Stormwater Management

BETHEL TOWNSHIP ORDINANCE 206:  Stormwater Management
Ordinance 206

WHAT IS STORMWATER?

 
 When it rains or snows, the water soaks into the ground, evaporates back into the atmosphere or runs off. This runoff, also known as storm water, has some obvious impacts such as flooding and erosion. Some less obvious, but equally important, impacts of stormwater runoff include increased pollution, reduced ground water supplies, and lower stream flows during dry spells. Traditionally, stormwater has been seen as a nuisance to be collected and dumped into the nearest ditch or stream and disposed of. Unfortunately, such an approach neglects the reality that most of us live or work downstream of someone else. As a result, our neighbor's nuisance becomes our problem, which in turn becomes a problem for our downstream neighbors.

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Stormwater Program regulates stormwater discharges from three potential sources: municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), construction activities, and industrial activities. Most stormwater discharges are considered point sources, and operators of these sources may be required to receive an NPDES permit before they can discharge. This permitting mechanism is designed to prevent stormwater runoff from washing harmful pollutants into local surface waters such as streams, rivers, lakes or coastal waters.

As stormwater flows over driveways, lawns, and sidewalks, it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants. Stormwater can flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water. Polluted runoff is the nation’s greatest threat to clean water.

 
STORMWATER MANAGEMENT
 Stormwater management involves the control of water that runs off the surface of the land from rain or melting ice or snow. 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 installation of storm sewer pipes which efficiently collect and discharge runoff, prevent infiltration of rainfall into the soil.

Management of stormwater is necessary to compensate for the possible impacts of development such as flooding, erosion and sedimentation problems, concentration on flow on adjacent properties, damages to roads, bridges and other infrastructure as well as non-point source pollution washed off from impervious surfaces.

The Township is required to obtain a permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) in order to operate a storm sewer system. The permit, called a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit, requires the Township to take certain steps to ensure that stormwater in the Township is properly managed and controlled. It also requires that the Township educate the public about storm water impacts, as well as provide opportunities for public involvement and participation. To read more about the MS4 program, permits and impacts click on the links below:

 
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP
Only Rain in the Drain – Never dump anything into a storm drain, including oil, paint, soap, debris, and leaves. Storm sewers don't go to the sewer plant but discharge directly into streams. You might be pouring oil into your own drinking water! 
 
Auto Care – Washing your car at home on the driveway or street can send detergents and other contaminants through the storm sewer system. It is best to wash your car at a commercial car wash where the wastewater is treated and recycled. If you do wash your car at home, do so near a grassy area where the water can infiltrate into the ground. And never dump motor oil or antifreeze into the storm drain. Dispose of these at a local service station or approved recycling center.

Plant Native Trees and Shrubs – Erosion of streambanks can be prevented through the use of vegetated strips along the banks. Also known as riparian buffers, these strips of tall grasses, tress and flowers act to stabilize banks, which prevents erosion and additional sediment load in the stream.

Residential Landscaping
 Downspouts: Direct all downspouts away from pervious surfaces and onto lawns. Rain barrels can be used to collect water from downspouts, making it available for watering.
 
Lawn Care: Fertilizers and pesticides should be used sparingly. When applied in excess, these chemicals are washed off by rainwater and enter the local storm sewer system. Do not sweep yard waste and leaves into the street. These add extra nutrients to streams. 
 
Rain Gardens: A specially designed rain garden can be planted with native vegetation to that will provide an area for rainwater to collect and soak into the ground. Stormwater from rooftop drains and pavement areas can be directed to these vegetated areas. 
 
Pick Up After Your Dog – Pet waste can be a major source of excess nutrients and bacteria to our streams. Always properly dispose of pet waste.

 
 
Get involved! Attend a Stream Clean Event sponsored by the Chester-Ridley-Crum Watersheds Association.  Clean off the storm drains near your house!

To learn more locally and get involved check out the following website:


CRC Watersheds Association
 

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Websites

EPA Water Homepage
EPA Water Pollution Prevention and Control
EPA Stormwater Homepage
 
 

Over the years, the vast majority of stormwater detention basins were designed with flood prevention in mind.   Their purpose was to collect runoff from roads, buildings, parking lots and the like, and channel it away from the site and into a nearby stream as quickly as possible.   In doing their job, they created erosion and water quality problems downstream.
The current thinking about basins calls for slowing the flow of runoff, spreading it out, and enabling natural processes like evapotranspiration and infiltration to return it to the atmosphere or soak it into the ground. The result: better water quality and healthier streams.


Rethinking Basins: Putting Nature to Work The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Stormwater Program regulates stormwater discharges from three potential sources: municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), construction activities, and industrial activities. Most stormwater discharges are considered point sources, and operators of these sources may be required to receive an NPDES permit before they can discharge. This permitting mechanism is designed to prevent stormwater runoff from washing harmful pollutants into local surface waters such as streams, rivers, lakes or coastal waters.

As stormwater flows over driveways, lawns, and sidewalks, it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants. Stormwater can flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water. Polluted runoff is the nation’s greatest threat to clean water.