Please submit your name and email to access this content

    City of Knoxville / County of Knox County

    The City of Knoxville, like many other cities across the United States, is required to have a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to discharge stormwater from the municipal separate storm drain system (MS4). Because development activities may significantly contribute to the discharge of pollutants, the NPDES permit requires that the City of Knoxville encourage, promote, and require implementation of certain practices and procedures for the purpose of reducing or limiting discharge of pollutants to stormwater channels.

    To accomplish this goal, the City of Knoxville has ordinances and standards, which require BMP implementation and inspections as part of land development activities. Some of these ordinances and standards have been developed and adopted specifically to address stormwater quality concerns, while others were originally developed to address other concerns, but are also effective in promoting improved stormwater quality in development activities. Development of a BMP Manual was required by NPDES Permit No. TNS068055 issued in 1996 for the City of Knoxville. The principal ordinances and standards for the City of Knoxville that affect the selection of BMPs are listed below.

    1. NPDES Stormwater Discharge Permit Application (also called NPDES MS4 Permit Application), Part I - April 1993 and Part II – May 1993, prepared for the City of Knoxville by Camp Dresser & McKee, Inc. Submitted to TDEC Division of Water Pollution Control.
    2. NPDES Stormwater Discharge Permit No. TNS068055 (also called NPDES MS4 Permit), issued for the City of Knoxville from the TDEC Division of Water Pollution Control, effective on July 1, 1996. In 2003, TDEC has revised and reissued this permit to incorporate more stringent federal standards and guidelines.
    3. The Knoxville Stormwater and Street Ordinance (Chapter 22.5 of the City Code), initially issued in June 1997 and last revised in May 2003.
    4. The Land Development Manual (LDM) is intended to assist interested parties (developers, engineers, property owners, city personnel) with procedures for land development within the City of Knoxville. The LDM focuses primarily on the role of the Engineering Department with regards to plan and plat requirements, review process, inspections, etc. There is also more content on stormwater management in the LDM.

    Knoxville Stormwater and Street Ordinance

    Section 22.5-2. Purpose

    The City of Knoxville has a "Stormwater and Street Ordinance" to consolidate all regulations pertaining to the stormwater system and the local street system and to accomplish the following:

    1. Improve stormwater management;
    2. Control the discharge of pollutants to the stormwater system;
    3. Improve public safety;
    4. To comply with the city's NPDES permit;
    5. Establish procedures to accomplish the above purposes.

    (Ord. No. O-139-04, § 1, 8-17-04)

    Section 22.5-34. Maintenance of stormwater facilities.

    (a) Property owners and lessees are responsible for maintaining stormwater and/or water quality facilities located on their property. Prior to the issuance of a site development permit, the property owner shall execute a legal document entitled "Covenants for Permanent Maintenance of Stormwater Facilities," or the lessee shall execute a legal document entitled "Covenants for Maintenance of Stormwater Facilities on Leased Property" ("the Covenants"). The property owner or the lessee, as the case may be, shall record the covenants in the office of the county register of deeds. The location of the facility, the recorded location of the covenants document, and a note stating the property owner's or lessee's responsibility shall be shown on a plat, or in the case of a lessee, as an exhibit attached to the lessee's covenants, that is also recorded in the office of the county register of deeds. (See link below).

    (b) The covenants shall specify minimum maintenance requirements to be performed at necessary intervals by the property owner or lessee, as the case may be.

    (c) In order to provide access to stormwater and/or water quality facilities by personnel, vehicles and equipment, the property owner or lessee, as the case may be, will provide a traversable twenty-foot wide access within an easement from a public street in strict accord with the plan and any conditions required by the department of engineering.

    (d) The covenants shall grant the city permission to enter the property to inspect any stormwater facility for proper functioning and maintenance. If the facility is not being maintained as required, the city will notify the property owner or lessee, as the case may be, in writing. If property owner or lessee, as the case may be, fails to repair or maintain the facility within the allotted time, the engineering director may authorize the work to be performed by the city or others. In such cases, property owner or lessee, as the case may be, shall reimburse the city for double its direct and related expenses. If the property owner or lessee, as the case may be, fails to reimburse the city, the city is authorized to file a lien for said costs against the property or the lessee's leasehold interest, as the case may be, and to enforce the lien by judicial foreclosure proceedings.

    (e) Sediment removal and disposal shall be performed in accordance with all local, state, and federal laws. Guidelines for sediment removal and disposal are given in the city's LDM. The engineering director may stipulate additional guidelines if deemed necessary for public safety.

    (Ord. No. O-139-04, § 1, 8-17-04; Ord. No. O-16-05, § 1, 1-18-05)

    Knoxville Land Development Manual


    Stormwater facilities refer to any device designed to reduce stormwater flows or to reduce the pollutant loads in stormwater. Stormwater facilities include, but are not limited to: detention basins, retention basins, infiltration ponds, oil/water separators and grit chambers. The City of Knoxville assumes no responsibility for the maintenance, installation or improvement of stormwater facilities located on private property. Stormwater facilities located on private property are the responsibility of the property owner(s). In some cases, a neighborhood association may have legally accepted the responsibilities of the stormwater facility.


    In compliance with the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Permit # TNS068055, the City of Knoxville is required to prohibit and enforce non-stormwater discharges to the municipal separate storm drain system. This was initially accomplished by the Knoxville Stormwater and Street Ordinance in 1997. To fulfill the remainder of the NPDES requirements with regards to enforcement, these guidelines have been adopted by the Water Quality Section and other personnel within the Stormwater Engineering Division.


    A Citizen's Handbook for Maintaining Stormwater Best Management Practices Knox County

    Knoxville Stormwater Ordinance


    AQUALIS is providing the content on this page for general information purposes only. While we strive to keep the information up to date and correct, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the information, products, services, or related graphics contained on or downloaded from this page for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk. In no event will AQUALIS be held liable for any loss or damages.