Pollutants in storm water is one of the largest concerns surrounding water runoff. Because storm water ultimately works its way into local streams and creeks, the quality of the water is affected by any pollutants that run off into the storm sewers along with water. Here are some common, every day pollutants that affect storm water runoff:
Pollutants are not the only concern, however. Storm water runoff that is not managed properly can negatively impact the environment and wildlife. Stormwater flows much faster down a road than it does in woods. The faster moving water picks up pollutants and sediments that are carried to creeks and streams. The result of this unmanaged runoff is:
It’s easy to notice flooding after large rain storms, but smaller rains also have an impact as well. 95% of rainfall volume occurs from smaller rain events. Over time, even with smaller volume rainstorms, streams and creeks lose their natural bends and tend to become warmer over time, decreasing the amount of dissolved oxygen which can be harmful to fish.
The MS4 Program is administrated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The EPA defines MS4 as “A conveyance or system if conveyances that is not part of a public water treatment plant or other public entity that collects water in storm drains, ponds, etc., and not a combined sewer”.
A rain garden is an landscaped area that is specifically designed to accept water runoff and soak into the ground. A rain garden is not much different than a flowering garden of perennial plants and shrubs. It often is a unique and inexpensive way to beautify your property with one exception – it effectively uses water runoff.
MS4 regulations, issued in the early to late 1990’s required population centers of varying sizes, to permit for coverage of stormwater discharges. Permits for small population centers, as well as urbanized population centers must be obtained from the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).
All Ms4 programs that are permitted by NPDES must include six Minimum Control Measures (MCMs). The MCMs are:
As of late 2014, there were 207 municipalities within the 10 county region that MS4 permits.