cleanup of such release. In the event of such a release of hazardous materials said person shall immediately notify emergency response agencies of the occurrence via emergency dispatch services. In the event of a release of non-hazardous materials, said person shall notify the administrator in person or by phone or facsimile no later than the next business day. Notifications in person or by phone shall be confirmed by written notice addressed and mailed to the administrator within three business days of the phone notice. If the discharge of prohibited materials emanates from a commercial or industrial establishment, the owner or operator of such establishment shall also retain an on-site written record of the discharge and the actions taken to prevent its recurrence. Such records shall be retained for at least three years.


    (a) Notice of violation. Whenever the administrator finds that a person has violated a prohibition or failed to meet a requirement of this article, the administrator may order compliance by written notice of violation to the responsible person. Such notice may require without limitation:

    (1) The performance of monitoring, analyses, and reporting;

    (2) The elimination of illicit connections or discharges;

    (3) That violating discharges, practices, or operations shall cease and desist;

    (4) The abatement or remediation of stormwater pollution or contamination hazards and the restoration of any affected property; and

    (5) Payment of a fine and administrative and remediation costs; and

    (6) The implementation of source control or treatment BMPs.

    If abatement of a violation and/or restoration of affected property is required, the notice shall set forth a deadline within which such remediation or restoration must be completed. Said notice shall further advise that, should the violator fail to remediate or restore within the established deadline, the work may be done by a designated governmental agency or a contractor and the expense thereof shall be charged to the violator.

    (b) Hearing regarding of notice of violation. Any person receiving a notice of violation shall be entitled to a hearing on the determination of the administrator before the code hearing officer.

    Enforcement measures after appeal.

    If the violation has not been corrected within ten days of the decision of code hearing officer, then representatives of the administrator may enter upon the subject private property and are authorized to take any and all measures necessary to abate the violation and/or restore the property. It shall be unlawful for any person, owner, agent or person in possession of any premises to refuse to allow the government agency or designated contractor to enter upon the premises for the purposes set forth above.

    Cost of abatement of the violation.

    Within 30 days after abatement of the violation, the owner of the property or other person responsible for the violation will be notified of the cost of abatement, including administrative costs. The amount of costs may be appealed to the code hearing officer. Any person violating any of the provisions of this article shall become liable to the city by reason of such violation.

    Injunctive relief.

    It shall be unlawful for any person to violate any provision or fail to comply with any of the requirements of this article. If a person has violated or continues to violate the provisions of this article, the administrator may petition a court of proper jurisdiction for a preliminary or permanent injunction restraining the person from activities which would create further violations or compelling the person to perform abatement or remediation of the violation.

    Violations deemed a public nuisance.

    In addition to the enforcement processes and penalties provided, any condition caused or permitted to exist in violation of any of the provisions of this article is a threat to public health, safety, and welfare, and is declared and deemed a nuisance, and may be summarily abated or restored at the violator's expense, and/or a civil action to abate, enjoin, or otherwise compel the cessation of such nuisance may be taken.


    Any person that has violated or continues to violate this article shall be liable criminal prosecution to the fullest extent of the law, and shall be subject to a fine of not to exceed $750.00 per violation per day.


    Rockford's Stormwater Management Program

    Rockford Stormwater Management Ordinanace