STORMWATER MANAGEMENT AND MS4
LEARN MORE ABOUT STORMWATER MANAGEMENT AND MS4
In recent years, managing stormwater has become an important program in townships and boroughs across the state of Pennsylvania. South Park Township, along with many other communities, is required by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to obtain an MS4 Permit for the purpose of discharging stormwater from its storm sewer system to surface waters.
What is MS4?
MS4 stands for "Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System." The goal of MS4 is to improve surface water quality through the regulation of stormwater discharges, which can be affected by activities within the watershed.
What is Stormwater?
As defined by the EPA, "Stormwater is rainwater or melted snow that runs off streets, lawns and other sites. When stormwater is absorbed into soil, it is filtered and ultimately replenishes aquifers or flows into streams and rivers. In developed areas, impervious surfaces such as pavement and roofs prevent precipitation from naturally soaking into the ground. Instead, water runs rapidly into storm drains, sewer systems and drainage ditches and can cause downstream flooding, stream bank erosion, increased turbidity (muddiness created by stirred up sediment) from erosion, habitat destruction, combined storm and sanitary sewer system overflows, infrastructure damage, and contaminated streams, rivers and coastal water."
What is the MS4 PRP Plan?
PRP stands for "Pollution Reduction Plan." South Park Township's PRP plan can be viewed online here.
Minimum Control Measures (MCMS)
The Pennsylvania DEP has developed 6 guidelines, also known as Minimum Control Measures (MCMS) to help South Park Township maintain a complete stormwater program.
- 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.
Managing the Township’s Stormwater Infrastructure
Stormwater management is an important township service for flood control and environmental protection. The South Park Public Works Department maintains and cleans the Township’s 1113 stormwater inlets, as well as miles of storm sewers to minimize flooding, environmentally harmful runoff, and traffic dangers.
Residents can assist with MS4, in a number of ways.
- If you have a pet, clean up after them so that the fecal matter is not washed into the storm sewer system. Animal waste may contain harmful organisms such as Salmonella and E. Coli.
- Use non-toxic or less toxic household cleaning products.
- Use commercial car washes.
- If you wash your vehicle at home, park it on the grass first so that the detergent run-off does not end up in the storm drains.
- When mowing the lawn, do not blow grass clippings into the street, as the clippings can easily enter the catchbasins of the storm sewer system. Grass clippings contain phosphorous, which can cause a rapid growth in algae and weeds. The rapid growth in algae can prevent other plants from growing and takes oxygen away from fish, if the algae is in a stream.
How Can I Learn More About MS4?
Additional MS4 guideline information for residents can be found online here. South Park Township has set up an MS4 informational display, located in the Administration Building lobby. MS4 information is also provided in the Township's monthly e-Newsletter, which residents can sign up for here.
PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION RESOURCES