Private Stormwater Basin Maintenance Assistance Program

A.) Definitions:

1.) Private Storm Water Retention Basins: Basins designated via plat notes, or other official documents or agreements, to be maintained by the property owner(s), residential, commercial or otherwise.

2.) One-time maintenance: The city’s one-time effort to assist in restoring the proper function of a private retention or detention basin, under conditions stipulated herein, after which property owners resume their maintenance responsibilities.

B.) Discussion:

1.) Neglect or long periods of inadequate maintenance of storm water retention basins can result in vegetative growth or erosion that exceeds the wherewithal of property owners to reestablish a maintainable basin. However, there are in excess of 300 private retention areas within the city/city annex limits. A large number of private storm water retention basins represents a maintenance burden that cannot feasibly shift from property owners to the public. Available labor and financial resources are already fully committed to various aspects of public rights of way maintenance.

2.) Basins are intended to retain specified volumes of storm water so that water generated by storms up to either the 100-year / 4 inches / 3 hours (for detention basins with a dry well) or 100-year / 2.95 inches / 1 hour (for retention basins) may safely and naturally seep or drain from the basin. Some basins include drains that allow basins to drain more rapidly. Large amounts of vegetative deadfall can reduce a retention basin’s capacity and risk displacement of surface water to the ground the water via other means, leading to higher detrimental nutrient loading. And, in basins that feature drains, excessive erosion can plug drains or increase harmful sediment loading by direct discharge to the ground water. Consequently, there may be instances in which public funding for one-time maintenance of overgrown or eroded private basins is in the public interest to forestall further degradation that could risk EPA enforcement for noncompliance with the NPDES Phase II Storm Water Regulations.

C.) The Program:

1.) Project Nomination: Citizens may nominate retention/detention basins on property they own wholly, or in part, for one-time, public funds assisted maintenance during an annually announced application period.

2.) Project Qualification: To qualify for this program at least one of the following thresholds must be met, as assessed by Public Works:

  1. At least 20% of the basin’s intended capacity has been lost to deadfall or
  2. Eroded areas pose likely threat of sediment discharge to the ground water, or
  3. The basin’s condition poses a public safety hazard.
Public funds may not be used to achieve purely aesthetic enhancement of the basin or surrounding area. The Public Works Department will have sole discretion in assessing whether vegetative fall, erosion or safety conditions meet thresholds for expenditure of public funds, and whether a project has restored the basin to safe, NPDES compliance.

3.) Project Funding: 

  1. The city may annually allocate funds to a program of one-time private retention/detention basin maintenance support.
  2. Within funds allocated to the program, the city will fund up to 50% of a project’s total cost, up to a maximum of $3,000.00.
  3. Private parties must provide their cost share to the city before work begins.

4.) Project Work:

  1. Public Works and the owners of the private basin will jointly contract with a private contractor to effect basin improvements via City of Bowling Green procurement procedures.
  2. Public Works will have sole discretion in defining the scope and characteristics of the work necessary to bring the basin into safe NPDES compliance, approving designs or construction plans as necessary, and inspecting and accepting work before any payments are made.

5.) Project Prioritization:

  1. Public works will score and prioritize each project request against a set of criteria (established herein). In the event of tie scores, the project with the earliest application date will receive higher priority. Public Work will allocate funds to each project in priority order until program funds are exhausted. The city will automatically reconsider unfunded projects in future budget years. 
  2. Project scoring criteria:
    1. Cost Participation by Property Owners - 10 points (max):
      Points awarded = (% of property owner funding x 10)
    2. Capacity degradation 10 points (max): Extent to which the capacity of the basin has been reduced as determined by Public Works.
      Points awarded = (Estimated % capacity lost x 10)
    3. Erosion -10 points (max): Extent (percent of surface area) of erosion within the basin.
      Points awarded = (Estimated % surface erosion x 10)
    4. Safety -10 Points (max): Degree of safety hazard posed (Scored in consultation with the Safety Manager):
      1. None =  0 points awarded
      2. Low =  1 to 3 points awarded
      3. Medium = 4 to 6 points awarded
      4. High =  7 to 10 points awarded
    5. Long Term Maintenance: It will be the duty of the private property owner(s) to resume adequate maintenance of the basin after any one-time maintenance project. Should the basin area return to a state in which it again poses a risk of NPDES non-compliance or a public safety hazard the City will take appropriate code enforcement action.
For more information or to nominate a basin in need of maintenance, contact Stormwater Management at 270-393-3071.
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