The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced recently that it has sent orders to 85 municipalities in north central and northeast Pennsylvania requiring improvements to their programs for managing stormwater. EPA issued the orders to augment Pennsylvania’s efforts to ensure effective stormwater management programs are in place to improve water quality in local streams and the Chesapeake Bay, which is downstream of most of the towns cited by EPA.
“In this age of changing climate and more frequent and severe weather events, managing urban stormwater is essential for protecting and restoring the waterways in our communities,” said EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin. “Our objective in issuing these orders is to build on the work being done by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and bridge any gaps in making it clear to the municipalities that they need to do a better job of implementing their programs for controlling stormwater runoff.”
The federal Clean Water Act requires the cited municipalities to develop and implement a program to reduce contamination of stormwater runoff and prevent illegal discharges of stormwater.
EPA’s orders also require the cited municipalities to correct deficiencies with their respective Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) programs and to come into compliance with their Clean Water Act stormwater discharge permits. MS4s are publicly-owned drainage systems, including storm drains, pipes, and ditches, which are designed to collect and convey stormwater runoff in urbanized areas.
Urbanized areas generally contain large portions of impervious surfaces such as roads, rooftops and parking lots that channel stormwater directly into local streams, rivers, and other water bodies. Improperly managed stormwater runoff from urbanized areas can cause flooding and significant erosion, damage streams, and carry excessive nutrients, sediment, metals, volatile organic compounds, and other pollutants downstream.
The orders provide information to the municipalities regarding how to assure compliance with MS4 requirements of the Clean Water Act. For more information about Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) visit: http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/munic.cfm.
SOURCE: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency