What is an MS4 Permit?
Did you know that your municipality has an MS4 permit? The
Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Program was
administrated through the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) in
1999. Pennsylvania implemented state regulation of the MS4
permit in 2003. The underlying goal of the MS4 program is
to prevent stormwater pollution from entering streams, lakes,
ponds, rivers, etc. Municipalities are required through the EPA
and PA DEP to implement a stormwater management program
comprising of 6 minimum control measures (MCMs).
MCM #1 Public Education and Outreach Program
Requirements are to educate the public on stormwater pollution
and prevention. Distribution of stormwater educational
materials can occur through bulletin boards, newsletters,
magazines, public meetings, Township’s webpage, and social
MCM #2 Environmental Activities and Events
Requirements are to promote environmentally related activities
for public participation. Some examples are planting days,
cleanup programs, storm drain stenciling, and collection events.
MCM #3 Illicit Discharge, Detection and Elimination
Requirements are to develop, implement and enforce a program
to detect and eliminate illicit non-stormwater discharges. The
program primarily consists of a storm sewer system map, an
ordinance prohibiting illicit discharges, stormwater outfall
screenings, and illicit discharge education.
MCM #4 Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control
The goal of this MCM is to reduce stormwater pollution
from construction sites disturbing one or more acres. In
Pennsylvania, Townships typically rely on PA DEP’s statewide
program that requires the local county conservation district to
undertake these tasks.
MCM #5 Post Construction Stormwater Management
Half of these MCM requirements are fulﬁlled through the
local county conservation district. Encouraging low impact
development, implementing an ordinance for post construction
runoff, and enacting a program for operation and maintenance
of stormwater best management practices (BMPs) are the
MCM #6 Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping
Educating and training Township staff to prevent and reduce
stormwater pollution from municipal activities is the last MCM
of the MS4 permit. These municipal activities consist of but
are not limited to winter road maintenance, salt storage, street
sweeping, and lawn mowing. The Township is required to
develop written standard operating procedures (SOPs) for each
activity that can generate stormwater pollution.
These 6 MCMs not only rely on the Municipality for
compliance, but cooperation and participation with its citizens
to further advance the stormwater pollution prevention efforts.