Chapter 16.08


16.08.010    Purpose of provisions.

16.08.020    Declaration of findings.

16.08.030    Policy declaration.

16.08.040    Definitions.

16.08.050    Obstructing watercourses prohibited.

16.08.060    Changing banks or increasing flow of water in watercourses prohibited.

16.08.070    Degrading water quality prohibited.

16.08.080    Enforcement authority – Abatement procedures.

16.08.010 Purpose of provisions.

The purpose of the provisions codified in this chapter is prohibition against obstructing watercourses or degrading water quality of waters flowing through watercourses not within rights-of-way under Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District and City of Livermore ownership. (Ord. 2065 § 1(A), 2018; 1960 code § 25.1)

16.08.020 Declaration of findings.

The City Council does find and declare as follows:

A. That, in consonance with the finding of the State Legislature that the state has a primary interest in preserving and maintaining watercourses to provide beneficial use of waters to the people of the state, the people of the City of Livermore have a primary interest in the conservation, control and utilization of the water resources contained in the City, and that the quality of all waters of the City shall be protected for use and enjoyment of the residents thereof; that the activities and factors which may affect the quality of the waters of the City and the assured free flow of such waters be regulated to attain the highest water quality which is reasonable, considering all demands being made and to be made on those waters; and further, that the health, safety and welfare of the people of the City require that there be, in addition to the statewide program for the control of quality of all waters in the state, a local program consistent with and in furtherance of said state program to insure the removal of all authorized obstructions, impediments and unlawful deviations of the free flow of water through the watercourses of the City;

B. That the City and the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, hereinafter referred to as “ACFCWCD,” own respectively certain watercourses or portions thereof within the City which, because of said ownership, are adequately protected and maintained;

C. That obstruction or degradation of water quality of watercourses not under the ownership of the ACFCWCD and the City within the City adversely affects the integrated program of flood control and water conservation pursued since the inception of ACFCWCD as well as the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the City who suffer detriment by virtue of said obstruction or degradation of water quality;

D. That investigation and study of watercourses not under the ownership of ACFCWCD or the City disclose an increasing incidence of obstruction and degradation of water quality by the depositing of foreign material within said watercourses, with resulting injury to property owners both riparian and nonriparian;

E. That unobstructed flow of high-quality water is necessary to maximize the beneficial use of water by the inhabitants of the City. (Ord. 2065 § 1(A), 2018; 1960 code § 25.2)

16.08.030 Policy declaration.

It is declared to be in the interest of the public health, safety and welfare that:

A. Watercourses located within the City and not under ownership of ACFCWCD or the City be maintained free of obstructions and materials which contribute to the degradation of water quality;

B. The owners of property through which said watercourses flow are primarily responsible for maintaining a free flow of water through said property and to maintain the quality of water as such water passes to downstream users;

C. The City shall assume responsibility for abatement of watercourse obstruction or water quality degradation in the absence of exercise by owners of such primary responsibility, through commencement and prosecution of abatement proceedings before the City Council. (Ord. 2065 § 1(A), 2018; 1960 code § 25.3)

16.08.040 Definitions.

The definitions contained in this chapter shall govern the construction of this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires.

1. “Bank” means embankments, dikes, levees, walls or other natural or artificial bordering facilities or features adjoining or parallel to any natural or artificial watercourse, channel or reservoir.

2. “Beneficial uses of water” means, but is not necessarily limited to, domestic, municipal, agricultural and industrial supply; power generation; recreation; aesthetic enjoyment; navigation; and preservation and enhancement of fish, wildlife and other aquatic resources or preserves.

3. “Conduit” means any pipe, flume, box, culvert or any other natural or artificial facility intended for the passage or conveyance of water, open or closed, above, on or below the surface of the ground.

4. “Dam” means any natural or artificial structure or barrier of either a temporary or permanent nature, the effect of which is to impound or hold back water or the flow thereof, and includes check dams, weirs, walls, dikes and levees.

5. “City” means the City of Livermore.

6. “District” means the Alameda County Flood Control and Water Conservation District, sometimes referred to herein as “ACFCWCD.”

7. “Levee” means any embankment, dike, wall or other structure, permanent or temporary, of any materials or combinations thereof, the purpose of which is to stop, confine, divert or otherwise control the flow of water in an area, channel or watercourse.

8. “Nuisance” means anything which is injurious to health, or is indecent or offensive to the senses, or an obstruction to the free use of property, so as to interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property, or unlawfully obstructs the free passage or use, in the customary manner, of any lake, creek, pond, stream, canal, basin or watercourse, and affects at the same time an entire community or neighborhood, or any considerable number of persons, although the extent of the annoyance or damage inflicted upon individuals may be unequal, or occurs during or as a result of treatment or disposal of wastes.

9. “Obstruction” means, but shall not be limited to, any object or thing, consisting of any material whatsoever, which object or thing or accumulation of matter tends to obstruct, hinder or impede the flow of water within a watercourse, or tends to affect adversely the hydraulic characteristics of any watercourse, to such an extent as to create a hazard to life, health or property or to the beneficial use of water of any watercourse by reduction or impairment of water flow therein, or eminent danger thereof.

10. “Person” means any person, firm, corporation, municipality, district, public agency, county, the state or any department or agency thereof, and the United States, to the extent authorized by federal law.

11. “Random fill material” means earth material placed within a watercourse in an uncompacted condition and without benefit of engineering relating to hydraulic ramifications of such deposit.

12. “Regional board” means any California regional water quality control board for a region, as specified in Section 13200 of the Water Code of the state.

13. “Right-of-way” means land which, by deed, conveyance, agreement, easement, dedication, gift, usage or process of law, is reserved for and dedicated to the uses and purposes of the City or ACFCWCD.

14. “Rubbish” means debris, garbage or refuse of any kind, combustible or noncombustible, organic or inorganic, liquid or solid, water soluble or insoluble materials, and shall include, but not be limited to, swill, refuse, cans, bottles, paper, vegetable matter, carcasses of dead animals, offal from any slaughter pen or butcher shop, trash, abandoned and unidentifiable vehicles or vehicle bodies, abandoned iceboxes and refrigerators, other abandoned appliances, broken cement or concrete, tree stumps or brush, random fill material or riprap.

15. “State board” means the State Water Resources Control Board.

16. “Structure” means any works or construction of any kind, including those of earth or rock, permanent or temporary, and including fences, poles, buildings, linings or pavings, inlets, levees, tide gates, spillways, drop structures and similar facilities.

17. “Waste” includes sewage and any and all other waste substances, liquid, solid, gaseous or radioactive, associated with human habitation, or of human or animal origin, or from any producing, manufacturing or processing operation of whatever nature, including such waste placed within containers of whatever nature prior to and for purposes of disposal.

18. “Water quality” or “quality of waters” refers to chemical, physical, biological, bacteriological, radiological and other properties and characteristics of water which affect its use.

19. “Water quality degradation” means an impairment of water quality of the waters flowing through the watercourses of the City by alteration of the chemical, physical, biological, bacteriological, radiological or other properties and characteristics of water which impair the quality of such water to a degree which creates a hazard to the public health through poisoning or through the spread of disease, resulting from deposit of waste, rubbish or other foreign materials, which materials contribute to the lowering of quality of such waters to a degree below that established by the State Board or regional board having jurisdiction over the waters of the City. For the purposes of this chapter, contamination and pollution shall be embraced within the definition of water quality degradation.

20. “Watercourse” means any natural or artificial streams, rivers, rivulets, brooks, creeks, streams, ditches, canals, conduits, boxes, culverts, bridgeways, drains, waterways, gullies, arroyos, washes, basins, ponds, reservoirs or flumes, flowing continuously or intermittently in a definite direction and course, or used for the holding, delay or storage of waters. (Ord. 2065 § 1(A), 2018; 1960 code § 25.4)

16.08.050 Obstructing watercourses prohibited.

It is unlawful for any person to obstruct, or cause or allow to be obstructed, any watercourse within the City not under the ownership of or included as right-of-way within the flood control and water conservation system of the City or the ACFCWCD, by damming, by random filling, by depositing or otherwise placing rubbish or any other thing or material, or by suffering the natural growth of vegetable matter including, but not limited to, weeds, trees and brush, if any such obstruction impedes or impairs the flow of water within any watercourse to the extent that a hazard to life, health or property is created thereby, or if beneficial use of the waters of said watercourse is reduced, impaired or endangered by any such obstruction. (Ord. 2065 § 1(A), 2018; 1960 code § 25.5)

16.08.060 Changing banks or increasing flow of water in watercourses prohibited.

It is further unlawful for any person to, by any of the acts described in LMC 16.08.050, increase the flow of water within any watercourse or to enlarge or alter any levee or bank without permission, to the extent that a hazard to life, health or property is created thereby. (1960 code § 25.5)

16.08.070 Degrading water quality prohibited.

It is further unlawful for any person to degrade the water quality of water flowing through such watercourses by any of the acts prohibited in LMC 16.08.050 and 16.08.060. (1960 code § 25.5)

16.08.080 Enforcement authority – Abatement procedures.

A violation of this chapter is a threat to the public health, safety and welfare, and is declared a nuisance which may be abated pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 15.20 LMC. The Public Works Director of the City is designated as the enforcing and administering official for the purpose of such abatement in lieu of the building official specified in Chapter 15.20 LMC. (Ord. 2065 § 1(A), 2018; 1960 code § 25.6)