What is Stormwater?
In undeveloped landscapes, rainwater runoff is part of the natural hydrologic cycle. Vegetation, soils, and a wide range of organisms filter, absorb, and use rainfall in their living processes. Evaporation and transpiration takes place, and this completes the cycle. Excess precipitation infiltrates into groundwater and flows into surface waters, recharging aquifers, and supporting aquatic life. The entire system is affected when the landscape is changed: impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, rooftops, etc.) prevent stormwater from percolating into the ground and cause it to pick up debris, sediments, chemicals, and other pollutants as it moves over the ground.
Why is Stormwater Management Important?
Stormwater management is essential to prevent erosion of agricultural, developed, and developing areas. Failed stormwater practices, or a lack thereof, can cause severe damages and flooding. Any new development will have some impact on the surrounding environment; the construction of buildings and infrastructure will significantly alter the hydraulic properties of an area. Pervious surfaces, or surfaces that allow stormwater to percolate and infiltrate the ground below, often become less permeable or impermeable and prevent percolation once development takes place.
After the Storm - Environmental Protection Agency 2006 - EPA 841-C-06-001 - After the Storm: Co-Produced by the U.S. EPA and The Weather Channel. The show highlights three case studies—Santa Monica Bay, the Mississippi River Basin/Gulf of Mexico, and New York City—where polluted runoff threatens watersheds highly valued for recreation, commercial fisheries and navigation, and drinking water. Key scientists and water quality experts, and citizens involved in local and national watershed protection efforts provide insight into the problems as well as solutions to today's water quality challenges. After the Storm also explains simple things people can do to protect their local watershed-such as picking up after one's dog, recycling household hazardous wastes, and conserving water. The program is intended for educational and communication purposes in classrooms, conferences, etc.
Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4)
An MS4 (Penn State Extension) is a system of conveyances owned by a public entity and discharges stormwater runoff to waters of the Commonwealth. The system is designed to collect or convey stormwater. Please note that the storm sewer system is not a combined sewer system. The Township’s stormwater conveyance system, unlike the sewer system, conveys surface water runoff from rain, irrigation, and outdoor water use directly to our waterways without treatment. The stormwater conveyance system includes streets, sidewalks, curbs, gutters, ditches, man-made channels, catch basins, and storm drain inlets. In Lower Macungie Township, the stormwater conveyance system ultimately discharges to the Lehigh River, which then flows westward to its end point at the Delaware River. In our Township, the MS4 is monitored for erosion, flooding, and spills to ensure the best quality runoff into our waterways.
The stormwater requirements of the federal Clean Water Act are administered under the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection’s MS4 Program. In December 2002, DEP issued a General Permit (“PAG-13”) for use by MS4s that fall under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II program, requiring the implementation of a stormwater management program for minimizing the impacts from runoff. Lower Macungie Township holds an Individual Permit; individual NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) permits must be submitted by a small MS4 when the MS4 does not meet one or more of the eligibility criteria of the PAG-13 General Permit. The Individual Permit carries the same general parameters as the General Permit, but with different timeline requirements.
Under the MS4 Program, permittees are required to incorporate the following six elements (known as minimum control measures, or MCMs) into their stormwater management programs:
- MCM #1: Public Education and Outreach
- MCM #2: Public Involvement and Participation
- MCM #3: Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
- MCM #4: Construction Site Runoff Control
- MCM #5: Post-Construction Stormwater Management in New Development and Redevelopment
- MCM #6: Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations and Maintenance
Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination
This MCM involves keeping pollutants out of the separate storm sewer systems. This happens when things other than stormwater get dumped into a storm sewer inlet, and also when storm sewers and sanitary sewers are illegally cross-connected. Examples of illicit substances include: automobile oil, chlorinated pool water, grease from restaurant grease traps, household chemical products, laundry wash water, paint, septic system drainage, yard waste (including grass clippings), and sanitary waste, among other things.
If you witness a potential illicit discharge into waters of the Commonwealth or the municipal storm sewer system, please notify the Township immediately. Also be sure to dial 911.
Erosion & Sediment Control Hotline – (610) 391-9583
If the stormwater is “cloudy” or “dirty” and originated from an area of active earth disturbance, you will receive the quickest response by calling the Lehigh County Conservation District at 610-391-9583. The Conservation District is responsible for investigating all erosion and sediment control concerns for the Township. Please provide your name, address, telephone number, and the specific location of the origin of the sediment laden runoff.
Illicit Discharge Hotline – (610) 966-4343 or 911
If you witness a potential illicit discharge into waters of the Commonwealth, or any other event that could adversely affect water quality, please contact Lower Macungie Township at 610-966-4343. It would also be wise to contact the Lehigh County Office of Emergency Services by dialing 911, or the Department of Environmental Protection’s Northeast Regional Office at 570-826-2511.
PLEASE STAY TUNED FOR FURTHER ADDITIONS AND UPDATES!
- Chapter 23A: Little Lehigh Basin Stormwater Management Ordinance
- Chapter 23B: Perkiomen Creek Headwaters Act 167 Stormwater Management Ordinance
- Chapter 23C: Lower Macungie Township Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems
- Lehigh County Conservation District
- Low Impact Development
- Partnership for the Delaware Estuary
- Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency
- Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection
- Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers
- Pollutant Reduction Plan
- Stormwater PA MS4 Program
- Stormwater Pollution Prevention Guide
- US Environmental Protection Agency
- What Can You Do?