Stormwater Program

Introduction

Stormwater management concerns the control of water (from rain, melting ice or snow) that runs off the surface of the land. The amount and rate of runoff is increased considerably as land is developed; construction of impervious surface (e.g. parking lots) hinders the infiltration of rainfall into the soil. Therefore stormwater management is imperative to offset the possible impacts of development – flooding and erosion problems, concentration of flow on neighboring properties, damages to infrastructure, and non-point source pollution (i.e. pollution that comes from the general drainage of the land such as runoff from parking lots and farmland).

Federal regulations enacted in December 1999 require Wrightstown Township to improve on their existing stormwater management program over the next five years, beginning in March 2003. 

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II stormwater program requires that Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) address the six required elements contained in the federal regulations to reduce water pollution:

Public education and outreach
 
Public participation and involvement
 
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

Information on this program is available from the Pennsylvania DEP (click here).

Preventing Stormwater Pollution

Stormwater runoff occurs when water from rain or snow and ice melting flows over the ground. Stormwater becomes a problem when it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants as it flows or when it causes flooding and erosion of streambanks. Stormwater travels through a system of pipes and roadside ditches that make up storm sewer systems. It eventually flows directly to a lake, river, stream, wetland or coastal water. All of the pollutants stormwater carries along the way empty into our waters, too, because stormwater does not get treated!
 
Here are some of the most important ways for Township residents to prevent stormwater pollution:

  • Properly dispose of hazardous substances, such as used motor oil, cleaning supplies and paint – never pour them down any part of the storm sewer system, and report anyone who does.
  • Use pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides properly and efficiently to prevent excess runoff of these items.
  • Look for signs of soil and other pollutants, such as debris and chemicals, leaving construction sites in stormwater runoff or tracked into roads by construction vehicles. Report poorly managed constructionsites that could impact stormwater runoff to the Township.
  • Install innovative stormwater practices on residential properties, such as rain barrels or rain gardens, that capture stormwater and keep it on-site instead of letting it drain away into the storm sewer system.
  • Report any discharge from stormwater outfalls during times of dry weather – a sign there could be a problem with the storm sewer system.
  • Pick up after pets and dispose of their waste properly. No matter where pets make a mess – in a backyard or on open space – stormwater runoff can carry pet waste from the land to the storm sewer system to a stream.
  • Store materials that could pollute water indoors and use containers for outdoor storage that do not rust or leak to eliminate exposure of materials to stormwater.

Friendly Reminders

When you’re fertilizing the lawn, remember you’re not just fertilizing the lawn.

You fertilize the lawn. Then it rains. The rain washes the fertilizer along the curb, into the storm drain, and directly into our streams, ponds, lakes and into coastal waters, including the Delaware Bay. This causes algae to grow, which uses up oxygen that fish need to survive. So if you fertilize, please follow directions and use sparingly.

When your pet goes on the lawn, remember it doesn’t just go on the lawn.

When our pets leave those little surprises, rain washes all that pet waste and bacteria into our storm drains. And then pollutes our waterways. So what to do? Simple. Dispose of it properly (preferably in the toilet). Then that little surprise gets treated like it should.
 
Water Quality Hotlines

Educational Brochures

Information for Homeowners and Residents:
EPA Water Homepage
http://water.epa.gov/
Stormwater Basic Information
http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/Stormwater-Basic-Information.cfm
EPA Municipal MS4 Information
http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/Municipal-Separate-Storm-Sewer-System-MS4-Main-Page.cfm
EPA MS4 Fact Sheets
http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/Stormwater-Phase-II-Final-Rule-Fact-Sheet-Series.cfm
EPA Stormwater Outreach Materials
http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/Stormwater-Outreach-Materials-and-Reference-Documents.cfm
EPA Stormwater Menu of BMP’s
http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/swbmp/index.cfm
E PA Septic System Information
http://water.epa.gov/infrastructure/septic/

Information for Businesses:
EPA Water Homepage
http://water.epa.gov/
Stormwater Basic Information
http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/Stormwater-Basic-Information.cfm
EPA Stormwater Outreach Materials
http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/Stormwater-Outreach-Materials-and-Reference-Documents.cfm

Information for Builders and Developers:
EPA Water Homepage
http://water.epa.gov/
EPA Municipal MS4 lnformation
http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/Municipal-Separate-Storm-Sewer-System-MS4-Main-Page.cfm
EPA MS4 Fact Sheets
http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/Stormwater-Phase-II-Final-Rule-Fact-Sheet-Series.cfm
EPA Stormwater Outreach Materials
http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/Stormwater-Outreach-Materials-and-Reference-Documents.cfm
EPA Stormwater Menu of BMP’s
http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/swbmp/index.cfm

Educational Shows
After the Storm” is a 1/2 hour video documentary focused on the effects of polluted stormwater runoff, which is a leading cause of problems to our nation’s rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. The program also illustrates simple things that citizens can do to help protect their local watersheds.
 
Additional Links
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (Keyword: Stormwater)
April2010AppendixD
Bucks County Conservation District
Environmental Protection Agency
Center for Watershed Protection