MS4 Permit

The Phase II Final Rule, published on December 8, 1999 automatically covers all small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) located in Urbanized Areas as delineated by the US Census Bureau. The permit may also cover MS4s located outside of the Urbanized Area if they are deemed to be contributing storm water to an MS4 within the Urbanized Area or they pose a risk for pollutant release to waters of the US.

The municipal MS4s initially identified in 2003 were required to develop and fully implement a stormwater management program by March 9, 2008. Following the release of the 2010 Decennial Census in March 2011, additional municipal MS4s may be identified based upon population changes and growth of urbanized areas.

Notice of Intent and Annual Reports

As a first step toward obtaining State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges regulated MS4s must submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) form to DEC. The NOI requires MS4s to provide an initial outline of planned activities to comply with the permits six minimum control measures and details of how these activities will be measured and assessed. Once submitted to DEC, the NOI will be published in the Environmental Notice Bulletin and will be subject to a public comment period of no less than 28 days.

The permit year ends on March 9. Regulated MS4s are required to submit Municipal Certification Forms and Annual Reports, no later than June 1, to assess progress and evaluate the effectiveness of the measures outlined in the NOI and Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP). The current permit, GP-0-10-002, does allow for a joint annual report for regulated MS4s that are working together to develop or implement a SWMP.

Annual Report forms have changed frequently and it is recommended that regulated entities check the DEC stormwater web pages close to the end of each permit year to ensure that they have to latest version of the forms.

Stormwater Management Plans (SWMPs)

The permit requires that regulated MS4s design and implement a Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) that reduces the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent practicable to protect surface and ground water resources. The SWMP must include activities and/or practices, known as Best Management Practices (BMPs) within six predefined subject areas, known as the Six Minimum Control Measures. For each activity, the SWMP should include, implementation dates, the goal or method of measuring and assessing each activity, and the person responsible for the implementation/oversight of each activity. The SWMP should not be static; for example, poor activity assessments, changing priority pollutants, or changes to technologies may all result in the need to update the SWMP.

Six Minimum Control Measures (MCMs)

The following guidance is based upon the current SPDES permit (GP-0-10-002) and EPA guidance materials. For supporting materials to assist with these measures, please see the Educational Resources section of this website.

Minimum Control Measures

MCM1 MCM2 MCM3 MCM4 MCM5 MCM6

MCM 1: Public Education and Outreach

To satisfy the requirements of this MCM, the operator of a regulated small MS4 needs to:

  • Identify local Pollutants of Concern (POCs), waterbodies of concern and geographic areas of concern. Geographic areas might be locations that collect a lot of trash, or areas where you might expect more pet waste, such as dog parks.
  • Identify target audiences such as: homeowners, school children, rowing and fishing clubs, dog owners, planning boards, zoning boards, and building inspectors.
  • Implement a public education program to distribute educational materials to the community, or conduct equivalent outreach activities. The outreach program should describe to the general public and target audiences: the impacts of stormwater discharges on local water bodies; local POCs and their sources; and the steps that can be taken to reduce stormwater pollution.
  • Determine the appropriate BMPs and measurable goals for this MCM. The MS4 should keep records of their activities for periodic assessment. The BMPs should be modified if the assessment shows that the MS4 is not meeting its goals. Some program implementation approaches, BMPs (i.e.., the program actions/activities) and measurable goals are suggested below.

What are Some Guidelines for Developing and Implementing This Measure?

Three main action areas are important for successful implementation of a public education and outreach program:

1. Form Partnerships

Operators of regulated small MS4s are encouraged to enter into partnerships with other governmental entities to fulfill this MCM’s requirements. It is generally more cost-effective to use an existing program, or to develop a new regional or state-wide education program, than to have numerous operators developing their own local programs. Operators are encouraged to seek assistance from non-governmental organizations (e.g., environmental, civic, and industrial organizations), since many already have educational materials and perform outreach activities.

2. Using Educational Materials and Strategies

Operators of regulated small MS4s may use stormwater educational information provided by the US EPA or the NYS DEC instead of developing their own materials. Operators should strive to make their materials and activities relevant to local situations and issues, and incorporate a variety of strategies to ensure maximum coverage. Some examples include:

  • Brochures or fact sheets for general public and specific audiences;
  • Recreational guides to educate groups such as golfers, hikers, paddlers, climbers, fishermen, and campers;
  • Alternative information sources, such as websites, bumper stickers, refrigerator magnets, posters for bus and subway stops, and restaurant placemats;
  • A library of educational materials for community and school groups;
  • Volunteer citizen educators to staff a public education task force;
  • Event participation with educational displays at home shows and community festivals
  • Educational programs for school-age children;
  • Storm drain stenciling with messages such as “Do Not Dump – Drains Directly to Lake;”
  • Economic incentives to citizens and businesses (e.g., rebates to homeowners purchasing mulching lawnmowers or biodegradable lawn products); and
  • Tributary signage to increase public awareness of local water resources.

3. Reaching Diverse Audiences

The public education program should use a mix of appropriate local strategies to address the viewpoints and concerns of a variety of audiences and communities, including minority and disadvantaged communities, as well as children. Printing posters and brochures in more than one language or posting large warning signs (e.g., cautioning against fishing or swimming) near storm sewer outfalls are methods that can be used to reach audiences less likely to read standard materials. Directing materials or outreach programs toward specific groups of commercial, industrial, and institutional entities likely to have significant stormwater impacts is also recommended. For example, information could be provided to restaurants on the effects of grease clogging storm drains and to auto garages on the effects of dumping used oil into storm drains.

What Are Appropriate Measurable Goals?

Measurable goals, which are required for each MCM, are intended to gauge permit compliance and program effectiveness. The measurable goals, as well as the BMPs, should reflect the needs and characteristics of the operator and the area served by its MS4. Furthermore, they should be chosen using an integrated approach that fully addresses the requirements and intent of the MCM. An integrated approach for this MCM could include the following measurable goals:

Target Date Activity
1 Year: Brochures developed (bilingual, if appropriate) and distributed in water utility bills; a stormwater hotline in place; volunteer educators trained.
2 Years: A website created; school curricula developed; storm drains stenciled.
3 Years: A certain percentage of restaurants no longer dumping grease and other pollutants down storm sewer drains.
4 Years: A certain percentage reduction in litter or animal waste detected in discharges.

MCM 2: Public Participation and Involvement

To satisfy the requirements of this MCM, the operator of a regulated small MS4 must:

  • Comply with applicable State and local public notice requirements.
  • Identify key individuals or groups who are interested in or affected by the SWMP and assess how they might provide input or support to the development and implementation of the SWMP.
  • Prepare an Annual Report using the NYSDEC reporting form. Provide an opportunity for public comment on the draft report through either a public meeting or online posting.
  • Determine the appropriate BMPs and measurable goals for this MCM. Possible implementation approaches, BMPs, and measurable goals are described below.

(Note: an Annual Report must be drafted and made available for public comment. The current SPDES permit (GP-0-10-002) requires an MS4 to solicit comments through a website posting or a public meeting. Once the comment period has expired, the annual report should be finalized and submitted to DEC by the June 1 deadline.)

What are Some Guidelines for Developing and Implementing This Measure?

Operators of regulated small MS4s should include the public in developing, implementing, and reviewing their stormwater management programs. The public participation process should make every effort to reach out and engage all economic and ethnic groups. EPA and NYSDEC recognize that there are challenges associated with public involvement. Nevertheless, EPA and NYSDEC strongly believe that these challenges can be addressed through an aggressive and inclusive program. Challenges and example practices that can help ensure successful participation are discussed below.

Implementation Challenges

The best way to handle common notification and recruitment challenges is to know the audience and think creatively about how to gain its attention and interest. Traditional methods of soliciting public input are not always successful in generating interest, and subsequent involvement, in all sectors of the community. For example, municipalities often rely solely on advertising in local papers to announce public meetings and other opportunities for public involvement. Since there may be large sectors of the population who do not read the local press, the audience reached may be limited. Therefore, alternative advertising methods should be used whenever possible, including radio or television spots, posting at bus or subway stops, announcements in neighborhood newsletters, announcements at civic organization meetings, distribution of flyers, mass mailings, door-to-door visits, telephone notifications, and multilingual announcements. (Note that SPDES Permit GP-0-10-002 sending announcements directly to individuals or groups that have been identified as having an interest in the water quality issues. See GP-0-10-002, Part VII.A.2.d.iii.) MCM2 activities are tied closely to MCM1 public education and outreach efforts.

In addition, advertising and soliciting for help should be targeted at specific population sectors, including: ethnic, minority, and low-income communities; academia and educational institutions; neighborhood and community groups; outdoor recreation groups; and business and industry. The goal is to involve a diverse cross-section of people who can offer a multitude of concerns, ideas, and connections during the program development.

What are Some Guidelines for Developing and Implementing This Measure?

There are a variety of BMPs that could be incorporated into a public participation and involvement program, such as:

  • Public meetings/citizen panels allow citizens to discuss various viewpoints and provide input concerning appropriate stormwater management policies and BMPs;
  • Volunteer water quality monitoring gives citizens firsthand knowledge of the quality of local water bodies and provides a cost-effective means of collecting water quality data;
  • Volunteer educators/speakers who can conduct workshops, encourage public participation, and staff special events;
  • Storm drain stenciling is an important and simple activity that concerned citizens, especially students, can do;
  • Community clean-ups along local waterways, beaches, and around storm drains;
  • Citizen watch groups can aid local enforcement authorities in the identification of polluters;
  • “Adopt-A-Storm-Drain” programs encourage individuals or groups to keep storm drains free of debris and to monitor what is entering local waterways through storm drains; and
  • Stormwater hotlines for information and for citizen reporting of polluters.

Note that the general public must be involved in these events; having DPW stencil storm drains or construct rain gardens may be counted as educational activities under MCM1, but will not count as MCM2 public stewardship. Many communities have existing public events that help water quality, such as hazardous waste collection days. To tie these events to the MS4 program, and ensure that the public is aware of the effects of hazardous materials water quality, public education materials might be included in the announcement and pamphlets might be handed out to participants. Sign-up sheets might also provide a way to identify individuals with an interest in participating in other water quality related activities.

What Are Appropriate Measurable Goals?

The measurable goals, as well as the BMPs, greatly depend on the needs and characteristics of the operator and the area served by the MS4. Measurable goals should be chosen using an integrated approach that fully addresses the requirements and intent of the MCM. An integrated approach for this MCM could include the following measurable goals:

Target Date Activity
1 Year: Notice of a public meeting in several different print media and bilingual fliers; citizen panel established; volunteers organized to locate outfalls/illicit discharges and stencil storm drains.
2 Years: Final recommendations of the citizen panel; radio spots promoting the program and participation.
3 Years: A certain percentage of the community participating in community clean-ups.
4 Years: Citizen watch groups established in certain percentage of neighborhoods; outreach to all population sectors completed.
(Recurring) (Annual Report compiled; an Annual Report public meeting advertised and held; Hazardous Waste Collection Day advertised in municipal newsletter with an article on how participating in Hazardous Waste Day protects water quality.)

 

MCM 3: Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE)

Recognizing the adverse effects illicit discharges can have on receiving waters, the Phase II Final Rule requires an operator of a regulated MS4 to develop, implement and enforce an IDDE program. This program must include the following:

  • A storm sewer system map of the urbanized area and additional designated areas, showing the location of all outfalls and the names and location of all surface waters of the State that receive discharges from those outfalls.
  • Field verify all outfalls and map new outfalls as they are constructed or discovered;
  • The preliminary boundaries of the storm sewersheds using GIS or other tools, by March 9, 2010. This map must be amended to cover sewer lines during an illicit discharge track down or if grant funding becomes available;
  • Through an ordinance, or other regulatory mechanism, a prohibition (to the extent allowable under State or local law) on non-stormwater discharges into the MS4, and appropriate enforcement procedures and actions;
  • Develop and implement a program to detect and address non-stormwater discharges, including illegal dumping, to the MS4. The plan should include identifying priority areas of concern, equipment, funding, documentation procedures/forms, personnel and track down procedures.
  • Undertake an Outfall Reconnaissance Inventory (ORI) addressing every outfall within the urbanized and additionally designated areas at least once every five years (i.e. 20% inspected annually);
  • Educate employees, businesses, and the general public about the hazards associated with illegal discharges and improper disposal of waste; and
  • Determine appropriate BMPs and measurable goals for this MCM to reduce the Pollutants of Concern (POCs) in stormwater discharges to the Maximum Extent Practicable (MEP). These BMPs should be periodically assessed and modified as needed. Some implementation approaches, BMPs, and measurable goals are suggested below.

Does This Measure Need to Address All Illicit Discharges?

No. The illicit discharge detection and elimination program does not need to address the following categories of non-stormwater discharges or flows unless the operator of the regulated small MS4 identifies them as significant contributors of pollutants to its MS4:

  • Water line flushing;
  • Landscape irrigation;
  • Diverted stream flows;
  • Rising ground waters;
  • Uncontaminated ground water infiltration;
  • Uncontaminated pumped ground water;
  • Discharges from potable water sources;
  • Foundation drains;
  • Air conditioning condensation;
  • Irrigation water;
  • Springs;
  • Water from crawl space pumps;
  • Footing drains;
  • Lawn watering;
  • Individual residential car washing;
  • Flows from riparian habitats and wetlands;
  • De-chlorinated swimming pool discharges; and
  • Street wash water.

What are Some Guidelines for Developing and Implementing This Measure?

The objective of the Illicit discharge detection and elimination minimum control measure is to have regulated MS4 operators gain a thorough awareness of their systems. Operators will determine the types and sources of illicit discharges entering their system; and establish the legal, technical, and educational means needed to eliminate these discharges. General guidance for each requirement is listed below.

1. Mapping

The storm sewer system map is meant to demonstrate a basic awareness of the intake and discharge areas of the system, while the storm sewershed map provides awareness of the catchment area that drains into the storm sewer system based upon surface topography. The maps are necessary to help determine potential areas of pollution concern, the extent of discharged dry weather flows, the possible sources of dry weather flows, and the particular waterbodies these flows may be affecting. The MS4 might use an existing map, such as a topographical map, on which the location of major pipes, flow direction, and outfalls can be clearly presented. Alternatively, MS4s might consider using a GIS, which would permit the storage of design specs, inspection data and outfall photographs. EPA recommends collecting all existing information on outfall locations (e.g., city records, drainage maps, storm drain maps) and then conducting field surveys to verify locations. It probably will be necessary to walk (i.e. wade through small receiving waters or use a boat for larger waters) the streambanks and shorelines for visible observations. More than one trip may be necessary to locate all the outfalls. It is recommended that the initial ORI be completed at the same time as the verification survey.

2. Law and Enforcement

MS4s must prohibit, through a law, ordinance or other regulatory mechanism, illicit discharges into the small MS4 and implement appropriate enforcement procedures and actions. The legal mechanism used must be equivalent to the State’s model IDDE local law: NYSDEC Model Local Law to Prohibit Illicit Discharges, Activities and Connections to Separate Storm Sewer Systems. The mechanism must be certified by the attorney representing the MS4 as being equivalent to the State’s model illicit discharge local law.

3. IDDE Plan

The plan to detect and address illicit discharges is the central component of this MCM. The plan is dependent upon several factors, including the permittee’s available resources, size of staff, and degree and character of its illicit discharges. As guidance only, the four steps of a recommended plan are outlined below:

  • Locate Problem Areas
    The EPA recommends that priority areas be identified for detailed screening of the system based on the likelihood of illicit connections (e.g., areas with older sanitary lines; areas with large number of auto dealerships, dry cleaners and restaurants). Methods that can locate problem areas include: public complaints; visual screening; water sampling from manholes and outfalls during dry weather; and the use of infrared and thermal photography.
  • Find the Source
    Once a problem area or discharge is found, additional efforts are usually necessary to determine the source of the problem. Methods that can find the source of the illicit discharge include: dye-testing buildings in problem areas; dye- or smoke-testing buildings at the time of sale; tracing the discharge upstream in the storm sewer; employing a certification program that shows the building has been checked for illicit connections; implementing an inspection program of existing septic systems; and using video to inspect the storm sewers.
  • Remove/Correct Illicit Connections
    Once the source has been identified, the offending discharger should be notified and directed to correct the problem. Education efforts and working with the discharger can be effective in resolving the problem before taking legal action.
  • Document Actions Taken
    As a final step, all actions taken under the plan should be documented. This illustrates that progress is being made to eliminate illicit connections and discharges. Documented actions should be included in annual reports and include information such as: the number of outfalls screened; the number of dye- and/or smoke-tests conducted; number of suspected illicit discharges; number of illicit discharges and quantities of flow eliminated; number of complaints received and findings.

4. Educational Outreach

Outreach to public employees, businesses, property owners, the general community, and elected officials regarding ways to detect and eliminate illicit discharges is integral to this minimum measure that will help gain support for the permittee’s stormwater program. Suggested educational outreach efforts include:

  • Developing informative brochures and guidance for specific audiences (i.e., carpet cleaning businesses, automotive repair shops, restaurants and pool owners) and school curricula.
  • Designing a program to publicize and facilitate public reporting of illicit discharges.
  • Coordinating volunteers for locating and visually inspecting outfalls, or to stencil storm drains.
  • Initiating recycling programs for commonly dumped wastes, such as motor oil, antifreeze and pesticides. It should be noted that communications should make the link between the recycling program, the stormwater program and local IDDE laws.

What Are Appropriate Measurable Goals?

Measurable goals are required for each minimum control measure and are intended to gauge permit compliance and program effectiveness. The goals, as well as the BMPs, should reflect the needs and characteristics of the operator and the area served by the MS4. Furthermore, they should be chosen using an integrated approach that fully addresses the requirements and intent of the minimum control measure. Goals should be outlined in the Stormwater Management Plan, along with frequency of measurement and evaluation criteria. It is recommended that the MS4 picks quantitative measures that can be readily assessed rather than qualitative goals. An integrated approach for this minimum control measure could include the following measurable goals:

Target Date Activity
1 Year: Sewer system map completed; recycling program for household hazardous waste in place.
2 Years: Ordinance in place; first training for public employees completed; a certain percentage of outfalls inspected.
3 Years: A certain percentage of outfalls inspected; a certain percentage of detected illicit discharges will be eliminated; tracking number of households participating in household hazardous waste special collection and X percent increase in participation; IDDE hotline set up.
4 Years: A certain percentage of outfalls inspected; a certain percentage of detected illicit discharges will be eliminated; respond to all hotline calls within X number of hours; participation in household hazardous waste collection increases a certain percentage; brochures developed and mailed to all automotive repair shops.

MCM 4: Construction Site Runoff Control

The Phase II Final Rule required an operator of a regulated small MS4 to develop, implement and enforce a program to reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff to their MS4 from construction activities that result in a land disturbance of greater than or equal to one acre. In the most recent permit, GP-0-10-002, stormwater runoff is by itself considered a pollutant of concern, and operators are now tasked with controlling stormwater discharges from construction activity.

Control of stormwater discharges from construction activity disturbing less than one acre of land must be included under this program if the construction activity is part of a larger common plan of development or if the DEC has specified that activities within a particular watershed warrant more stringent control.

In recent years, some developers with approved SWPPPs have sold parcels to other developers for construction. In these instances, it is recommended that the new developer submit an NOI, indicating that a previous NOI had been issued for this parcel. The new developer will be required to comply with the SWPPP.

The small MS4 operator is required to:

  • Have an ordinance (or other regulatory mechanism) requiring a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) for each applicable land disturbing activity that includes erosion and sediment controls, and controls for other wastes that meet the State’s most current technical standards. Within the Capital District this has been most commonly achieved through adoption of the State’s Model Local Law for Stormwater Management and Erosion and Sediment Control.
  • Have procedures for site plan review of construction plans that consider potential water quality impacts and consistency with State and local sediment and erosion control requirements. After approval of a plan, the operator must issue a SWPPP Acceptance Form.
  • Have procedures for site inspection and enforcement of control measures.
  • Ensure that individuals performing SWPPP reviews and site inspections are adequately trained and understand the State and local sediment and erosion control requirements.
  • Have sanctions to ensure compliance (established in the ordinance or other regulatory mechanism).
  • Establish procedures for the receipt and consideration of complaints and other information submitted by the public.
  • Educate construction site owners and other individuals about the municipality’s construction stormwater requirements. Ensure that Construction site operators have received erosion and sediment control training, typically through the DEC’s 4 hour certification program, prior to undertaking work within the jurisdiction.
  • Maintain an inventory of active construction sites and owner/operator contact details.
  • Determine the appropriate BMPs and measurable goals for this minimum control measure. Suggested BMPs and measurable goals are listed below.

What Are Some Guidelines For Developing and Implementing This Measure?

Further explanation and guidance for each component of a regulated small MS4’s construction program is provided below:

  1. Regulatory Mechanism
    The small MS4 operator must establish a construction program that controls polluted runoff from construction sites with a land disturbance of greater than or equal to one acre. Typically the control mechanism will be an ordinance, however non-traditional MS4s such as counties, school districts, universities, and government agencies may be precluded from issuing an ordinance. In such circumstances, procurement policies, service contracts, and employment policies, etc., may be amended to ensure compliance with the requirements. Where the State’s model law has not been adopted without changes, it is recommended that the operator use the NYSDEC Gap Analysis Workbook to ensure equivalence. All MS4s must obtain and retain in their records a certification from their attorney that the adopted law is equivalent to one of the State’s sample local laws.
    It should be noted that the State created two model laws for Construction Activities, issued September 2004 and March 2006. The first model law did not consider the application of alternative practices. With the SDPES construction and MS4 permits’ new emphasis on green infrastructure any MS4 that adopted the 2004 model law might consider reviewing the law and amending the language to allow for green infrastructure technologies.
  2. Site Plan Review
    The small MS4 operator must include in its construction program requirements for the implementation of appropriate BMPs on construction sites to control erosion and sediment. Additionally, there must be requirements for construction site operators to control waste such as discarded building materials, concrete truck washout, chemicals, litter and sanitary waste at the construction site that may cause adverse impacts to water quality. To determine if a construction site is in compliance with such provisions, the MS4 operator should review the site plans submitted by the construction site operator before ground is broken. After satisfactory review of the SWPPP, the MS4 operator must use the MS4 SWPPP Acceptance Form created by NYS DEC to notify the construction site owner/operator that their plans have been accepted.
    Site plan review aids in compliance and enforcement efforts since it alerts the MS4 operator, early in the process, to the planned use or non-use of proper BMPs and provides a way to track new construction activities. The tracking of sites is useful not only for the MS4’s recordkeeping and reporting purposes, which are required under the SPDES permit, but also for members of the public interested in ensuring that the sites are in compliance.
  3. Inspections and Penalties
    Once construction commences BMPs should be in place and the MS4 operator’s enforcement activities should begin. To ensure that the BMPs are properly installed, the MS4 operator is required to develop procedures for site inspection and enforcement of control measures to deter infractions. Procedures should include steps to identify priority sites for inspection and enforcement based on the nature and extent of the construction activity, topography, and the characteristics of soils and receiving water quality. Inspections give the MS4 operator an opportunity to provide additional guidance and education, issue warnings, or assess penalties.
    To conserve staff resources, one possible option for small MS4 operators is to have these inspections performed by the same inspector that visits sites to check compliance with health and safety building codes. All staff performing site inspections should be trained in stormwater requirements, the local law and documentation procedures. Records of staff training and documentation of all site stormwater inspections should be retained for audit compliance.
  4. Information Submitted by the Public
    A final requirement of MCM4, is the development of procedures for the receipt and consideration of public inquiries, concerns and information submitted regarding local construction activities. This provision is intended to further reinforce the public participation component of the MS4 stormwater program and recognize the crucial role that the public can play in identifying instances of non-compliance. To ensure that members of the public are not prevented from providing information, it is recommended that the MS4 provide several information submission methods (i.e. in person, telephone, fax and e-mail).
    The MS4 operator is required only to consider the information submitted and may not need to follow up and respond to every complaint or concern. Although some form of enforcement action or reply is not required, the MS4 is required to demonstrate acknowledgement and consideration of the information submitted. A simple tracking process in which the submitted public information, both written and verbal, is recorded and then given to the construction site inspector for possible follow up will suffice.

What Are Appropriate Measurable Goals?

Measurable goals, which are required for each minimum control measure, are intended to gauge permit compliance and program effectiveness. The measurable goals, as well as the BMPs, should reflect the needs of the operator and the area served by its MS4. Furthermore, they should be chosen using an integrated approach that fully addresses the requirements and intent of the minimum control measure. Goals should be outlined in the Stormwater Management Plan, along with frequency of measurement and evaluation. It is recommended that the MS4 picks quantitative measures that can be readily assessed rather than qualitative goals. An integrated approach for this minimum control measure could include the following measurable goals:

Target Date Activity
1 Year: Ordinance or other regulatory mechanism adopted; procedures for information submitted by the public written; site plan review and site inspection forms developed.
2 Years: SWPPP reviewers and site inspectors trained. Public notified of construction comment procedures; pre-construction meetings held with all construction site operators to review SWPPP requirements.
3 Years: An inventory is maintained of all active construction sites; a certain percentage of active construction sites are inspected; a certain percentage rate of compliance achieved by construction operators.
4 Years: Maximum compliance with ordinance; all active sites inspected; all public comments and findings are documented.

Are Construction Sites Already Covered Under the SPDES Stormwater Program?

Yes, large sites (five acres or more) and smaller construction sites (disturbing equal to or greater than one acre but less than five acres) are covered under SPDES stormwater construction permits. The construction site runoff control minimum measure for the small MS4 is seen as method of inducing more localized site regulation and enforcement efforts and to enable MS4 operators to more effectively control construction site discharges into their MS4s.

If a construction site is located in an area covered by a qualifying local program, the construction site operator’s compliance with the local program constitutes compliance with their SPDES permit. A regulated small MS4 stormwater program for construction is a qualifying local program.

Is a Small M4 Required to Regulate Construction Sites that the Permitting Authority has waived from the SPDES Construction Program?

No. If the State permitting authority waives requirements for stormwater discharges associated with small construction activity, the small MS4 operator is not required to develop, implement and/or enforce a program to reduce pollutant discharges from such construction sites.

MCM 5: Post-Construction Runoff Control

The Phase II Final Rule requires an operator of a regulated small MS4 to develop, implement and enforce a program to reduce pollutants in post-construction runoff to their MS4 from new development and redevelopment projects that result in land disturbance of an acre or more. The MS4 is required to:

  • Develop and implement strategies which include a combination of structural and/or nonstructural BMPs that provides equivalent protection to the NYS SPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities GP-0-10-001.
  • Addresses stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopment projects to the small MS4 from projects that result in a land disturbance of greater than or equal to one acre. A project less than one acre must be included if it is part of a larger common plan or if the DEC places more stringent controls on the watershed.
  • Pass an ordinance, or other regulatory mechanism, requiring the implementation of post-construction runoff controls from new development and redevelopment projects to the extent allowable under State law. The law must be equivalent to one of the versions of the NYSDEC Sample Local Laws for Stormwater Management and Erosion and Sediment Control. See MCM4 discussion of model law versions, gap analysis and attorney certification.
  • Use a combination of structural or non-structural management practices to reduce the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent practicable. Standards for these practices are contained within the NYS Stormwater Management Design Manual.
  • When developing watershed plans, comprehensive plans, open space preservation, and land use regulations, covered entities must consider principles of Low Impact Development, Better Site Design, Green Infrastructure practices, smart growth principles, natural resource protection, impervious cover reduction, maintaining natural hydrologic conditions, and riparian buffers to the maximum extent practicable.
  • Ensure adequate long-term operation and maintenance controls.
  • Determine the appropriate best management practices and measurable goals for this minimum control measure.

What Is Considered a “Redevelopment” Project?

In a stormwater context, the term “redevelopment” refers to alterations of a property that change the footprint of a site or building in such a way that there is a disturbance of equal to or greater than one acre of land. The term does not include such activities as exterior remodeling. Because redevelopment projects may have site constraints not found on new development sites, the rule provides some flexibility for implementing post-construction controls on redevelopment sites that consider these constraints, for example, the Runoff Reduction Volume (RRV) requirements are less stringent than for a green field site. See Chapter 9 of the NYS Stormwater Management Design Manual for further details.

What Are Some Guidelines for Developing and Implementing This Measure?

This section includes some sample structural and non-structural BMPs that could be used to satisfy the requirements of the post-construction runoff control minimum measure. With the advent of the 2010 DEC Stormwater Design Manual, designers are required to consider non-structural and green infrastructure runoff control mechanisms prior to traditional practices. These changes may require updates to local codes and laws to allow green infrastructure and construction techniques that reduce runoff and pollutant loads. It is important to recognize that many BMPs are climate-specific, and not all BMPs are appropriate in every geographic area. Because the requirements of this measure are closely tied to the requirements of MCM4, construction site runoff control, DEC recommends that the MS4 operator develop and implement these two measures in tandem.

Non-Structural BMPs

  • Planning and Procedures
    Runoff problems can be addressed efficiently with sound planning procedures. Master Plans, Comprehensive Plans, and zoning ordinances can promote improved water quality by guiding the growth of a community away from sensitive areas and by restricting certain types of growth (industrial, for example) to areas that can support it without compromising water quality.
  • Site-Based Local Controls
  • These controls can include buffer strip and riparian zone preservation, minimization of disturbance and imperviousness, and maximization of open space.

Structural BMPs

  • Storage Practices
    Storage or detention BMPs control stormwater by gathering runoff in wet ponds, dry basins, or multi-chamber catch basins and slowly releasing it to receiving waters or drainage systems. These practices both control stormwater volume and settle out particles for pollutant removal.
  • Infiltration Practices
    Infiltration BMPs are designed to facilitate the percolation of runoff through the soil to groundwater, resulting in reduced stormwater quantity and reduced pollutant mobilization. Examples include infiltration basins/trenches, dry wells and porous pavement.
  • Vegetative Practices
    Vegetative BMPs are landscaping features that, with optimal design and good soil conditions, enhance pollutant removal, maintain/improve natural site hydrology, promote healthier habitats, and increase aesthetic appeal. Examples include grassy swales, filter strips, artificial wetlands and rain gardens.

What Are Appropriate Measurable Goals?

Measurable goals are intended to gauge permit compliance and program effectiveness. The measurable goals, as well as the BMPs, should reflect the needs and characteristics of the operator and the area served by its small MS4. Furthermore, the measurable goals should be chosen using an integrated approach that fully addresses the requirements and intent of the minimum control measure. Goals should be outlined in the Stormwater Management Plan, along with frequency of measurement and evaluation. It is recommended that the MS4 picks quantitative measures that can be readily assessed rather than qualitative goals. An integrated approach for this minimum measure could include the following:

Target Date Activity
1 Year: An ordinance and certified by the municipal attorney as equivalent to one of the NYSDEC Sample Local laws for Stormwater Management and Erosion and Sediment Control.
2 Years: Map and database created of all post-construction controls, responsible parties, and maintenance schedule. Staff trained on inspection and maintenance of controls within the municipality. SWPPP review procedures and documentation created and SWPPP reviewers trained.
3 Years: All SWPPPs for sites disturbing 1 acre or more are reviewed by a Qualified Professional, or under the supervision of a Qualified Professional (definition) and SWPPP Acceptance Forms have been issued. Inspections and maintenance of controls performed during construction phase and according to O&M manuals. Documentation maintained of inspections, violations and enforcement actions. Private owners of post-construction controls notified of requirements to inspect and maintain practices.
4 Years: Strategies developed that include structural and/or non-structural BMPs, i.e., list of types of controls that are approvable based on local conditions; riparian buffer requirements for streambank protection established; and road width requirements reduced to meet NYS DOS Fire Code minimums. Planning, Zoning, Environmental Boards have been trained on low impact design, better site design and green infrastructure principles.

MCM 6: Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping

The Phase II Final Rule requires an operator of a regulated small MS4 to:

  • Develop and implement an operation and maintenance program that addresses all municipal operations and facilities that contribute or potentially contribute pollutants of concern to the MS4 system. The ultimate goal is to prevent or reduce pollutant runoff from municipal operations into the storm sewer system;
  • Audit and document an assessment of all municipal operations that contribute or potentially contribute pollutants of concern every three years (at a minimum).
  • Develop management practices, policies and procedures for implementation to reduce or prevent the discharge of pollutants. Refer to the management practices identified in the NYS Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping Assistance Program, and the CWP Municipal Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping Practices.
  • Prioritize identified changes to pollution prevention and good housekeeping policies, procedures, management practices, equipment and facilities based on geographic area, potential to improve water quality, facilities or operations most in need of modification or improvement, and the covered entity’s capabilities.
  • Train employees on how to incorporate pollution prevention/good housekeeping techniques into municipal operations such as park and open space maintenance, fleet and building maintenance, new construction and land disturbances, stormwater system maintenance, paving, and road salting. To minimize duplication of effort and conserve resources, the MS4 operator can use training materials that are available from the US EPA or the NYS DEC;
  • Require third party entities performing contracted services, such as: snow removal, lawn/grounds care, paving and street sweeping to meet permit requirements for the activity performed.
  • Require municipal operations and facilities that would otherwise be subject to the NYS Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP, GP-0-06-002) for industrial stormwater discharges to prepare and implement provisions in the Stormwater Management Plan that comply with Parts III A, C, D, J, K and L of the MSGP. Monitoring must also be performed and discharge reports attached to the MS4 Annual Report.
  • Consider green infrastructure and runoff reduction techniques in the routine upgrading of existing stormwater conveyance systems and municipal properties to the maximum extent practicable.
  • Reduce the use of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.
  • Determine the appropriate best management practices (BMPs) and measurable goals for this minimum control measure. Some program implementation approaches, BMPs and measurable goals are suggested below.

What Are Some Guidelines for Developing and Implementing This Measure?

The intent of this minimum control measure is to ensure that existing municipal, State or federal operations are performed in ways that will minimize contamination of stormwater discharges. Small MS4 operators are encouraged to consider the following components when developing their program for this measure:

  • Try team audits. Have the Stormwater Officer perform the first audit inspection with each department head. Early NYS DEC audits of MS4s showed that when department heads were just told to look at their operations independently many did not understand the MS4 program or were so used to their environment that issues were missed.
  • Which operations and facilities should be audited and included in the Stormwater Management Plan? The following list of operations is provided by way of example only: street and bridge maintenance, winter road maintenance, stormwater system maintenance, vehicle and fleet maintenance, park and open space maintenance, municipal building maintenance, solid waste management, new construction and land disturbances, right-of-way maintenance, marine operations, and hydrologic habitat modification. All municipal operations and facilities should be considered, including police facilities.
  • Review and revise maintenance activities, maintenance schedules and long-term inspection procedures for structural and non-structural controls to reduce floatables and other pollutants discharged from the separate storm sewers. Keep records of inspections, cleaning and repairs. If replacement is necessary, the MS4 must consider green infrastructure alternatives. Retaining records of the decision-making process might be beneficial.
  • Review and revise controls for reducing or eliminating the discharge of pollutants from areas such as roads and parking lots, maintenance and storage yards (including salt/sand storage and snow disposal areas), and waste transfer stations. These controls could include programs that promote recycling (to reduce litter), minimize pesticide use and ensure proper disposal of animal waste.
  • Review and revise procedures for the proper disposal of waste removed from separate storm sewer systems and areas listed in the bullets above, including dredge spoil, accumulated sediments, floatables, and other debris.
  • Ways to ensure that new flood management projects assess the impacts on water quality and examine existing projects for incorporation of additional water quality protection devices or practices. The US EPA encourages coordination with flood control managers for the purpose of identifying and addressing environmental impacts from such projects.

The effective performance of this control measure hinges on the proper maintenance of the BMPs used. For example, structural controls, such as grates at outfalls to capture floatables, typically need regular cleaning, while non-structural controls, such as training materials and recycling programs, need periodic updating.

At this time, the US EPA has completed a survey of selected MS4s and construction industry professionals as part of its permit revision preparation. Subsequent US EPA comments have indicated that future permits may include a requirement to retrofit storm sewer systems, see the US EPA stormwater rulemaking webpage for further details. The US EPA has also issued memoranda endorsing the use of green infrastructure techniques for controlling stormwater runoff. These developments, together with the current SPDES permit requirements to consider green infrastructure techniques during stormsewer replacement suggest that MS4 communities would be advised to start planning for areas that are most critical to take advantage of any green infrastructure grant funding opportunities that may arise.

What Are Appropriate Measurable Goals?

Measurable goals, which are required for each minimum control measure, are meant to gauge permit compliance and program effectiveness. The measurable goals as well as the BMPs, should consider the needs and characteristics of the operator and the area served by its small MS4. The measurable goals should be chosen using an integrated approach that fully addresses the requirements and intent of the minimum control measure. Goals should be outlined in the Stormwater Management Plan, along with frequency of measurement and evaluation. It is recommended that the MS4 picks quantitative measures that can be readily assessed rather than qualitative goals. An integrated approach for this minimum measure could include the following:

Target Date Activity
1 Year: Audits completed on all operations and facilities. A pollution prevention plan, consisting of the BMPs and revised procedures completed. Employee training materials gathered and developed. Procedures in place for regular catch basin cleaning and street sweeping.
2 Years: Training for appropriate employees and contractors completed. Recycling program fully implemented. All roads swept four times per year. Tracking systems created for maintenance.
3 Years: BMP changes prioritized and listed in the SWMP. A certain percentage reduction in pesticide and salt/sand use. All roads swept four times per year. A maintenance schedule for BMPs established.
4 Years: Re-audits completed on all operations and facilities. Certain percentage of staff received appropriate training. All roads swept four times per year. A certain percentage of controls were inspected and maintained.