Stormwater Management : MS4 Program

There is no doubt about it  — stormwater management in Pennsylvania is a multi-layered, multi-jurisdictional, ever-changing set of rules, regulations, and requirements. This article will help West Deer residents understand why these requirements -- mandated by Federal and State laws — are in place. 

What is the MS4 Program?
Untreated or uncontrolled stormwater runoff is the number one cause of impairment in our local waterways. Polluted runoff is often transported through municipal drainage systems until it eventually discharges into streams, lakes, and rivers. An MS4 — or Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System — is comprised of drainage systems including streets, catch basins, curbs, gutters, ponds, ditches, man-made channels, and storm pipes owned by public entities. Therefore most municipalities — including West Deer — are required to comply.

MS4 programs are intended to improve our nation’s surface waters by reducing the levels of pollutants picked up by runoff and transported into the stormwater system during rains. As part of the MS4 Program, West Deer holds a permit to discharge stormwater into local waterways. This permit requires us to implement and maintain a stormwater management program that:  1) reduces the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent possible; 2) protects water quality; and 3) satisfies the water quality requirements of the Federal Clean Water Act. In Pennsylvania, the MS4 Program is administered by the Department of Environmental Protection. Every resident can participate in this program by reducing or preventing pollutant runoff from their own property by reporting any non-stormwater discharges into the Township’s drainage system.

What can we do to keep stormwater clean?
There are numerous things we can all do on a daily basis to keep pollution out of our waterways, such as:
1) Never dumping anything into storm drains, swales, or streams.
2) Picking up litter from the street before it gets into storm drains.
3) Using limited amounts of fertilizers.
4) If you must use pesticides, finding an environmentally-friendly product.
5) Recycling motor oil and other hazardous chemicals. NEVER dump such materials into the storm system!
6) Recycling in general!
7) Always pick up your pet’s waste.

What type of connections are prohibited?
The following connections are strictly prohibited:
1) Any drainage pipe, channel, or ditch that allows non-stormwater discharge (like septic) into our system.
2) Roof drains. Unless necessary and approved by the Township, roof drains should discharge into vegetation.
3) Rubbish/garbage left in public rights-of-way, except that in waste receptacles intended for refuse collection.
4) Any drain or pipe connected to the Township’s stormwater system without approval from West Deer.