THE MS4 STORMWATER PROGRAM?
Untreated or uncontrolled stormwater runoff is the number one cause of pollution or impairment in our local waterways. Polluted runoff is often transported through municipal stormwater systems, where it is eventually discharged into streams untreated. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a municipal stormwater management program known as the MS4 Program that is intended to improve our Nation’s waters by reducing the quantities of pollutants that stormwater picks up and carries into the storm sewer systems during a storm event. As part of the MS4 Program, Pocopson Township holds a permit to discharge its stormwater into local waterways. This permit requires Pocopson to design a stormwater management program that reduces the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent possible, which protects water quality, and which satisfies the water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act. In Pennsylvania, the MS4 program is administered by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
The MS4 stormwater management program has six elements, termed “minimum control measures,” which, when implemented, are intended to result in significant reduction in pollutants discharged into receiving waters. The six minimum control measures, and the actions required by Pocopson Township, are outlined below.
Distribute educational materials and conduct outreach to inform citizens about the impacts that stormwater runoff has on water quality.
Provide opportunities for citizens to participate in the stormwater management program, or other programs, which improve water quality.
Develop and implement a plan to detect and eliminate non-stormwater discharges into the stormwater system.
Develop, implement, and enforce an erosion and sediment control program for construction site activities that disturb one acre or greater.
Develop, implement, and enforce a program to address discharges of post-construction stormwater runoff from new development or redevelopment areas.
Develop and implement a program that reduces or prevents pollutant runoff from municipal operations.
Pocopson is committed to improving water quality within its watersheds through continued management of stormwater runoff. All residents and business owners can participate in the Township’s municipal stormwater program by reducing or preventing pollutant runoff from their own properties and by reporting any non-stormwater discharges into their local waterways.
Pocopson Township, like many other communities in the Southeastern Pennsylvania region, recently was required to obtain a permit from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection for its storm drainage system. This permit required the Township to locate and map all stormwater piping and drainage ditch systems owned and maintained by the Township. The permit also requires the Township to inspect these drainage systems periodically to detect any “illicit discharges” from the systems.
What in the world is an
illicit discharge? Simply stated, an illicit discharge is something that is
exiting a storm drainage pipe or drainage ditch
that is not stormwater and potentially could pollute our streams. Examples of illicit discharges that would be typical for a community like ours
are septic system overflows, sanitary wastewater, chlorinated pool water, paints, oil or other vehicle fluids, etc.
While the Township has
inspected its drainage system on a regular basis since the permit was issued,
our inspectors cannot be everywhere
all the time. If you happen to see something exiting a storm pipe or ditch that looks, smells or feels like something other than stormwater,
please contact the Township so we can track it to its source and keep our streams as clean and pure as possible. To report an illicit discharge, call Pocopson Township at 610-793-2151 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org