Stormwater BMPs

Save a Stream

Stormwater Management Facilities (SWMFs) or Best Management Practices (BMPs) are a key component of any land development project whether it is a residential community or a shopping center. SWMFs help improve water quality of streams by removing pollutants from rainwater. As rainwater falls on the ground and runs across the surface as stormwater, it collects leaves, grass clippings, pet waste, litter, lawn fertilizers, pesticides and more, whatever it meets washes into our streams by stormwater. Virtually all new development in the County includes facilities known as BMPs, to treat the stormwater and minimize the negative effects on our waterways.

Private SWMF Program

Because SWMFs help lessen the impacts of development, they are required under the County’s Chesapeake Bay ordinance, as well as state and federal law. To see how your SWMF scored, view the results.
  • 1 = Adequate
  • 2 = Routine maintenance needed
  • 3 = Non-Routine repair needed
  • 4 = Urgent repairs needed, BMP has failed or is failing.
Currently there are over 800 SWMFs in our County. We inspect all SWMFs every 5 years using an industry standard reporting form and a copy is mailed to the owner. To help us with future correspondence, please provide us with any changes such as the contact person for your community, mailing and email address, and phone number.

SWMF Owners may check the online County records including BMP as-built drawings by going to the Stormwater Document Site.  

Responsibilities of SWMF Owners

The property owner where the SWMF is located has legal responsibility to provide basic annual maintenance and to make any repairs that may be needed. Typical SWMF owners are homeowner associations (HOA), private communities, commercial retail properties and business property owners.

BMP owners can refer to the James City County Stormwater Management Facility Inspection and Maintenance Manual for an overview of facility types/components, information on maintenance requirements, and self-inspection checklists.

A Team Effort

In addition to the Inspection Report, the Stormwater Division provides owners with education and guidance of basic SWMF maintenance and repair. We maintain copies of engineering plans and construction drawings for all SWMFs and advise owners how to keep them in compliance with the County Ordinances.


The Stormwater Division is inspecting BMPs throughout the County to identify potential problems in order to provide technical assistance to the owners. These BMPs need periodic maintenance to ensure that they function as designed and to prolong their effectiveness. Responsibility for this maintenance is assigned to the owner through a Declaration of Covenants for Inspection/Maintenance.


The Stormwater Division routinely hosts workshops for BMP owners, and has information that describes how to maintain stormwater facilities. We will also present information to Homeowner Associations.