Surface Water Management District
The Summit County Surface Water Management District (SWMD) is a stormwater improvement program that functions as a utility. In June 2022, Summit County expanded the SWMD to comply with Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regulations and utilize American Rescue Plan Act funding for large stormwater projects. The district now contains all Summit County townships, Lakemore, and Reminderville. The program is available to any other village or city in Summit County on an opt-in basis. The SWMD was originally created as an all voluntary program in 2017 in order to aide local communities in their efforts to address stormwater problems. Bath Township joined the district in 2018. For more information on just the Bath Township Special District, click here. Residents wishing to submit a drainage concern can so do here or by using the link below.
In Summit County’s discussions with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) in anticipation of the issuance of a new permit under the OEPA’s National Pollutant Discharge and Elimination System (NPDES) Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4), the OEPA informed Summit County that they desired to see changes to the County’s MS4 program. OEPA advised the County to enact legislation authorizing the County to enforce illicit discharge detection and elimination rules for every community under the MS4 permit, which, at the time, was almost every community in Summit County. In order to stay on the County permit, communities would have had to grant the County authority to map and inspect their stormwater systems by joining the Summit County Surface Water Management District. OEPA also stated the mapping of the stormwater systems in most of the communities on the permit was deficient and a major mapping project would eventually be required. Summit County Council did update the ordinance and most cities opted to maintain their own permit and enforce their own illicit discharge ordinances. The County was also advised townships were required to be on the County permit.
The County’s MS-4 permit includes various tasks that must be implemented within specific timeframes. Failure to implement these tasks in a timely manner may result in fines being imposed upon the County by the EPA. The first of these tasks was completed with the County’s adoption of Codified Ordinance 944, Illicit Discharge and Detection.
The next task was the adoption of an amended Codified Ordinance 942 (attached below), which expanded the Surface Water Management District, which was done in June 2022. Fees for the program have been developed but will not be enacted until 2025. The fees are based on a combination of property value and acreage, with different rates for commericial, residential, vacant, and agricultural properties. The fee structure is attached below.
In addition to capital projects described in the next section, the County is tasked with implementing a more robust MS4 plan. The County will be contracting with Summit Soil and Water Conservation District to oversee these activities. These activities include establishing a surface water sampling and water quality monitoring program, including a system of recording and reporting water quality data, tracing the source of any identified pollutants, ordering corrective actions, and issuing fines for violations, helping communities implement their own best practices for township/village government, and outreach and education to the public, among many others. See Summit County Codified Ordinance Chapter 944-Illicit Discharge Ordinance.
As the new program takes shape, community members will be asked to serve on various community and watershed advisory boards, to help guide and prioritize projects moving forward. We envision an advisory committee for each township or village and will be asking community members and local elected officials to serve in that capacity.
The status of the new program is rapidly changing. Requests for proposals for several priority projects are already underway, as well as working with Summit County GIS department to map all the stormwater facilities in the district's service area. Feel free to share your thoughts with us as the process develops by using our "Contact Us" page. Residents can also request projects by initiating a ditch petition using the Ditch Petition Process. Finally, we have a Drainage Concern Form for residents wanting to report drainage issues linked below.
Capital Projects Funded with ARPA Dollars
With the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act, funding is available for stormwater capital projects. The initial phase of the expanded SWMD will be funded with mostly ARPA dollars, with at least one priority project being identified in every community in the district's service area.
The most up-to-date priority project list and map as of July 2022 is below.
Ordinance, Permits, Rules, and Regulations
Summit County's Surface Water Management District was created in Chapter 942 of the Summit County Codified Ordinances. The Ordinance and Rules and Regulations are attached below. In addition, permits are required for any excavation, filling, grading, and/or pond construction. The permit form and the brochure explaining the process are attached below. In addition, Summit County Council has recently enacted a Revocable Use Permit for property owners to request permission to encroach upon stormwater easements. The permit form, once developed, will be posted on this page. Requests may now be sent using the "Contact Us" page.
- SWMD Rules and Regulations (PDF, 5001.1k)
- Beaver Control Policy (PDF, 157.3k)
- Surface Water Management District Revocable Use Permit Legislation (PDF, 115.2k)
- Surface Water Management District Use Permit Exhibit A 2023 Update (PDF, 147.8k)
- Surface Water Management District Grading Permit (PDF, 92.1k)
- SWMD Grading Permit Application (PDF, 91.4k)
- SWMD Grading Permit Brochure (PDF, 332.4k)