COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
    DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
    HARRISBURG, PENNSYLVANIA
    STORM WATER
    MANAGEMENT
    ACT
    OFFICE OF WATER MANAGEMENT
    BUREAU OF WATERSHED MANAGEMENT

    STORM WATER MANAGEMENT ACT
    Act of Oct. 4, 1978, P.L. 864, No. 167
    AN ACT
    This is not the official version and we are not responsible for any
    errors in this publication. Any discrepancies between this version
    and the official version will be resolved in favor of the official
    ve rs i o n .
    COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA
    DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
    OFFICE OF WATER MANAGEMENT
    BUREAU OF WATERSHED MANAGEMENT
    DIVISION OF WATERWAYS, WETLANDS AND
    STORMWATER MANAGEMENT
    P.O. BOX 8775
    HARRISBURG, PA 17105-8775

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    STORM WATER MANAGEMENT ACT
    Act of Oct. 4, 1978, P.L. 864, No. 167
    AN ACT
    Providing for the regulation of land and water use for flood control and
    storm water management purposes, imposing duties and conferring
    powers on the Department of Environmental Resources,
    municipalities and counties, providing for enforcement, and making
    appropriations.
    TABLE OF CONTENTS
    Section 1.
    Short title.
    Section 2.
    Statement of legislative findings.
    Section 3.
    Purpose and policy.
    Section 4.
    Definitions.
    Section 5.
    Watershed storm water plans and contents.
    Section 6. Municipal and public participation in watershed
    planning.
    Section 7.
    Joint plans and coordination of planning.
    Section 8.
    Adoption and amendment.
    Section 9.
    Review and approval by the department.
    Section 10.
    Failure to submit plan; mandamus.
    Section 11.
    Effect of watershed storm water plans.
    Section 12. Failure of municipalities to adopt implementing
    ordinances.
    Section 13.
    Duty of persons engaged in the development of land.
    Section 14.
    Powers and duties of the Department of Environmental
    Resources.
    Section 15.
    Civil remedies.
    Section 16.
    Preservation of existing rights and remedies.
    Section 17. Grants and reimbursements to municipalities and
    counties.
    Section 18.
    Appropriations.
    Section 19.
    Repealer and savings clause.
    Section 20.
    Effective date.

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    The General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
    hereby enacts as follows:
    Section 1.
    Short title.
    This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Storm Water
    Management Act."
    Section 2.
    Statement of legislative findings.
    The General Assembly finds that:
    (1) Inadequate management of accelerated runoff of storm
    water resulting from development throughout a watershed increases
    flood flows and velocities, contributes to erosion and sedimentation,
    overtaxes the carrying capacity of streams and storm sewers, greatly
    increases the cost of public facilities to carry and control storm water,
    undermines flood plain management and flood control efforts in
    downstream communities, reduces ground-water recharge, and
    threatens public health and safety.
    (2) A comprehensive program of storm water management,
    including reasonable regulation of development and activities causing
    accelerated runoff, is fundamental to the public health, safety and
    welfare and the protection of the people of the Commonwealth, their
    resources and the environment.
    Section 3.
    Purpose and policy.
    The policy and purpose of this act is to:
    (1) Encourage planning and management of storm water
    runoff in each watershed which is consistent with sound water and land
    use practices.
    (2) Authorize a comprehensive program of storm water
    management designated to preserve and restore the flood carrying
    capacity of Commonwealth streams; to preserve to the maximum extent
    practicable natural storm water runoff regimes and natural course,
    current and cross-section of water of the Commonwealth; and to protect
    and conserve ground waters and ground-water recharge areas.
    (3) Encourage local administration and management of storm
    water consistent with the Commonwealth's duty as trustee of natural
    resources and the people's constitutional right to the preservation of
    natural, economic, scenic, aesthetic, recreational and historic values of
    the environment.
    Section 4.
    Definitions.
    The following words and phrases when used in this act shall have,
    unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the meanings given to
    them in this section:
    "Department." The Department of Environmental Resources of the
    Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

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    "Municipality." A city, borough, town or township, or any county or
    other governmental unit when acting as an agent thereof, or any
    combination thereof acting jointly.
    "Pennsylvania Municipalities Planning Code." The act of July 31,
    1968 (P.L.805, No.247), as amended.
    "Person." An individual, partnership, public or private association
    or corporation, firm, trust, estate, municipality, governmental unit, public
    utility or any other legal entity whatsoever which is recognized by law as
    the subject of rights and duties. Whenever used in any section
    prescribing or imposing a penalty, the term "person" shall include the
    members of a partnership, the officers, members, servants and agents
    of an association, officers, agents and servants of a corporation, and the
    officers of a municipality or county, but shall exclude any department,
    board, bureau or agency of the Commonwealth.
    "Public utility service." The rendering of the following services for
    the public:
    (1) gas, electricity or steam production, generation,
    transmission or distribution;
    (2) water diversion, pumping, impoundment, or distribution;
    (3) railroad transportation of passengers or property;
    (4) operation of a canal, turnpike, tunnel, bridge, wharf or
    similar structure;
    (5) transportation of natural or artificial gas, crude oil, gasoline
    or petroleum products, materials for refrigeration or other fluid
    substances by pipeline or conduit;
    (6) telephone or telegraph communications; and
    (7) sewage collection, treatment or disposal.
    "Storm water." Drainage runoff from the surface of the land
    resulting from precipitation or snow or ice melt.
    "Watershed." The entire region or area drained by a river or other
    body of water, whether natural or artificial.
    "Watershed storm water plan." A plan for storm water management
    adopted by a county in accordance with section 5.
    Compiler's Note:
    The Department of Environmental Resources,
    referred to in the def. of "department," was abolished by
    Act 18 of 1995. Its functions were transferred to the
    Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and
    the Department of Environmental Protection.
    Section 5.
    Watershed storm water plans and contents.
    (a) Within two years following the promulgation of guidelines by
    the department pursuant to section 14, each county shall prepare and
    adopt a watershed storm water management plan for each watershed
    located in the county as designated by the department, in consultation
    with the municipalities located within each watershed, and shall
    periodically review and revise such plan at least every five years. The
    department may, for good cause shown, grant an extension of time to

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    any county for the preparation and adoption of a watershed storm water
    management plan.
    (b) Each watershed storm water plan shall include, but is not
    limited to:
    (1) a survey of existing runoff characteristics in small as well
    as large storms, including the impact of soils, slopes, vegetation and
    existing development;
    (2) a survey of existing significant obstructions and their
    capacities;
    (3) an assessment of projected and alternative land
    development patterns in the watershed, and the potential impact of
    runoff quantity, velocity and quality;
    (4) an analysis of present and projected development in flood
    hazard areas, and its sensitivity to damages from future flooding or
    increased runoff;
    (5) a survey of existing drainage problems and proposed
    solutions;
    (6) a review of existing and proposed storm water collection
    systems and their impacts;
    (7) an assessment of alternative runoff control techniques and
    their efficiency in the particular watershed;
    (8) an identification of existing and proposed State, Federal
    and local flood control projects located in the watershed and their
    design capacities;
    (9) a designation of those areas to be served by storm water
    collection and control facilities within a ten-year period, an estimate of
    the design capacity and costs of such facilities, a schedule and
    proposed methods of financing the development, construction and
    operation of such facilities, and an identification of the existing or
    proposed institutional arrangements to implement and operate the
    facilities;
    (10) an identification of flood plains within the watershed;
    (11) criteria and standards for the control of storm water runoff
    from existing and new development which are necessary to minimize
    dangers to property and life and carry out the purposes of this act;
    (12) priorities for implementation of action within each plan;
    and
    (13) provisions for periodically reviewing, revising and updating
    the plan.
    (c) Each watershed storm water plan shall:
    (1) contain such provisions as are reasonably necessary to
    manage storm water such that development or activities in each
    municipality within the watershed do not adversely affect health, safety
    and property in other municipalities within the watershed and in basins
    to which the watershed is tributary; and
    (2) consider and be consistent with other existing municipal,
    county, regional and State environmental and land use plans.

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    Section 6.
    Municipal and public participation in watershed
    planning.
    (a) The county shall establish, in conjunction with each watershed
    storm water planning program, a watershed plan advisory committee
    composed of at least one representative from each municipality within
    the watershed, the county soil and water conservation district and such
    other agencies or groups as are necessary and proper to carry out the
    purposes of the committee.
    (b) Each committee shall be responsible for advising the county
    throughout the planning process, evaluating policy and project
    alternatives, coordinating the watershed storm water plans with other
    municipal plans and programs, and reviewing the plan prior to adoption.
    (c) Prior to adoption, each plan shall be reviewed by the official
    planning agency and governing body of each municipality, the county
    planning commission and regional planning agencies for consistency
    with other plans and programs affecting the watershed. All such reviews
    shall be submitted to the department with the proposed plan.
    Section 7.
    Joint plans and coordination of planning.
    Where a watershed includes land in more than one county, the
    department may require the affected counties to prepare, adopt and
    submit a joint plan for the entire watershed.
    Section 8.
    Adoption and amendment.
    (a) Prior to adoption or amendment of a watershed storm water
    plan, the county shall hold a public hearing pursuant to public notice of
    not less than two weeks. The notice shall contain a brief summary of
    the principal provisions of the plan, and a reference to the places within
    each affected municipality where copies may be examined or purchased
    at cost.
    (b) Adoption or amendment of the plan shall be by resolution
    carried by an affirmative vote of at least a majority of the members of
    the county governing body. The resolution shall refer expressly to the
    maps, charts, textual matter and other materials intended to form the
    whole or part of the official plan, or amendment thereto, and the action
    shall be recorded on the adopted plan, part or amendment.
    Section 9.
    Review and approval by the department.
    (a) The department shall, in consultation with the Department of
    Community Affairs, review all watershed storm water plans and
    revisions or amendments thereto. It shall approve the plan if it
    determines:
    (1) that the plan is consistent with municipal flood plain
    management plans, State programs which regulate dams,
    encroachments, and water obstructions, and State and Federal flood
    control programs; and

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    (2) that the plan is compatible with other watershed storm
    water plans for the basin in which the watershed is located, and is
    consistent with the policies and purposes of this act.
    (b) Should the department neither approve or disapprove a
    watershed plan or amendment or revision thereto within 90 days of its
    submission to the department, the plan or amendment or revision shall
    be deemed to be approved.
    (c) Any person aggrieved by a final decision of the department
    approving or disapproving a watershed plan or amendment thereto, may
    appeal the decision to the Environmental Hearing Board in accordance
    with the provisions of section 1921-A of the act of April 9, 1929
    (P.L.177, No.175), known as "The Administrative Code of 1929," and
    the "Administrative Agency Law." ((c) repealed in part Oct. 5, 1980,
    P.L.693, No.142)
    Compiler's Note:
    The Department of Community Affairs, referred
    to in subsec. (a), was abolished by Act 58 of 1996 and its
    functions were transferred to the Department of
    Community and Economic Development.
    Section 10.
    Failure to submit plan; mandamus.
    The department may institute an action in mandamus to compel
    counties to adopt and submit plans in accordance with this act.
    (10 repealed in part Oct. 5, 1980, P.L.693, No.142)
    Compiler's Note:
    Section 504 of Act 164 of 1980 provided that
    section 10 is repealed insofar as it is inconsistent with
    Act 164.
    Section 11.
    Effect of watershed storm water plans.
    (a) After adoption and approval of a watershed storm water plan in
    accordance with this act, the location, design and construction within the
    watershed of storm water management systems, obstructions, flood
    control projects, subdivisions and major land developments, highways
    and transportation facilities, facilities for the provision of public utility
    services and facilities owned or financed in whole or in part by funds
    from the Commonwealth shall be conducted in a manner consistent with
    the watershed storm water plan.
    (b) Within six months following adoption and approval of the
    watershed storm water plan, each municipality shall adopt or amend,
    and shall implement such ordinances and regulations, including zoning,
    subdivision and development, building code, and erosion and
    sedimentation ordinances, as are necessary to regulate development
    within the municipality in a manner consistent with the applicable
    watershed storm water plan and the provisions of this act.

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    Section 12.
    Failure of municipalities to adopt implementing
    ordinances.
    (a) If the department finds that a municipality has failed to adopt or
    amend, and implement such ordinances and regulations as required by
    section 11, the department shall provide written notice of violation to the
    m unic ipali t y.
    (b) Within 60 days of receipt of the notice of violation, the
    municipality shall report to the department the action which it is taking to
    comply with the requirement or regulation.
    (c) If within 180 days of receipt of the notice of violation, the
    municipality has failed to comply with such requirement or regulation, as
    determined by the department, the department shall notify the State
    Treasurer to withhold payment of all funds payable to the municipality
    from the General Fund. Provided, that prior to any withholding of funds,
    the department shall give both notice to the municipality of its intention
    to notify the State Treasurer to withhold payment of funds and the right
    to appeal the decision of the department within the 180-day period
    following notification. The hearing shall be conducted before the
    Environmental Hearing Board in accordance with the provisions of the
    act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177, No.175), known as "The Administrative
    Code of 1929," and Chapters 5 and 7 of Title 2 (Administrative Law and
    Procedure), of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes. If an appeal is
    filed within the 180-day period, funds shall not be withheld from the
    municipality until the appeal is decided.
    (d) Any person, other than a municipality, aggrieved by an action
    of the department shall have the right within 30 days of receipt of notice
    of such action to appeal such action to the Environmental Hearing
    Board, pursuant to section 1921-A, act of April 9, 1929 (P.L.177,
    No.175), known as "The Administrative Code of 1929," and the
    provisions of Chapters 5 and 7 of Title 2 (Administrative Law and
    Procedure) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes.
    Section 13.
    Duty of persons engaged in the development of
    land.
    Any landowner and any person engaged in the alteration or
    development of land which may affect storm water runoff characteristics
    shall implement such measures consistent with the provisions of the
    applicable watershed storm water plan as are reasonably necessary to
    prevent injury to health, safety or other property. Such measures shall
    include such actions as are required:
    (1) to assure that the maximum rate of storm water runoff is
    no greater after development than prior to development activities; or
    (2) to manage the quantity, velocity and direction of resulting
    storm water runoff in a manner which otherwise adequately protects
    health and property from possible injury.

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    Section 14. Powers and duties of the Department of
    Environmental Resources.
    (a) The Department of Environmental Resources shall have the
    power and its duty shall be to:
    (1) Coordinate the management of storm water in the
    Commonwealth.
    (2) Provide in cooperation with the Department of Community
    Affairs technical assistance to counties and municipalities in
    implementing this act.
    (3) After notice and public hearing and subject to the
    requirements of subsection (b) of this section, publish guidelines for
    storm water management, and model storm water ordinances for use by
    counties and municipalities.
    (4) Review, in cooperation with the Department of Community
    Affairs, and approve all watershed plans and revisions thereto.
    (5) Cooperate with appropriate agencies of the United States
    or of other states or any interstate agencies with respect to the planning
    and management of storm water.
    (6) Serve as the agency of the Commonwealth for the receipt
    of moneys from the Federal Government or other public or private
    agencies or persons and expend such moneys as appropriated by the
    General Assembly for studies and research with respect to planning and
    management of storm water.
    (7) Conduct studies and research regarding the causes,
    effects and hazards of storm water and methods for storm water
    management.
    (8) Conduct and supervise educational programs with respect
    to storm water management.
    (9) Require the submission of records and periodic reports by
    county and municipal agencies as necessary to carry out the purposes
    of this act.
    (10) After notice and hearing and with the approval of the
    Environmental Quality Board, designate watersheds for the purpose of
    this act.
    (11) Do such other acts consistent with this act required to
    carry out the purposes and policies of this act.
    (b) The guidelines for storm water management and model storm
    water ordinances shall be submitted to the General Assembly for
    approval or disapproval and shall be considered by the General
    Assembly under the procedures created for consideration of
    Reorganization Plan provided in the act of April 7, 1955 (P.L.23, No.8),
    known as the "Reorganization Act of 1955."
    Compiler's Note:
    The Department of Community Affairs, referred
    to in subsec. (a), was abolished by Act 58 of 1996 and its
    functions were transferred to the Department of
    Community and Economic Development.

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    Compiler's Note:
    Section 502(c) of Act 18 of 1995, which created
    the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
    and renamed the Department of Environmental Resources
    as the Department of Environmental Protection, provided
    that the Environmental Quality Board shall have the
    powers and duties currently vested in it, except as vested
    in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
    by Act 18 of 1995, which powers and duties include those
    forth in section 14.
    Section 15.
    Civil remedies.
    (a) Any activity conducted in violation of the provisions of this act
    or of any watershed storm water plan, regulations or ordinances
    adopted hereunder, is hereby declared a public nuisance.
    (b) Suits to restrain, prevent or abate violation of this act or of any
    watershed storm water plan, regulations or ordinances adopted
    hereunder, may be instituted in equity or at law by the department, any
    affected county or municipality, or any aggrieved person. Except in
    cases of emergency where, in the opinion of the court, the
    circumstances of the case require immediate abatement of the unlawful
    conduct, the court may, in its decree, fix a reasonable time during which
    the person responsible for the unlawful conduct shall correct or abate
    the same. The expense of such proceedings shall be recoverable from
    the violator in such manner as may now or hereafter be provided by law.
    ((b) repealed in part Oct. 5, 1980, P.L.693, No.142)
    (c) Any person injured by conduct which violates the provisions of
    section 13 may, in addition to any other remedy provided under this act,
    recover damages caused by such violation from the landowner or other
    responsible person.
    Compiler's Note:
    Section 504 of Act 164 of 1980 provided that
    section 15 is repealed insofar as it is inconsistent with
    Act 164.
    Section 16.
    Preservation of existing rights and remedies.
    (a) The collection of any penalty under the provisions of this act
    shall not be construed as estopping the Commonwealth, any county,
    municipality or aggrieved person from proceeding in courts of law or
    equity to abate nuisances under existing law or to restrain, at law or in
    equity, violation of this act.
    (b) It is hereby declared to be the purpose of this act to provide
    additional and cumulative remedies to abate nuisances.
    Section 17.
    Grants and reimbursements to municipalities and
    counties.
    (a) The Department of Environmental Resources is authorized to
    administer grants to municipalities and counties to assist or reimburse
    them for costs in preparing official storm water management plans and

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    actual administrative and enforcement and implementation costs and
    revisions to official plans for storm water management required by this
    act. Grants and reimbursements shall be made from and to the extent of
    funds appropriated by the General Assembly for such purposes, and
    shall be made in accordance to rules and regulations adopted by the
    Environmental Quality Board.
    (1) The grant shall be equal to 75% of the allowable costs for
    preparation of official storm water management plans, administrative,
    enforcement and implementation costs incurred by any municipality or
    c ount y.
    (2) For the purposes of this section, such State grants shall
    be in addition to grants for similar purposes made to any municipality or
    county by the Federal Government: Provided, That the grants
    authorized by this section shall be limited such that the total of all State
    and Federal grants does not exceed 75% of the allowable costs
    incurred by the municipality or county.
    (b) Nothing in this section shall be construed to impair or limit
    application of this act to any municipality or person, or to relieve any
    municipality or person of duties imposed under this act.
    (c) If, in any fiscal year, appropriations are insufficient to cover the
    costs or grants and reimbursement to all municipalities and counties
    eligible for such grants and reimbursements in that fiscal year, the
    Department of Environmental Resources shall report such fact to the
    General Assembly and shall request appropriation of funds necessary to
    provide the grants authorized in this section. If such a deficiency
    appropriation is not enacted, any municipality or county which has not
    received the full amount of the grant for which it is eligible under this
    section shall be as a first priority reimbursed from appropriations made
    in the next successive fiscal year. (17 amended May 24, 1984, P.L.324,
    No.63)
    Compiler's Note:
    Section 502(c) of Act 18 of 1995, which created
    the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
    and renamed the Department of Environmental Resources
    as the Department of Environmental Protection, provided
    that the Environmental Quality Board shall have the
    powers and duties currently vested in it, except as vested
    in the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
    by Act 18 of 1995, which powers and duties include those
    set forth in section 17.
    Section 18.
    Appropriations.
    The sum of $500,000, or as much thereof as may be necessary, is
    hereby appropriated for the fiscal period beginning July 1, 1978, and
    ending June 30, 1979, to the Department of Environmental Resources
    for the purposes of administrative and general expenses in
    implementing the provisions of this act.

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    Compiler's Note:
    The Department of Environmental Resources,
    referred to in this section, was abolished by Act 18 of
    1995. Its functions were transferred to the Department of
    Conservation and Natural Resources and the Department
    of Environmental Protection.
    Section 19.
    Repealer and savings clause.
    (a) All acts or parts of acts inconsistent herewith are hereby
    repealed to the extent of such inconsistency.
    (b) The provisions of this act shall not affect any suit or
    prosecution pending or to be instituted to enforce any right or penalty or
    punish any offense under the authority of any act of Assembly or part
    thereof repealed by this act.
    Section 20.
    Effective date.
    This act shall take effect immediately.

    For more information, visit
    www.depweb.state.pa.us, keyword: Watershed Publications.
    3930-BK-DEP0121 Rev. 11/2008

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