The federal government’s recognition of the enormous value of clean water was marked by amendments to the Clean Water Act in 1972. Likewise, Pennsylvania passes on responsibilities to municipalities via Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permits, so we can consider local specifics while keeping our communities’ and our nation’s water clean.
The general requirement for each municipality is to develop and implement a Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce the discharge of pollutants from the regulated Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System to the maximum extent practicable. A Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System is a conveyance or system of conveyances that is:
- Owned by a state, city, town, village, or other public entity that discharges to waters of the United States.
- Designed or used to collect or convey storm water (including storm drains, pipes, ditches, etc.).
- Not a combined sewer.
- Not part of a publicly owned treatment works (sewage treatment plant).
Each municipality’s stormwater management program consists of six Minimum Control Measures:
- Public education and outreach
- Public participation/involvement
- Illicit discharge detection and elimination
- Construction site runoff control
- Post-construction runoff control
- Pollution prevention/good housekeeping
Municipal Stormwater Assistance Program
Erie County’s Municipal Stormwater Assistance Program was created to help municipalities meet stormwater permit requirements, educate residents and decision makers on stormwater issues, and promote effective planning across the region. This project is being funded by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Northwest Commission Greenways Block Grant. This funding supports efforts in the Erie County Department of Planning and Community Development to assist our municipalities in effectively developing and implementing stormwater management programs. Through these efforts, we can encourage collaboration and realize cost savings for our municipalities.
Erie County Department of Planning offers the following services to our municipalities:
- Education and outreach: Provide a consistent education message throughout Erie County, so municipalities do not have to duplicate efforts.
- Data collection, information systems and mapping: Assist municipalities in mapping their infrastructure utilizing GIS. This will allow municipalities to view an interactive map of their stormwater infrastructure and analyze water flow to inform decision making for infrastructure investments.
- Planning and administrative support: Assist municipalities in organizing information related to their stormwater management programs, which allows for quicker inspections and facilitates information sharing. Work with municipalities to evaluate land development processes and provide recommendations to streamline stormwater management reviews that are required by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.