Why Stormwater Management?
Pennsylvania is one of the most flood prone states in the country. Flooding is often a result of tropical storms and hurricanes, and heavy rainfall on an existing snow pack. The flooding from such extreme storms and hurricanes occurs naturally and stormwater management cannot eliminate all flooding during severe rainfall events. However, flooding problems from rain events, including the smaller storms, have increased over time due to changes in land use and ineffective stormwater management. This additional flooding is a result of an increased volume of stormwater runoff being discharged throughout the watershed. Much of the increased volume is the direct result of more extensive impervious surface areas combined with substantial tracts of natural landscape being converted to lawns on highly compacted soil or agricultural activities.
The problems are not limited to flooding. Stormwater runoff carries significant quantities of pollutants washed from the impervious and altered land surfaces. The mix of potential pollutants ranges from sediment to varying quantities of nutrients, organic chemicals, petroleum hydrocarbons, and other constituents that cause water quality degradation.
The Clean Stream Law of 1937 is the foundation for water quality protection and restoration, and water resources management in Pennsylvania along with a series of federal laws, such as the Clean Water Act of 1972. Primary responsibility for administering the provisions of these laws lies with Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.
The Pennsylvania Storm Water Management Act of 1978 (Act 167) provides for statewide stormwater management. Pennsylvania has 2566 municipalities and 376 designated stormwater management watersheds, with diverse natural, social, and cultural features. Stormwater management plans must be developed by the counties and implemented by the municipalities in a given watershed through the adoption of stormwater ordinances. In addition to the requirements under local zoning and ordinances, federal regulations require individual land development projects to obtain National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits for all land development projects that disturb one acre or more. The 1999 update to the federal stormwater regulations also required municipalities throughout Pennsylvania to obtain NPDES permits for their stormwater discharges. Each permit holder must implement and enforce a stormwater management program that reduces the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent practicable.
Be A Clean Water Partner
That water running off your roof and down your driveway can end up as far away as the Chesapeake Bay. Your actions really do matter so check out the links below to see some of the ways you can be a Clean Water Partner!
- Schuylkill Valley Watershed
- What You Can Do
- For Kids & Teachers
- For Homeowners -- The Homeowner's Guide to Stormwater
- Water-Efficient Landscaping
- Living Streamside - Backyard Buffers
- Swimming Pool Guidelines
- Rain Gardens
- How to Build a Rain Garden
- Rain Barrels
- Build Your Own Rain Barrel
- For Businesses
- For Restaurants
- For Auto Repair & Gas Stations
- For Construction Industry
- PA Environmental Council - Maintaining Stormwater Basins on Your Property
- Winter Maintenance and De-Icing
- Stormwater Management for Small Projects
SCHUYLKILL TOWNSHIP’S STORM DRAIN MARKER PROGRAM PUTS MESSAGE ON THE STREET ABOUT WATER QUALITY
The Township Roads Department has installed street curbs near storm drains with a permanent marker stating, “Don’t Pollute -- Flows to Waterways” in an effort to help Schuylkill Township with its storm water program. The storm drain marker project is one of many activities aimed at preventing trash, pet waste, and household chemicals from entering into the Pickering Creek Watershed, an important local drinking water resource, through the Township’s storm sewer system.
Rain washes down streets and parking lots, driveways, and sidewalks, roofs and yards, carrying water and everything it picks up into storm drains. Storm drains are the entry point into a storm sewer system and this system eventually discharges storm water directly to local streams without treatment! The storm drain marker project is part of a larger storm water management program that strives to keep local streams free of trash, dirt, and chemicals, such as used motor oil, by promoting smart practices that will reduce sources of pollution on the land. Through storm drain marking, Schuylkill Township hopes to increase residents’ awareness about the connection between the street and their yards, storm drains, and the storm sewer system. Most people do not understand that storm drains are the entry point into the storm sewer system, and that storm water runoff leaving the system does not get treated first like sanitary wastewater.
The Pickering Reservoir is in the center of Schuylkill Township and supplies an average of 10 million gallons of water a day to 570,000 customers of Aqua PA. Storm sewer system outfalls release storm water to the reservoir during rain events. This stormwater can contain pollutants. There are steps that everyone can take to reduce the amount of pollutants - trash, debris, pet wastes, and chemicals - carried by storm water. The most basic way to help is to never dump anything you wouldn’t swim in or drink down a storm drain. Other ways to help include picking up pet wastes, properly disposing of household chemicals such as paints and cleaning supplies, sweeping driveways and sidewalks instead of hosing them, and washing cars at car wash facilities or on lawns rather than in driveways. For more information contact the Township offices. And the next time it rains, consider where the storm water drains.
- EPA Water Homepage: http://water.epa.gov/
- EPA Water Pollution Prevention and Control: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/
- EPA Stormwater Homepage: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/index.cfm
- EPA MS4 Main Page: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/Municipal-Separate-Storm-Sewer-System-MS4-Main-Page.cfm
- National Menu of Stormwater Best Management Practices: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/swbmp/index.cfm
- Stormwater Outreach Materials and Reference Documents: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/Stormwater-Outreach-Materials-and-Reference-Documents.cfm
- MS4 Fact Sheets: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/npdes/stormwater/Stormwater-Phase-II-Final-Rule-Fact-Sheet-Series.cfm
- Polluted Runoff: Nonpoint Source Pollution: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/index.cfm. At this site, there are several sub-topics under the “Quick Finder” section that may be useful for MS4 s.
- EPA Watersheds: http://water.epa.gov/type/watersheds/index.cfm
- Stormwater Phase II Final Rule - Small MS4 Stormwater Program Overview
- Stormwater Phase II Final Rule - Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Minimum Control Measure