Requirements and Procedures

Development/Subdivision Plans - Drainage Review

Public Works and Utilities reviews all stormwater improvements and conveyance systems that are contained within a proposed subdivision. These may include pipe systems, open drainage ways, natural channel buffers, and detention ponds. Design standards and criteria related to these stormwater systems can be found in the City of Lincoln Design Standards and the City of Lincoln Drainage Criteria Manual. Also available is the Watershed Management Checklist (65 K) PDF used to review all projects.

For potential developments that may be near an area where the City has completed a Watershed Master Plan, additional information may be obtained from Watershed Management pertaining to future capital improvement projects and existing watershed hydraulics and hydrology. Proposed developments which are located in or near a floodplain should refer to the Floodplain Standards for New Growth Areas and Existing Urban Areas.

Related Links

Drainage Criteria Manual

The purpose of the Drainage Criteria Manual, in conjunction with the development of overall master planning of the major watersheds throughout the Lincoln, Nebraska area, is to provide drainage facilities in urban areas that avoid the disruption of the community while improving the overall health and welfare of the region in an economic way.

The Drainage Criteria Manual has been prepared for the City of Lincoln, Nebraska and the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District (LPSNRD) to provide guidance to design engineers, hydrologists, water quality specialists, and others involved in the management of stormwater runoff.

View/Download the Drainage Criteria Manual

Erosion and Sediment Control

Earthwork and construction activity disturbs soil and creates blowing dust and sediment. Runoff from construction site activity often flows into streets, gutters, inlets, then through drainage ways into area waterways.

If a site is poorly managed, sediment and waste runoff from construction sites can be deposited on adjacent property, drainage ways, and stormwater holding basins. In many cases it is extremely expensive to remove these sediment deposits. Experience has shown that it is much more cost effective to install and maintain adequate erosion and sediment control measures that it is to remove sediment from off site areas. Erosion and sediment control is also required by City ordinances.

Information and Requirements for Erosion and Sediment Control

Flood Standards

Flood standards for New Growth Areas were approved by the City Council on May 10, 2004 and became effective on May 25, 2004. Flood Standards for the Existing Urban Area had minor updates on May 10, 2004 and January 9, 2006.

The overriding policy for the floodplain is a "No Adverse Impact" policy for the City and County, which means that the community has a goal of insuring that the action of one property owner does not adversely impact the flooding risk for other properties. These requirements were implemented to support this umbrella concept.

Information and Requirements for Flood Standards

Illicit Discharge

Federal regulations define an illicit discharge as "...any discharge to a Municipal Separate Stormwater Sewer System (MS4) that is not entirely comprised of storm water..." with some exceptions. These exceptions include discharges from National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitted industrial sources and discharges from fire fighting activity.

The City is required to have a program to detect and remove "illicit discharges" (the source of illegal pollutant discharges). Pollution finds its way to local streams from a system of drainage ways and storm drain pipes. If a pollutant source can be determined from a specific location, it is called a "point source." If the origin of a pollutant discharge cannot be directly located it is called a "non-point source."

Methods required by the State of Nebraska include an ordinance to restrict illicit discharges and methods to locate pollutant sources such as the random monitoring of stormdrain system. The Lincoln/Lancaster County Health, Environmental Quality Unit administers the Illicit Discharge program in the City of Lincoln.

Industrial Stormwater Inspections

The City is required to monitor and control pollutants in stormwater discharges to the municipal stormwater system from landfills, hazardous waste treatment, disposal and recovery facilities and industrial facilities that are categorized under the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system.

The City has reviewed a list of SIC listed facilities that have the potential to contribute to stormwater pollution and fall under the SIC classification. Primarily, any business/industry that has a SIC classification and has a connection to the stormdrain system or has an overland flow of stormwater runoff from the site may be included in this program. City facilities such as landfills and water resource recovery facilities also fall into this category and are regulated by a State permit.

National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

In 1972, the Clean Water Act established environmental programs that included the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. The Clean Water Act gives EPA the authority to set limits on a water quality basis and to require an NPDES permit prior to the discharge of pollutants. Stormwater discharge permits provide a mechanism for monitoring the discharge of pollutants to 'waters of the U.S.' and for establishing appropriate controls. EPA can delegate permit programs to state governments. In Nebraska, NDEQ is the agency that implements this program and issues NPDES permits.

The NPDES stormwater permit program was issued in two phases. Lincoln and Omaha were both issued permits under Phase I of the program. Lincoln's permit was issued effective September 2002. Phase II of the program required permits for smaller urban areas and added additional requirements for all affected communities. In Nebraska, a total of 20 cities and four counties currently must have NPDES stormwater permits.

Required Permits

Prior to land disturbance of sites one (1) acre or greater in size, a Notice of Intent (NOI) and Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) for erosion and sediment control must be submitted to both the City of Lincoln, Public Works Department and to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.

Grading in a floodplain will require a Floodplain Permit (82 K) PDF from the Building and Safety Department.

Changes to Navigable Waterways - Encroachments into open drainage channels or wetlands may require the engineer to file a 404 permit with the Army Corps of Engineers.

Any business/industry that has a SIC classification and has a connection to the stormdrain system or has an overland flow of stormwater runoff from the site may be included in the State's NPDES industrial permit program.

Water Quality Standards

The City of Lincoln and the Lower Platte South Natural Resources District developed a Clean Water Program to identify the actions needed to improve the quality of stormwater runoff from developed (post-construction) areas to meet, at minimum, state standards. This program is part of a nationwide effort to control the harmful effects of pollutants from urbanized areas on our nation's waters. The post construction stormwater regulations were formed with guidance from the Clean Water task force prior to approval by City Council in February 2014.

More on Water Quality Standards