Operation & Maintenance

In addition to an operation and maintenance model ordinance, this section includes additional materials from localities around the country:

Ordinance Language from Grand Traverse County, MIThis ordinance language provides an example of operation and maintenance for both stormwater and erosion and sediment control.

Sample maintenance agreement from Albemarle County, VA: This document provides an example of an agreement that places the responsibility of maintenance on the property owner.

Easement and Right of Way agreement from Montgomery County, MD: This document ensures that ample space is provided near a BMP for inspection and maintenance.

Inspection Checklist modified from Anne Arundel County, MDThis pond inspection list is an example of a useful field tool to ensure maintenance of BMPs.

Performance Bond Agreement from Colorado:   Performance bonds can be used to provide an incentive for both proper construction and long-term maintenance of BMPs.

Introduction to Operation and Maintenance

The expense of maintaining most stormwater BMPs is relatively small compared to original construction costs. However, too frequently, BMP maintenance is not completed, particularly when the BMP is privately owned. Improper maintenance decreases the efficiency of BMPs, and may also detract from the aesthetic qualities of the practice. Proper operation and maintenance language within a stormwater ordinance can ensure that designs facilitate easy maintenance and that regular maintenance activities are completed.

This section includes sample ordinance language, which focuses primarily on the maintenance of stormwater BMPs, and includes the elements of design, routine maintenance and inspections. Ordinance language regarding the maintenance of erosion control measures would differ slightly, due to the short term nature of these measures. In addition, it is important to note that this language would be part of a stormwater or erosion and sediment control ordinance, and elements such as the process of applying for a permit would be included in these more comprehensive stormwater ordinances. Areas where additional information would be useful are indicated with the following symbol:

Stop!Where you see this symbol, you'll need to make a decision or get more information in order to apply this ordinance to your community.


Some important elements of effective stormwater operation and maintenance ordinance language include specification of a specific entity responsible for long-term maintenance, and reference to regular inspection visits. The ordinance should also address design guidelines that can help ease the maintenance burden, such as maintenance easements.

Although language that legally requires operation and maintenance of stormwater BMPs is important, there may be a disjoint between the ordinance language and what happens "on the ground." In this section, the information that is in support of the ordinance, such as maintenance agreements and inspection checklists, are equally important to ensuring that stormwater BMPs perform well over time.