6.1 Operations and Maintenance
The property owner is responsible for performing long-term maintenance in accordance with the Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Agreement, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) Stormwater Regulations (Stormwater Regulations) (or applicable design criteria for Stormwater Retrofit projects that have received Stormwater Grant funding), and Philadelphia Property Maintenance Code. In certain developments, a Homeowner’s Association (HOA) or Condominium Association may assume the responsibility for maintenance. In these instances, PWD recommends that the O&M responsibilities associated with stormwater management practices (SMPs) be incorporated in the declaration for the HOA or Condominium Association. Failure to properly maintain SMPs, or the unauthorized removal of any SMPs installed to achieve compliance with the Stormwater Regulations, will result in enforcement actions by PWD. Any proposed changes to SMPs, drainage configurations, or cover type must be approved by PWD to confirm that the change will not affect the property’s continued compliance with the Stormwater Regulations or approved stormwater management design.
Required routine maintenance is SMP- and site-specific. However, typical routine maintenance tasks include the following:
- Removal of sediment and debris from inlets and outlet control structures, storage areas, and pipes;
- Establishment watering for new plantings (during the first two to three years after the initial planting);
- Emergency watering during prolonged dry periods;
- Removal of invasive plants or weed species;
- Replacement of worn bolts, latches, and other appurtenances;
- Minor asphalt or concrete patching/repair;
- Minor erosion repairs including slope stabilization;
- Minor replanting, reseeding, and re-grading; and
- Pruning of trees and shrubs, as appropriate, prior to winter months.
These tasks are associated with SMPs that are generally in good condition and properly functioning. If SMPs are not properly functioning, more extensive maintenance or repairs may be needed, which may include full excavation, removal, and replacement of permanently clogged media or porous surfaces.
The designer is referred to Chapter 4 for specific maintenance guidance for individual SMPs. The maintenance guidelines included in Chapter 4 represent typical, basic maintenance tasks and frequencies for the SMPs in each of the sections. The process of choosing appropriate maintenance tasks and frequencies is both SMP-specific and site-specific. An SMP-specific, site-specific SMP Maintenance Guide, prepared by the designer and submitted to, and reviewed by, PWD during the Post-Construction Stormwater Management Plan (PCSMP) Review Phase, should be provided to and implemented by the property owner as a guide for long-term O&M of the SMPs on-site. Proper execution of routine maintenance tasks may require confined space entry and/or the use of specialized equipment. Property owners are responsible for safely conducting maintenance activities in accordance with applicable regulations and using appropriate equipment and properly trained personnel. Some SMPs, such as porous pavement and subsurface basins, require special equipment and/or training to maintain. PWD has a list of local contractors who provide these maintenance services. There may be other qualified contractors who can help, as well.
The SMP Maintenance Guide must be accompanied by a Site Map and a separate Maintenance Schedule Form for each SMP to allow the property owner to track all maintenance activities for their site. SMP Maintenance Guide instructions are available on the first page of the SMP Maintenance Guide to guide the designer through the creation of these items.
Property owners are expected to use the Maintenance Schedule Forms to document inspection and maintenance activity for each SMP. These forms can be used when applying for Stormwater Credits renewals (Section 6.3). The completed forms can also assist PWD at the time of PWD inspections. PWD periodically inspects properties to check the functionality and maintenance of the SMPs. PWD will contact the property owner of record to schedule these inspections. After inspection, PWD will provide the property with a report detailing the results of our visit and identifying any SMPs or features requiring maintenance or corrective action. PWD will work with the property to resolve any issues identified in the report.
SMP Maintenance Guide documents are available for download in Appendix G.
An O&M Agreement between the property owner and PWD is a component of PCSMP Approval and required of any project subject to the Stormwater Regulations or receiving Stormwater Grant funding to implement a Stormwater Retrofit. This Agreement requires the property owner to construct SMPs on the listed parcel(s) in strict accordance with the Approved PCSMP and to maintain the SMPs such that they will adequately perform their designed functions. It also requires the property owner to maintain the site in accordance with the Approved PCSMP, which means no conversions of previous pervious areas to impervious cover without authorization from PWD. It does not require the property owner to construct the SMPs if the development project associated with the SMPs does not commence or if no earth disturbance takes place. The Agreement is recorded against the property and runs with the land, if and when the property is sold or otherwise conveyed.
Operations and maintenance tasks should be implemented by the property owner according to the project's SMP Maintenance Guide. SMP Maintenance Guides are SMP- and site-specific, and they must be prepared by the project's designer and submitted to PWD as part of the PCSMP Review Phase (Section 2.3.1) The SMP Maintenance Guide should be provided to, and implemented by, the property owner as a guide for long-term O&M of the SMPs on-site.
The standard O&M Agreement consists of:
- Agreement with signature pages;
- Signatory acknowledgement sections;
- Exhibit A, legal description(s) of the property(ies); and
- Exhibit B, a list of SMPs to be installed on the listed parcel(s).
The signatory(ies) for the property owner(s) must be authorized to bind the property owner(s) to legal agreements. The signatory acknowledgement sections must be notarized and serve to verify the identities of all parties signing the Agreement.
Exhibit A contains a metes-and-bounds description for each parcel, in its entirety, on which earth disturbance is proposed, while Exhibit B contains a listing of all the SMPs to be constructed on the listed parcel(s). Should amendments to the O&M Agreement become necessary after execution, the O&M Amendments will be sequentially numbered and will replace and supersede any and all of the project’s previous O&M Agreements and Amendments.