The stormwater requirements of the federal Clean Water Act are administered under the PA Department of Environmental Protection’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer (MS4) Program.  The MS4 program is intended to improve our nation’s waters by minimizing the impacts from runoff.  Your municipality may hold a permit to discharge their stormwater into local waterways.

Untreated stormwater can potentially discharge into streams, rivers and lakes.

Untreated stormwater can potentially discharge into streams, rivers and lakes.

Under the MS4 Program, permittees are required to incorporate six elements (known as minimum control measures, or MCMs) into their stormwater management programs.  Each MCM has a series of suggested best management practices (BMPs) associated with it to guide permit holders in program development, tracking, and reporting.

  1. Public Education and Outreach  Distribute educational materials and conduct outreach to inform citizens about the impacts that stormwater runoff has on water quality.
  2. Public Participation/Involvement Provide opportunities for citizens to participate in the stormwater management program or other programs which improve water quality.
  3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Develop and implement a plan to detect and eliminate non stormwater discharges into the stormwater system.
  4. Construction Site Runoff Control Develop, implement and enforce (sometimes with the assistance of County Conservation Districts) an erosion and sediment control program for construction site activities that disturb one acre or greater.
  5. Post-Construction Runoff Control Develop, implement and enforce a program to address discharges of post-construction stormwater runoff from new development or redevelopment areas.
  6. Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping Develop and implement a program that reduces or prevents pollutant runoff from municipal operations.

Pennsylvania’s County Conservation Districts can partner with local municipalities to improve water quality in watersheds through better management of stormwater runoff.   Every resident and business owner can participate in their municipal stormwater program by reducing runoff through

  • the reduction of impervious services (roofs, paved areas, concrete patios)
  • preventing polluted runoff from their own property
  • reporting any non-stormwater discharges into local waterways to the local DEP office.

This write-up adapted from Blair County Conservation District

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