What is an MS4?
A Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) is a conveyance or system of conveyances (e.g., roads with drainage systems, municipal streets, catch basins, curbs, gutters, ditches, man-made channels, storm drains) that are:
■ Owned or operated by a state, city, town, township, authority, borough, county, parish, district, association, or other public body (created by or pursuant to state law) having jurisdiction over disposal of sewage, industrial wastes, stormwater, or other wastes, including special districts under state law such as a sewer district, flood control district, or drainage districts, or similar entity, or an Indian tribe or an authorized Indian tribal organization, or a designated and approved management agency under section 208 of the Clean Water Act that discharges to waters of the United States.
■ Designed or used for collecting or conveying stormwater.
■ Not a combined sewer.
■ Not part of a publicly owned treatment works. Though not explicit, many larger institutions, such as hospitals, universities, military bases, and school districts fall under the definition, and thus must develop stormwater management plans.
East Lampeter Township’s Obligations Under the Permit
East Lampeter Township must demonstrate progress toward meeting all six (6) of the Minimum Control Measures (MCMs). Under each MCM is a simplified, primary method or guide that we use to achieve these goals. These MCMs are part of the East Lampeter Township Stormwater Management Program, which was created to oversee the township’s efforts towards achieving compliance with the NPDES permit requirements.
Polluted stormwater runoff is often transported to municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) and ultimately discharge into local rivers and streams without treatment. The Environmental Protection Agency’s (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.
The 6 MCM’s and Our Plans to Achieve Them
MCM #1 – Public Education and Outreach
East Lampeter Township provides educational information and events throughout the year to educate the community on stormwater issues. Increasing the public knowledge of stormwater management, stormwater pollution, BMP operation & maintenance, and infrastructure and methods and ways to protect water quality is essential to improving water quality locally and regionally.
MCM #2 – Public Involvement and Participation
East Lampeter Township encourages public involvement and participation to increase awareness, and or assist the Township with protecting/improving water quality and adhering to the water quality standard requirements of the Clean Water Act (CWA). Our Public Involvement and Participation Plan (PIPP) is a portion of SWMP that closely blends the efforts of MCM 1 and MCM 2. The East Lampeter Sewer Authority (ELSA), reviews and updates the PIPP throughout the annual Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) review and assessment process.
MCM #3 – Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
Any type of flow found in a storm sewer system that is not entirely stormwater. This major source of pollution typically occurs during dry weather conditions and can result in toxic conditions within a stream due to the lack of dilution. Illicit discharges can enter the system through illegal connections, intentional dumping, accidental spills, or through cracks in stormwater conveyance.
Firefighting activities are not considered illicit discharges.
East Lampeter Township Stormwater and Public Works staff actively inspect all pipe outfalls that discharge into local streams. Should an illicit discharge be found, the event is logged and an investigation into the cause is begun. If you see an illicit discharge, please contact the Township immediately by phone at 717-393-1567.
MCM #4 – Construction Site Runoff Control
East Lampeter Township enters into a memorandum of understanding with the Lancaster County Conservation District (LCCD) to fulfill this MCM. All earth disturbance activities that require an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan, are reviewed and inspected by the LCCD.
Township staff also reviews construction site conditions for required erosion and sediment and or stormwater controls.
MCM #5 – Post-Construction Stormwater Management in New Development and Redevelopment
East Lampeter Township follows the federal and state permit requirements under MCM5 requiring stormwater management for regulated activities. A Post Construction Stormwater Management Plan includes the stormwater facilities/BMP’s to manage the change in the quantity and quality of water runoff. The level of management and system complexity has increased since the 1980’s. The last significant change was April 7, 2014 when East Lampeter Township adopted a new Stormwater Management Ordinance (subsequently revised) that requires all new land development projects with over 1000 square feet to infiltrate a minimum of the first one inch of rain. These PCSMP facilities must be inspected and permanently maintained by the system owners.
MCM #6 – Pollution Prevention and Housekeeping for Municipal Operations and Maintenance
East Lampeter Township is required to minimize stormwater pollution which is generated at municipal facilities including maintenance yards, municipal buildings, and parks. East Lampeter Township has developed written standard operating procedures to ensure daily operations are being conducted in a manner that protects water quality. East Lampeter Township Public Works Department also conducts street sweeping, litter control, storm drain clean outs, and routine maintenance to Township stormwater facilities to reduce stormwater pollution.
The farming community plays a significant role in East Lampeter Township’s efforts to improve local water quality. In Pennsylvania all farms are required to have a Conservation Plan or Agricultural Erosion and Sediment Control Plan and Manure Management Plan or Nutrient Management Plan. This coincides with the ELT Stormwater Management Ordinance and the prerequisites for various Township permits.
Conservation Planning helps farmers maintain and improve the natural resources that support productive and profitable agricultural operations. The benefits of developing a Conservation Plan include the following items:
- Identifies immediate or potential resource problems that can hurt agricultural production.
- Helps to comply with environmental regulations.
- Adapts to your changing operational goals.
- Establishes a reasonable schedule to apply needed conservation practices.
- Facilitates the protection, conservation, and enhancement of existing natural resources.
- Provides long-term management improvements to ensure continued production for future generations.
East Lampeter Township will continue working with the agriculture community to ensure long-term economic productivity, regulatory compliance, and natural resources protection.