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Chapter 6 - Post-Construction and Operations and Maintenance Guidance

6.1 Operations and Maintenance

6.1 Operations and Maintenance

6.1.1  Maintenance Requirements for Property Owners

The property owner is responsible for performing long-term maintenance in accordance with the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) Agreement, the Philadelphia Water Department (PWD) Stormwater Regulations (Stormwater Regulations), 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.

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;
  • Mulching;
  • 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 O&M Schedule, 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.

Property owners are expected to keep an inspection and maintenance log to document inspection and maintenance activity for each SMP. These logs can assist PWD at the time of PWD inspections and be used when applying for stormwater credit renewals (see Section 6.3).

For additional information on detailed maintenance recommendations, the applicant and designer are referred to the PWD Stormwater Retrofit Guidance Manual (2015 or later version).

6.1.2  Operations and Maintenance Agreements

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. 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 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 O&M Schedule. O&M Schedules 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 (see Section 2.3.1) The O&M Schedule 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.