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(A) The county may institute appropriate actions or proceedings at law or equity for the enforcement of this chapter. Any court of competent jurisdiction shall have the right to issue restraining orders, temporary or permanent injunctions, and other appropriate forms of remedy or relief.
(B) Each day of noncompliance is considered a separate offense; and nothing herein contained shall prevent the county from taking such other lawful action as is necessary to prevent or remedy any violation, including application for injunctive relief.
(C) Any of the following enforcement remedies and penalties shall be available to the county in response to violations of this chapter. If the person, property or facility has or is required to have a stormwater discharge permit from the State EPA, the county shall alert the appropriate state authorities of the violation.
(1) Notice of violation (NOV). Whenever designated the county staff find that any person, company or facility owning or occupying a premises has violated or is violating this chapter or order issued hereunder, the enforcement official may serve, by personal service, or by registered or certified mail, upon said person a written NOV. Within 30 days of the receipt of this notice, or shorter period as may be prescribed in the NOV, an explanation of the violation and a plan for the satisfactory correction and prevention thereof, which shall include specific required actions, shall be submitted to the county or its designee. Submission of this plan shall in no way relieve liabilities for violations occurring before or after receipt of the NOV.
(2) Revocation of permit. The county, or its designee, may revoke and require the return of a permit or certificate by notifying the permit holder in writing, stating the reason for the revocation. Permits or certificates shall be revoked for any substantial departure from the approved application plans, or specifications; refusal or failure to comply with the requirements of state or local law; or for false statements or misrepresentations made in securing the permit or certificate. Any permit or certificate mistakenly issued in violation of any applicable state or local law may also be revoked.
(3) Compliance order. If any person, company or facility shall violate the provisions of this chapter, the county, or its designee, may give notice to the owner or to any person in possession of the subject property, ordering that all unlawful conditions existing thereupon be abated within a schedule defined from the date of such notice.
(a) The enforcement official shall have the authority to establish elements of a stormwater pollution prevention plan, and to require any business to adopt and implement such a plan, as may be reasonably necessary to fulfill the purposes of this chapter. The enforcement official may establish the requirements of best management practices for any premises.
(b) The notice and order may be given provided, that if, in the opinion of the county or its designee, the unlawful condition is such that it is of imminent danger or peril to the public, then an authorized county representative may, without notice, proceed to abate the same, and the cost thereof shall be charged against the property. The county, as described further in this division (C)(3), may recover the cost of such actions from the property owner.
(4) Civil penalties. Any person, company or facility who has been found to have been in violation of any provision of this chapter, may be assessed a civil penalty not to exceed the amount presented in this division.
(a) The penalty shall increase by 25% of the previous penalty amount for every subsequent but separate offense made by the same person, company, construction site or facility. The penalty shall be additional to other enforcement actions of this section.
(b) The penalty may be assessed for each day beyond schedules applied in compliance orders or other schedules issued to the property owner or other person responsible for unauthorized activity defined in this chapter.
(c) In determining the amount of the penalty, the court shall consider the following:
1. The degree and extent of the harm to the natural resources, to the public health, or to the public or private property resulting from the violation;
2. The duration and gravity of the violation;
3. The effect on ground or surface water quality;
4. The cost of rectifying the damage;
5. The amount of money saved by noncompliance;
6. Whether the violation was committed willfully or intentionally;
7. The cumulative effect of other enforcement actions applied for the same offense;
8. The prior record of the violator in complying or failing to comply with the stormwater quality management program; and
9. The costs of enforcement to the county.
(d) The maximum civil penalties will be determined by the type of offense. This indicates the maximum that may be imposed for a first offense and does not reflect the increases described above for repeat offenses:
1. Development without permit: $10,000. To engage in any development, use, construction, remodeling or other activity of any nature upon land or improvements thereon subject to the jurisdiction of this chapter without all required permits, certificates or other forms of authorization as set forth in this chapter;
2. Development inconsistent with permit: $5,000. To engage in any development, use, construction, remodeling or other activity of any nature in any way inconsistent with any approved plan, permit, certificate or other form of authorization granted for such activity; and
3. Violation by act or omission: $5,000. To violate, by act or omission, any term, variance, modification, condition or qualification placed by the county or its agent departments upon any required permit, certificate or other form of authorization of the use, development or other activity upon land or improvements thereon.
(e) In the event there are penalties assessed by the state against the county caused by any person, company or construction site or facility, the said shall be assessed the equivalent amount of civil penalty. This shall include, but is not limited to, penalties for improper disposal or illegal dumping, or illicit connection into the municipal separate storm sewer system.
(5) Administrative fee. Any person, company or facility who undertakes any development activity requiring a stormwater management plan hereunder without first submitting the plan for review and approval shall pay to the county, in addition to any permit or inspection fee, an administrative fee of up to $5,000.
(6) Order to clean and abate/restore. Any violator may be required to clean and/or restore land to its condition prior to the violation.
(7) Cost recovery. If corrective action, including maintenance delinquency, is not taken in the time specified, or within a reasonable time, if no time is specified, the county may take the corrective action, and the cost of the corrective action shall be the responsibility of the owner and/or the developer. The cost of the abatement and restoration shall be borne by the owner of the property and the cost therefore shall be invoiced to the owner of the property. If the invoice is not paid within 90 days, the enforcement official shall have the authority to place a lien upon and against the property. If the lien is not satisfied within 90 days, the enforcement official is authorized to take all legal measures as are available to enforce the lien as a judgment, including, without limitation, enforcing the lien in an action brought for a money judgment, by delivery to the assessor or a special assessment against the property.
(8) Injunctions and/or proceedings at law or in equity. Any violation of this chapter or of any condition, order, requirement or remedy adopted pursuant hereto may be restrained, corrected, abated, mandated or enjoined by other appropriate proceedings pursuant to state law.
(9) Fee or utility credit revocation. This enforcement tool is intended to be available or used if there are, at any time, provisions for a funding mechanism managed by the county. This enforcement tool permits that credits or other measures to reduce fees or utility charges may be revoked, in full or in part, if any provisions of this chapter are violated.
(10) Civil actions. In addition to any other remedies provided in this chapter, any violation of this chapter may be enforced by civil action brought by the county’s Attorney. Monies recovered under this division (C)(10) shall be paid to the county to be used exclusively for costs associated with implementing or enforcing the provisions of this chapter. In any such action, the county may seek, as appropriate, any or all of the following remedies:
(a) A temporary and/or permanent injunction;
(b) Assessment of the violator for the costs of any investigation, inspection or monitoring survey which lead to the establishment of the violation, and for the reasonable costs of preparing and bringing legal action under this division (C)(10);
(c) Costs incurred in removing, correcting or terminating the adverse effects resulting from the violation; and
(d) Compensatory damages for loss or destruction to water quality, wildlife, fish and aquatic life.
(11) Emergency orders and abatements. The enforcement official may order the abatement of any discharge from any source to the stormwater conveyance system when, in the opinion of the enforcement official, the discharge causes or threatens to cause a condition which presents an imminent danger to the public health, safety or welfare, the environment, or a violation of an NPDES permit. In emergency situations where the property owner or other responsible party is unavailable and time constraints are such that service of a notice and order to abate cannot be effected without presenting an immediate danger to the public health, safety or welfare, or the environment or a violation of a NPDES permit, the county may perform or cause to be performed such work as shall be necessary to abate said threat or danger. The costs of any such abatement shall be borne by the owner and shall be collectable in accordance with the provisions of this division (C)(11).
(Ord. 20-2004, passed 12-16-2004)