Small MS4 Sormwater Program Overview

Polluted storm water runoff is often transported to municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) and ultimately discharged into local rivers and streams without treatment. EPA’s Stormwater Phase II Rule establishes an MS4 stormwater management program that is intended to improve the Nation’s waterways by reducing the quantity of pollutants that stormwater picks up and carries into storm sewer systems during storm events. Common pollutants include oil and grease from roadways, pesticides from lawns, sediment from construction sites, and carelessly discarded trash, such as cigarette butts, paper wrappers, and plastic bottles. When deposited into nearby waterways through MS4 discharges, these pollutants can impair the waterways, thereby discouraging recreational use of the resource, contaminating drinking water supplies, and interfering with the habitat for fish, other aquatic organisms, and wildlife.

In 1990, EPA promulgated rules establishing Phase I of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater program. The Phase I program for MS4s requires operators of “medium” and “large” MS4s, that is, those that generally serve populations of 100,000 or greater, to implement a stormwater management program as a means to control polluted discharges from these MS4s. The Stormwater Phase II Rule extends coverage of the NPDES stormwater program to certain “small” MS4s but takes a slightly different approach to how the stormwater management program is developed and implemented.

WHAT IS A PHASE II SMALL MS4?

A small MS4 is any MS4 not already covered by the Phase I program as a medium or large MS4. The Phase II Rule automatically covers on a nationwide basis all small MS4s located in “urbanized areas” (UAs) as defined by the Bureau of the Census (unless waived by the NPDES permitting authority), and on a case by case basis those small MS4s located outside of the UAs that the NPDES permitting authority designates.  Fairmont State University and Pierpont Community & Technical College has been designated a small MS4 by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

WHAT ARE THE PHASE II SMALL MS4 PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS?

Operators of regulated small MS4s are required to design their programs to:

  • Reduce the discharge of pollutants to the “maximum extent practicable” (MEP);
  • Protect water quality; and
  • Satisfy the appropriate water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act.

Implementation of the MEP standard will typically require the development and implementation of BMPs and the achievement of measurable goals to satisfy each of the six minimum control measures. The Phase II Rule defines a small MS4 stormwater management program as a program comprising six elements that, when implemented in concert, are expected to result in significant reductions of pollutants discharged into receiving waterbodies. The six MS4 program elements, termed “minimum control measures,” are:

  • Public Education and Outreach
  • Public Participation/Involvement
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
  • Construction Site Runoff Control
  • Post-Construction Runoff Control
  • Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping

Fairmont State University’s and Pierpont Community & Technical College’s Stormwater program, including the “minimum control measures” listed above will be available for viewing at the Physical Plant upon acceptance by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection.

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?

Students, faculty, and staff, as well as engineers, contractors, and other campus visitors can all help to improve our small MS4. Please take some time to review the publications below in order find out how “YOU” can help reduce pollution entering into our local streams and rivers.

Stormwater Program Feedback