Hamilton City Council Stormwater Bylaw

Closes 9 Dec 2020

Opened 2 Nov 2020

Overview

Hamilton City Council (the Council) is seeking feedback on the review of the Hamilton City Council Stormwater Bylaw 2015 (Hamilton Stormwater Bylaw).

WHAT IS THE STORMWATER BYLAW?

The Hamilton Stormwater Bylaw helps protect Hamilton’s streams and the Waikato River by setting out responsibilities regarding the management of stormwater within the City. The bylaw provides guidance on what can and cannot enter the stormwater system and enables Council to:

  • manage the land, structure or infrastructure associated with stormwater drainage within its control;
  • protect and regulate against damage, misuse, or loss of the land, structures or infrastructure related to stormwater drainage;
  • prevent the unauthorised use of the land, structures or infrastructure related to stormwater drainage;
  • ensure waterways, that form part of Hamilton City Council’s stormwater systems, remain clear and unobstructed;
  • manage the entry of contaminants into the stormwater system; and
  • protect, promote, and maintain public health and safety.

WHY ARE WE DOING THIS REVIEW?

The Council is required to review the bylaw within five years after the date on which it was made, under the Local Government Act (LGA).  This provides an opportunity for the Council to check in on how the bylaw is working, if the bylaw is still needed, and request feedback from the community on any changes proposed. 

In April 2020, the Council determined that a Stormwater Bylaw was still the most appropriate mechanism for addressing issues relating to stormwater management in Hamilton, as required by section 155(1) of the LGA.

  • Scroll to the bottom of this page to the Related section to view current Stormwater Bylaw, and proposed Stormwater Bylaw with tracked changes.

Why we are consulting

REASONS FOR THE PROPOSAL

The key reasons for the proposed changes to the Hamilton Stormwater Bylaw are to:

  • ensure that the bylaw effectively supports the Council to address issues associated with the management of stormwater that may have developed since 2015;
  • ensure that the bylaw has adequate regard to the Local Government Act 2002, Resource Management Act 1991, Waikato River Settlement Act 2010, and Te Ture Whaimana o Te Awa o Waikato (the Vision and Strategy for the Waikato River);
  • ensure that the bylaw has adequate regard to Iwi Management Plans, the Waikato Regional Policy Statement and Regional Plan, District Plan and Hamilton’s City Wide Stormwater Consent requirements.

Council has been working through a review process in line with the requirements of the LGA and is now seeking your views on a new draft Hamilton Stormwater Bylaw.

PROPOSED CHANGES

The key areas of change proposed to the bylaw are summarised below.

  • Greater recognition of Council’s relationship with Waikato Tainui.
  • New requirements for stormwater connection approval that recognise Council policy and other stormwater consent requirements.
  • Greater regulation of pool water discharges and guidance for appropriate discharge.
  • Regulating building site activities for sediment control.
  • Owner and occupier responsibility for private stormwater systems, including maintenance of on-lot devices.
  • Clarification of Council’s authority to ensure private stormwater devices remain effective and ability to recover costs.
  • More detail on requirements of pollution control plans for high-risk facilities, including new definitions for key terms to assist with public understanding.
  • New requirements to ensure that new building works near the stormwater system comply with the requirements of the Regional Technical Infrastructure Specifications.
  • Further changes to increase clarity in the bylaw for ease of interpretation and effective administration.

ISSUES AND OPTIONS

Council has identified the following key issues with the current Stormwater Bylaw and proposes to amend the Stormwater Bylaw in line with the changes listed in Option One.

Option Two was considered as an alternative option. However, continuing the current bylaw unamended is not considered to be the most effective way of dealing with the issues identified.

Option 2 was considered as an alternative option. However, continuing the current bylaw unamended is not considered to be the most effective way of dealing with the issues identified.

Issues Option One (proposed)
Amend the bylaw
Option Two
Do not amend the bylaw
Issue 1: Recognition of Relationship of Waikato Tainui with the River and the need to protect and restore the River

The current bylaw references the Waikato River Settlement Act 2010 and Vision and Strategy but does not fully acknowledge the relationship of Waikato Tainui with the river and does not reflect principles outlined in Council Policy.
Amend the bylaw to further recognise the Vision & Strategy and its objective of protecting and restoring the Waikato River (and associated Iwi Management Plans of Waikato Tainui and Ngaati Hauaa).
Proposed changes to the bylaw include:
• adding recognition of Waikato Tainui’s relationship with the River to the introduction;
• adding ‘restoration and protection of the Waikato River’ as a purpose of the bylaw;
• further controls on contaminant discharges;
• added requirements for reviewed Pollution Control Plans, and maintenance of devices.
No change to bylaw
No change to the bylaw means there is less recognition of the need to protect and restore the river through control on the stormwater network.
Issue 2: Connection Approvals

Increased urban development since 2015 means that Council needs stronger controls on connections to manage effects on the network and ensure compliance with Council’s stormwater discharge consent.
Amend the bylaw to strengthen recognition of the need for connections to be approved and to be aligned with Council’s Policy, Plans, water impact assessments and Citywide Stormwater Consent requirements.
Proposed changes to the bylaw include:
• adding clauses on requirement for connections approval;
• adding clauses that require compliance with catchment management plans, impact assessments, consent notices and stormwater discharge consent conditions;
• adding a clause that allows Council to impose consent conditions on an Approval;
• providing a process for issuing warnings for non-compliance with an Approval.
No change to bylaw
No change to the bylaw means less clarity to the public on how a development proposal will be managed.
Issue 3: Contaminant Controls on Pool Water and Building sites

Pool Water
There is an increasing number of pop-up pools in the City which are discharging chlorinated pool water to the stormwater network. Highly chlorinated water should not be going to the stormwater network.

Building Site Sediment
New growth areas with numerous building site activities could discharge high quantities of sediment to the network. The current bylaw and Building Code are weak in managing building site activities for sediment control.
Amend the bylaw to manage pool water discharges and building site sediment.
Proposed changes to the bylaw include:
• defining what cannot be discharged to the network;
• amending the bylaw to capture pool water discharges as being a breach, and directing the public on where pool water should be discharged;
• amending the bylaw to capture sediment from building activities as being a breach.

Education Strategy
Council proposes to support implementation of the bylaw by developing an education strategy, for the disposal of pool water. This could coincide with Smart Water campaigns about watering lawns.
No change to bylaw
Council would have to rely on other regulation such as the Tradewaste and Wastewater Bylaw, the Building Code and education.
Issue 4: Private Stormwater System Function and Maintenance

Hamilton is a high growth city and Council is increasingly relying on private stormwater systems to manage stormwater quality and quantity. Over time, Stormwater Management Device performance can diminish if not maintained.

The current bylaw does not clearly outline an owner’s responsibility for maintenance of a Device. Consent notices and Three Waters Practice notes provide limited direction and advice but are unlikely to be recognised when a property is on-sold.

The current Bylaw is silent on what a High-Risk Facility Pollution Control Plan should provide for and does not have the High Risk Facility Register attached as a Schedule for the Public’s easy reference.
Amend the bylaw to provide clarity to property owners or occupiers on maintenance responsibilities, provide Council the ability to direct what is required within a timeframe.
Proposed changes to the bylaw include:
• defining a Stormwater Management Device;
• amending the bylaw to give more clarity to property owners or occupiers on maintenance responsibilities and submission of as-builts to Council;
• adding new clauses to allow Council to direct what may be required for a private stormwater system and the timeframe that it must be done in;
• attaching the High-Risk Facility Register as Schedule One to the bylaw.

Education Strategy
Council proposes to develop an Education Strategy for Private Stormwater Devices to assist with understanding and maximise compliance.
No change to bylaw
Council would need to rely on consent notices, Three Waters Practice notes, Three Waters Connections Policy (for agreements), and Local Government Act provisions to enable Council to ‘fix’ damage.
An education strategy could be used to assist with understanding and maximise compliance.
Issue 5: Authority to ensure Private Stormwater Management Devices remain effective and cost recovery

In authorising land use consents, Council has a responsibility to monitor consent compliance and in doing so manage effects of landuse activities. There is a lack of clarity to the public on Council’s ability to access land to inspect devices, issue Defect Notices and carry out works if required.
Amend the bylaw to provide for Defect Notices for Private Stormwater Systems and therefore give Council the ability to carry out works and charge costs.
Proposed changes to the bylaw include:
• new clause to allow Council to issue Defect Notices if a Private Stormwater System is not functioning effectively.
No change to bylaw
Council would be in a weaker position to protect and restore the River.
Issue 6: Working in Close Proximity to Public Stormwater Infrastructure

The process for a building consent application does not address potential damage to Council infrastructure, including stormwater infrastructure. Council has an obligation to issue a building consent if it is satisfied that the provisions of the building code will be met even though there may be an existing infrastructure issue, such as a public drain.

The risk to Council is potential damage to infrastructure, inaccessibility to infrastructure and cost to Council to resolve the issue.
Option 1: Amend the bylaw to ensure protection of Council assets through requiring an application.
Proposed changes to the bylaw include:
• new clause to require an application to be made if working in close proximity to stormwater infrastructure;
• new clauses to require compliance with the Regional Infrastructure Technical Specifications and notification prior to building works.
Option 2: No change to bylaw
Council would need to rely on internal processes and changes to other regulatory mechanisms.
Issue 7: Making the bylaw easier to understand for the public

Bylaw compliance relies on clarity for the public and staff to enable easy interpretation of requirements and process, avoid misinterpretation issues, and improve efficiency in administering the bylaw.
Amend the bylaw with definitions, expanded clauses and advice notes.
Proposed changes to the bylaw include:
• new definitions for Occupier, Defect Notice, Council Policy, and Stormwater Management Device;
• a descriptive list of contaminants that cannot enter the network;
• expanded definitions for Ecological Device, High-Risk Facility, Overland Flow Path, Pollution Control Plan, Public Stormwater System and Private Stormwater System and Watercourse;
• new clause relating to excessive loads on the network causing damage, additional stormwater asset type (that should not be damaged) and clarity on what could constitute an obstruction; and
• provide for overland flow paths to be identified to the Public by Council resolution if not in a District Plan; and
• amendments to some clauses to ensure consistency with connection approval clauses in other bylaws (Water Supply Bylaw and Trade Waste and Wastewater Bylaw).
No change to bylaw
Council and the public would need to rely on the bylaw as it is currently written and interpret for the public.

NEXT STEPS

Staff will collect and analyse all feedback at the close of the submission period.

The analysis of feedback will be presented to the Hamilton City Council Hearings and Engagement Committee meeting early in 2021. At this meeting, submitters who want to speak to their written submission will be able to do so.

The Council will then consider all the views and make a decision on the bylaw. Following public feedback, Council will revoke its Stormwater Bylaw 2015 and replace it with a revised Stormwater Bylaw.

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