- Stormwater Management Plan
- Neuse Buffer Rules
- Non-Neuse Buffers
- Surface Water Identification
- Stormwater Pollution
- Open Burning
Stormwater Management Plan
Section 6.14: “Stormwater Management” of the Orange County Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) states that a Stormwater Management Plan must also be submitted for any new development or land-disturbing activity exceeding the thresholds noted in the Watershed Matrix Table. The requirements apply to all new development within the Orange County planning jurisdiction, including private, public, state, and federal development not covered by a separate NPDES permit.
Stormwater Management Plans must address the following:
- Protection of riparian areas;
- Nitrogen and phosphorus load contributions;
- Peak flow attenuation for the 1-year, 24-hour storm;
- Control and treatment of runoff generated by one inch of rainfall from all project area surfaces;
- Engineered Primary and Secondary Stormwater Control Measures (SCMs) as outlined in the NC Department of Environmental Quality Minimum Design Criteria (MDC) Manual
Note: Regulation of any standards for the removal of nutrient exports within the Jordan Lake Watershed are currently under review and have been delayed. Currently, Orange County only has the regulatory authority to regulate stormwater quantity within this watershed.
Neuse Buffer Rules
The State of North Carolina has designated Orange County as the delegated authority to administer the Neuse Buffer Rules within Orange County's Neuse River Basin, outside the Town of Hillsborough and it surrounding Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). Located in the northeast portion of the County, the Neuse River Basin is comprised of the:
- Flat River
- Little River
- Lower Eno protected watersheds
- Lower Eno unprotected
- Upper Eno Critical Area
- Upper Eno
Neuse buffered streams have a 50 feet riparian buffer, however under the Orange County Unified Development Ordinance, these watersheds also have more restrictive County stream buffer requirements. See the Orange County Unified Development Ordinance for additional information.
The non-Neuse River Basins include the Roanoke Basin in the extreme northwest portion of the County (approximately 10 square miles comprised of the Hyco Creek and South Hyco Creek watersheds) and the Cape Fear Basin in the western and southern portions of the County, comprised of the:
- Back Creek
- Cane Creek Critical Area
- Cane Creek
- Haw Creek
- Haw River protected
- Haw River unprotected
- Jordan Lake protected
- Jordan Lake unprotected
- University Lake Critical Area
- University Lake watersheds
See the Orange County Unified Development Ordinance for specific watershed stream buffer requirements.
Surface Water (Stream) Identification
The presence of a stream buffer can affect proposed land use such as driveways and building locations. The county has, in the Planning Department, a base map of all known streams. Anyone who wishes to dispute the map may request staff to "field" or "ground" truth the stream. Staff will use methodologies and criteria developed by the North Carolina Division of Water Quality to determine if the stream feature shown on the map is indeed subject to buffer requirements.
So why do we care about stormwater? Quite simply North Carolina’s number one water quality problem is stormwater runoff pollution. As stormwater flows across impervious (i.e. paved) surfaces or exposed soil, it picks up various pollutants, such as oil and grease, excess nutrients, bacteria and sediment. Polluted stormwater flows down our storm drains and ditches where it is discharged, untreated, into our streams, rivers, and lakes.
Stormwater runoff pollution causes adverse impacts to aquatic ecosystems, poses human health risks, and can greatly increase the cost of treating our drinking water. For more information about stormwater pollution and stormwater resources contact by phone at 919-245-2575.
Development Related Burning Information: Open Burning Prohibited
Effective September 16, 2003 Per Orange County Unified Development Ordinance. Open burning of trees, limbs, stumps, and construction debris is prohibited in Orange County for all activities associated with the development of a subdivision and/or any other permitted land-disturbing activities. This does not include activities involving the production and management of agricultural or forestry products.