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    City of San Diego

    San Diego Stormwater Laws & Regulations

    The City of San Diego has enacted a Stormwater Ordinance in order to establish minimum stormwater management requirements and controls to protect and safeguard the general health, safety, and welfare of the public residing in watersheds within this jurisdiction.  The City of San Diego  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 San Diego will only provide construction permits to projects that establish a plan to manage stormwater runoff occurring during the construction process. The City of San Diego, 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 San Diego has the authority to inspect stormwater facilities and practices in order to ascertain that they are properly maintained and functioning.

    Excerpt-San Diego Stormwater Standards, 2016


    In May 2013, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board for the San Diego Region reissued (SDRWQCB) a municipal storm water, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems [MS4] Permit) that covered its region. The San Diego Region is comprised of San Diego, Orange, and Riverside County Copermittees. The MS4 Permit reissuance to the San Diego County Copermittees went into effect in 2013 (Order No. R9- 2013-0001).

    The reissued MS4 Permit updates and expands storm water requirements for new developments and redevelopments. The MS4 Permit was amended in February 2015 by Order R9-2015-0001, and in November 2015 by Order R9-2015-0100. As required by the reissued MS4 Permit, the Copermittees have prepared the Model Best Management Practices (BMP) Design Manual to replace the current Countywide Model Standard Urban Stormwater Mitigation Plan (SUSMP), dated March 25, 2011, which was based on the requirements of the 2007 MS4 Permit.

    The City of San Diego is required to adopt jurisdiction1 specific local BMP Design Manual. Part 1 of the Storm Water Standards is the adaption of the Model BMP Design Manual to the specific considerations for development projects within the City jurisdiction. Part 1 of the Storm Water Standards is designated as the City of San Diego BMP Design Manual (“manual”); this manual significantly conforms to the Model BMP Design Manual and will continue to be used in its present form until the next required permit update.

    What this manual is intended to address:

    This manual addresses, and provides guidance for complying with, updated onsite post-construction storm water requirements for Standard Projects and Priority Development Projects (PDPs), and provides updated procedures for planning, preliminary design, selection, and design of permanent storm water BMPs based on the performance standards presented in the MS4 Permit. The intended users of this manual include project applicants, for both private and public developments, their representatives responsible for preparation of Storm Water Quality Management Plans (SWQMPs) and the City staff personnel responsible for review of these plans and associated documents.

    Supplemental Documents:

    City of San Diego Stormwater Website

    Stormwater Standards Manual

    San Diego Municipal Code

    State of California Documents:

    California Stormwater Website

    Stormwater Multiple Application and Report Tracking System (SMARTS) Login