What is the MS4 Stormwater Program?

The BRC partners with 32 local municipalities to implement the Public Education and Public Participation part of their MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) Stormwater Program.

Untreated or uncontrolled stormwater runoff is the number one cause of impairment in our local waterways.

Polluted runoff is often transported through municipal stormwater systems where it is eventually discharged into streams untreated. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established a municipal stormwater management program known as the MS4 Program that is intended to improve our nation’s waters by reducing the quantities of pollutants that stormwater picks up and carries into the storm sewer systems during a storm event.

As part of the MS4 Program, your municipality holds a permit to discharge their stormwater into local waterways. This permit requires the municipality to design a stormwater management program that reduces the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent possible, that protects water quality and that satisfies the water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act. In Pennsylvania, the MS4 program is administered by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

The MS4 stormwater management program has six elements termed “minimum control measures” which when implemented should result in significant reduction in pollutants discharged into receiving waters. The six minimum control measures and the actions required by your municipality are outlined below.

  1. Public Education and Outreach
    Distribute educational materials and conduct outreach to inform citizens about the impacts that stormwater runoff has on water quality.
  2. Public Participation/Involvement
    Provide opportunities for citizens to participate in the stormwater management program or other programs which improve water quality.
  3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
    Develop and implement a plan to detect and eliminate non stormwater discharges into the stormwater system.
  4. Construction Site Runoff Control
    Develop, implement and enforce an erosion and sediment control program for construction site activities that disturb one acre or greater.
  5. Post-Construction Runoff Control
    Develop, implement and enforce a program to address discharges of post-construction stormwater runoff from new development or redevelopment areas.
  6. Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping
    Develop and implement a program that reduces or prevents pollutant runoff from municipal operations

The BRC and our local municipalities are committed to improving water quality in their watershed through better management of stormwater runoff. Every resident and business owner can participate in their municipal stormwater program by reducing or preventing pollutant runoff from their own property and by reporting any non stormwater discharges into their local waterways.