A focal point of the Township’s MS4 program is stormwater runoff. Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or melting ice or snow flows over the land surface. The volume, or amount of runoff and its rate of runoff, substantially increases as land development occurs. Construction of impervious surfaces, such as roofs and parking lots, and the neglectful use of storm sewer pipes which efficiently collect and discharge runoff, prevent infiltration of rainfall into the ground. The runoff is carried to our community’s local streams, ponds, wetlands and rivers and can lead to erosion of property and flooding of homes and businesses.
Nearly three decades ago, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) amended the Clean Water Act (CWA) and created a two-phased national program to address water pollution emanating from stormwater runoff.
Phase I of the program was designed to address stormwater discharges from the nations’ largest cities. Phase II of the program was designed to address stormwater discharges from smaller Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s). Under both phases of the program, operators of these systems are required to obtain National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit coverage for their stormwater discharges.
Why is stormwater management important?
Stormwater will always be a part of everyday life in Southwestern Pennsylvania, but when managed improperly, storm waterrunoff can negatively impact both land owners and the environment. Properties can become more prone to flooding, homes can become destabilized, infrastructure, including roads and sewers, can be damaged, and community fixtures including streams, creeks, and ponds can be ruined.
What can be done?
Small steps can be taken to follow both state and federal mandates while at the same time creating a more sustainable community. Best Management Practices (BMPs) refer to the suite of options available to avoid and/or mitigate damages associated with stormwater. BMPs can include the installation of stormwater management controls as well as practices that prevent stormwater pollution.
Residents and businesses alike can help combat the detrimental effects of mismanaged storm water by installing rain gardens and rain barrels, pervious walkways and patios, landscaping with native plants, minimizing the use of pesticide and fertilizers, and properly disposing of hazardous chemicals, electronics, and pharmaceuticals. Everyday tasks like choosing to wash your vehicle in your lawn (as opposed to driveway) can help lead to cleaner water for you and your neighbors. By adhering to the steps set out in the Township’s Stormwater Management Plan we can help create a cleaner, safer, more sustainable community and region to live in.
For more information regarding Stormwater Management, click the MS4 links on the left-hand side of the webpage or contact South Strabane Township at (724) 225-9055.