Charles County, Maryland

NPDES Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Permit

NPDES Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Permit


Stormwater runoff is rainfall or melting snow that flows over the land or through pipes, and stormwater management facilities into streams, rivers, wetlands, and estuaries. Stormwater runoff contains pollutants such as landscaping fertilizer, heavy metals and oil from vehicles, fecal coliform from pet waste, and sediment from eroding land.  Untreated stormwater discharged into waterways often creates unlivable conditions for fish and other aquatic life, loss of aesthetics, and human health issues.

Because polluted stormwater is a national concern, in 1972 Congress mandated amendments to the Federal Clean Water Act requiring the implementation of controls designed to prevent harmful pollutants from being washed by storm water runoff into local water bodies. The amendments require certain jurisdictions to obtain NPDES Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System permits. Visit the Environmental Protection Agency and Maryland’s NPDES Municipal Stormwater Permits for more information. 

Watershed Protection and Restoration Program

On May 2, 2012, the Governor signed into law a requirement that the ten most populated jurisdictions in Maryland establish a watershed protection and restoration program and a stormwater remediation fee by July 1, 2013. The main purpose of the program and fee is to provide a funding source to address requirements of the County’s stormwater management permit, issued by the MD Department of the Environment.

On April 2, 2013 the Charles County Commissioners were briefed on the proposed program and fee.  The program’s proposed budget was presented by the Department of Fiscal and Administrative Services on April 13th, and Bill 2013-09 was introduced on April 16th to add Chapter 275 – Watershed Protection and Restoration Program, to the Charles County Code. A public hearing was held on May 1, 2013, followed by work sessions on May 7th, 21st and 22nd.  At the work sessions the County Commissioners withdrew Bill 2013-09, and requested two new emergency bills be introduced on June 12th.

On June 12, 2013 the following Bills were introduced: Bill 2013-11 proposing a flat rate for all improved properties, and Bill 2013-12 proposing a rate based on an average of the total impervious surface for residential properties, and a rate based on the actual impervious surface for non-residential properties. Both Bills include: statement of purpose and policy; definitions; establishment of the fund and its permitted uses; and a stormwater remediation fee, which establishes the assessment, exemptions, reduction of the fee, inspections, appeals, and provisions for substantial financial hardship. On June 12th a Public Hearing was held on both bills. 

On June 18, 2013 a work session was held on both bills, and the Charles County Commissioners voted to adopt Bill 2013-11, which establishes a flat rate for all improved properties. The Charles County Commissioners set the Fiscal Year 2015 Stormwater Remediation Fee in the amount of $43 per improved property.

Illicit Discharge Program

An illicit discharge is any discharge to a municipal separate storm sewer system that is not composed entirely of stormwater runoff except discharges from common residential outdoor uses, firefighting activities, or from any legally permitted discharge.  In the event an activity is found to discharge sewage, industrial waste, or other waste into the storm sewer system, the County shall notify the person performing such activities, and shall order such activities be stopped or conducted in such a manner as to avoid the discharge of sewage, industrial wastes, or other wastes into the storm sewer system.  The County’s regulations regarding Illicit Discharge are located in the Storm Drainage Ordinance, Section 19.2.

Numbers to Call to Report Suspected Illicit Discharges

If you suspect an illicit discharge is being released into the storm sewer system, contact the County at 301-645-0540. This number is only staffed during normal business hours (Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.), so if you suspect an illicit discharge is going into the storm sewer system during non-business hours, please call the Maryland Department of the Environment’s toll-free 24-Hour emergency number for pollution problems in Maryland at 866-633-4686, or 866-MDE-GOTO.

Summary of the 2013 NPDES MS4 Annual Report

In 2013, Charles County continued watershed restoration efforts to provide management of stormwater runoff from impervious area in the Development District.  The Pinefield and Bryans Road restoration projects were completed, and now provide stormwater management for 31 acres of impervious surface.  These projects are anticipated to improve water quality and aquatic habitat in receiving streams.   

Expansion of computer mapping of the stormwater infrastructure to the entire county was fully underway.  The new mapping will enhance the ability to manage the storm sewer system.  

Details of these efforts and additional efforts are included in the 2013 NPDES MS4 Annual Reports.  For copies of the appendices please contact the Planning Division at 301-645-0540 or by e-mailing planning@charlescounty.org

IMPORTANT PLEASE NOTE:  All publications located within the Planning and Growth Management section of the web site are believed to be accurate as of their posting date. However, they may not be accurate on the day you view them. To verify whether these documents are the most current official document, please contact the division associated with the document in question.