SPU strives to work cooperatively with business and property owners to conduct inspections and provide education and technical assistance regarding required elements of the Stormwater Code. In most cases, education and technical assistance are the tools that are used to gain compliance. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to utilize enforcement to persuade a property or business owner to come into compliance with the Stormwater Code. SPU is required by its NPDES permit to implement a progressive enforcement policy to achieve Code compliance. SPU’s enforcement program includes the following steps:
- Inspection: a site inspection is conducted to evaluate what best management practices are necessary at the site. This evaluation is based on the activities that are occurring on site and the effectiveness of the current best management practices. In the case of private stormwater system inspections, the inspector will evaluate each component of the system against the established maintenance standard. At the time of the inspection, the Inspector will provide technical assistance regarding their evaluation.
- Corrective Action Letter: A letter will be sent to the site with the results of the inspections. Property or business owners are given 30 days to implement the required source controls or maintain the drainage system. Inspectors return to the site after 30 days to verify that proper source controls have been implemented and are working effectively to prevent pollution.
- Second and Final Notice: If source controls have not been implemented, a second and final notice will be sent, which restates the required source controls for the site and provides a shortened deadline for compliance. The second and final notice is the last step before formal enforcement begins.
- Notice of Violation (NOV): A Notice of Violation is issued when the corrective action letter and second and final notice have failed to gain compliance. The NOV is the first step in the formal enforcement process. Each code violation is assessed a penalty amount based on elements of the penalty matrix found in the Enforcement Manual. Please refer to the Stormwater Code for specific elements of the formal enforcement process.
Sites may also be referred to the Washington State Department of Ecology for non-compliance with the Seattle Stormwater Code.
Note: SPU reserves the right to shorten compliance deadlines or immediately issue a NOV, depending on the severity of the situation.
SPU’s recent enforcement actions