Storm Water Management - MS4
Stormwater Management and Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4)
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Program is mandated under the federal Clean Water Act. Adams Township has a permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to operate the MS4. These permits require communities to put stormwater management programs in place that reduce the discharge of pollutants, educate the public, and protect local water quality.
Under the MS4 Program, permittees are required to incorporate the following six elements (known as minimum control measures, or MCMs) into their stormwater management programs:
- Public education and outreach
- Public involvement and participation
- Illicit discharge detection and elimination
- Construction site runoff control
- Post-construction stormwater management in new development and redevelopment
- Pollution prevention and good housekeeping for municipal operations and maintenance
Each MCM has a series of suggested best management practices (BMPs) associated with it to guide permit holders in program development, tracking, and reporting.
A Guide to Best Management Practices
What is Stormwater Runoff?
Stormwater runoff occurs when water from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces such as driveways, sidewalks and streets prevent stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground.
Development typically replaces the natural landscape with impervious surfaces like roads, roofs and parking lots. When stormwater cannot sink into the ground, it has nowhere to go but to flow across the surface of the ground.
What is an Illicit Discharge?
Federal regulations define an illicit discharge as “…any discharge to an MS4 that is not composed entirely of stormwater…” with some exceptions.
Included Exceptions: Discharges from NPDES-permitted industrial sources and discharges from fire-fighting activities. Illicit discharges are considered “illicit” because MS4s are not designed to accept, process, or discharge such non-stormwater wastes.
What can I do?
- If you own a car, maintain it so it does not leak oil or other fluids. Be sure to wash it on the grass or at a car wash so the dirt and soap do not flow down the driveway into the nearest storm drain.
- Dispose of all trash in a can and pick up debris on the ground. Do not litter!
- Never apply fertilizers or pesticides before heavy rain.
- Keep lawn and household chemicals tightly sealed and stored where rain cannot reach them. Dispose of old or unwanted chemicals at household hazardous waste collection sites or events.
- Mulch leaves and grass clippings.
- Turn your gutter downspouts away from hard surfaces, seed bare spots in your yard to avoid erosion.
- Pet owners should pick up after their pets and dispose of pet waste in the garbage.