Storm Water Management

What is storm water?

Storm water runoff occurs when rain or snow melt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent storm water from naturally soaking onto the ground. When storm water cannot penetrate into the ground, it flows across surfaces to City storm drains or to local rivers and tributaries. Storm water that is not managed correctly can result in erosion, site damage, and sedimentation in our creeks and rivers. 

How is storm water managed?

Storm water is managed in several ways including the following:

  • Flow rate - Slowing and reducing the amount of storm water flowing off a site during a rain event.
  • Quality of water - Using site design features to treat water through bioswales and infiltration.
  • Trash collection - The use of trash capture facilities to reduce the amount of trash and debris flowing into and out of our local creeks and streams.

What is the regulating authority?

Development within the City of Healdsburg is regulated undr the jurisdiction of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board (Regional Board), the local enforcement arm of the State Water Resources Control Board (Water Board). The City of Healdsburg, the City of Cloverdale, the City of Cotati, the City of Rohnert Park, the City of Sebastopol, the City of Ukiah, and Town of Windsor have been added to the County of Sonoma, the Sonoma County Water Agency, and the City of Santa Rosa as Co-Permittees.

The regional board has been issuing a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination (NPDES) Storm Water Permit which governs a variety of activities in the City such as industrial and commercial businesses, new and redevelopment projects, construction sites, storm drain operation and maintenance, creek monitoring, pesticide applications, and illegal dumping of water and other pollution into the City's storm drain system (for more information see our pollution prevention page). In early 2013, jurisdictions which had been designated as as Phase II municipalities within the Russian River Watershed were provided an option to align with the Phase I program in an effort for watershed-wide consistency and collaboration. The City of Healdsburg, the City of Cotati, the City of Rohnert Park, the City of Cloverdale, the City of Sebastopol, the City of Ukiah, the Town of Windsor, the City of Santa Rosa, and the Phase II designated portions of the County of Sonoma elected to participate in the Phase I program as Co-permittees.

The City of Healdsburg enacted a storm water ordinance (Ordinance No. 1054) on January 8th, 2007 to obtain the legal authority needed to implement the provisions contained in the NPDES permit for storm water discharges.

What types of regulations exist?

Storm water is managed through two permit types; one addressing construction related land disturbances based on the amount of area disturbed, and the other addressing permanent storm water treatment on a site after construction has been completed. The Co-permittees have coordinated the creation of various documents related to both types of permits and are generally contained on the City of Santa Rosa's website. Descriptions have been provided below for your convenience.

Erosion and sediment control plans

Erosion and Sediment Control Plans and Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP) are regulated by the City of Healdsburg Municipal Code Section 17.36 (Grading and Erosion Control). The type of plan required is based on the size of the land area disturbed.

Under one acre of disturbed area - An Erosion and Sediment Control Plan must be prepared by a Qualified Storm Water Prevention Plan Developer (QSD), and must include appropriate Best Management Practices (BMPs) for the subject site. The plan should be consistent with with the BMP table published by the City of Santa Rosa. 

Over one acre of disturbed area - A Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) prepared by a Qualified Storm Water Prevention Plan Developer (QSD) will be required. The plan must be designed in accordance with the State General Construction Storm Water Permit and include appropriate Best Management Practices (BMPs) for the subject site.

Low Impact Development

Low Impact Development (LID) is a design approach which integrates specialized landscape features into the urban environment. Runoff is directed into these features where it can soak into the ground. The approach mimics the storm water benefits of the natural environment. Specialized swales, planters, and rain gardens provide beauty while also slowing runoff and removing pollutants through filtration and transpiration. Plants and microbes that live in healthy soil use pollutants as nutrients, removing them from the runoff. 

Low Impact Development generally applies to creating or modifying 10,000 square feet of impervious surface and the overall size of the site. The following documents will provide assistance with determining what is needed for your project.

Low Impact Design Manual

2017 Storm Water Technical Design Manual-Narrative

Determination Worksheet

2017 Storm Water LID Determination Worksheet

Storm Water Calculator

LID Calculator Ver. 8.8.1

Reference Documents

SUSMP Submittal Guide

Plant List

LID Design Details Opens

2017 BMP Selection Table

2017 BMP Inspection Checklist

Maintance Declaration

CalGreen Building Code Memo - LID Requirements

City of Santa Rosa Resolution No. 27973

Best Management Plan (DMP) Factsheets