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Projects > Stormwater Phase II Program for Berwick, South Berwick, Eliot, and Kittery

What is Stormwater Phase II?
In response to the 1987 Amendments to the Clean Water Act (CWA), the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed Phase I of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Storm Water Program in 1990. The Phase I program addressed sources of storm water runoff that had the greatest potential to negatively impact water quality. The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is responsible for administering the program in NYS as part of the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES). Under Phase I, SPDES permit coverage was required for storm water discharges from medium and large municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) located in incorporated places or counties, eleven categories of industrial activity and construction activity that disturbed five or more acres of land.

Today’s regulations (Phase II) expand the existing National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) storm water program (Phase I) to address storm water discharges from small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) (those serving less than 100,000 persons) and construction sites that disturb one to five acres. Although these sources are automatically designated by today’s rule, the rule allows for the exclusion of certain sources from the national program based on a demonstration of the lack of impact on water quality, as well as the inclusion of others based on a higher likelihood of localized adverse impact on water quality.

Today’s regulations also exclude from the NPDES program storm water discharges from industrial facilities that have ‘‘no exposure’’ of industrial activities or materials to storm water.

Finally, today’s rule extends from August 7, 2001 until March 10, 2003 the deadline by which certain industrial facilities owned by small MS4s must obtain coverage under an NPDES permit. This rule establishes a cost-effective, flexible approach for reducing environmental harm by storm water discharges from many point sources of storm water that are currently unregulated.

EPA believes that the implementation of the six minimum measures identified for small MS4s should significantly reduce pollutants in urban storm water compared to existing levels in a cost-effective manner. Similarly, EPA believes that implementation of Best Management Practices (BMP) controls at small construction sites will also result in a significant reduction in pollutant discharges and an improvement in surface water quality.

EPA believes this rule will result in monetized financial, recreational and health benefits, as well as benefits that EPA has been unable to monetize. Expected benefits include reduced scouring and erosion of streambeds, improved aesthetic quality of waters, reduced eutrophication of aquatic systems, benefit to wildlife and endangered and threatened species, tourism benefits, biodiversity benefits and reduced costs for siting reservoirs. In addition, the costs of industrial stormwater controls will decrease due to the exclusion of storm water discharges from facilities where there is ‘‘no exposure’’ of storm water to industrial activities and materials.

What is required under a Phase II permit?
EPA regulation (40CFR 122.34) requires permittees at a minimum to develop, implement, and enforce a stormwater program designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants from the MS4 to the maximum extent practicable. The stormwater management program must include these six minimum control measures:

1. Public education and outreach on stormwater impacts
2. Public involvement/participation
3. Illicit discharge detection and elimination
4. Construction site stormwater runoff control
5. Post-construction stormwater management in new development and redevelopment
6. Pollution prevention/good housekeeping for municipal operations

What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that doesn't soak into the ground but runs off into waterways. As it flows from rooftops, over paved areas, bare soil, and through sloped lawns it picks up a variety of materials including soil, animal waste, salt, pesticides, fertilizers, oil and grease, debris and other potential pollutants. The quality and quantity of runoff is affected by a variety of factors depending on the season, local meteorology, geography and activities taking place along the path of its flow.

Why is Stormwater a Problem?
Stormwater gathers a variety of pollutants that are mobilized during runoff events. Polluted runoff degrades our lakes, rivers, wetland and other waterways . Transported soil clouds receiving waters and interferes with fish habitat and aquatic plant life.

Nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen can be harmful to aquatic life by promoting the overgrowth of algae and depleting oxygen in the waterway. Toxic chemicals from automobiles, sediment from construction activities and careless application of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers threaten the health of the receiving waterway and can kill fish and other aquatic life. Bacteria from animal wastes and illicit connections to sewer systems can make nearby lakes and bays unsafe for wading, swimming and the propagation of edible shellfish. According to an inventory conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), half of the impaired waterways in the United States are affected by stormwater runoff from urban/suburban and construction sources.

What's Being Done?
Significant improvements have been achieved in controlling pollutants that are discharged from point sources such as sewage and wastewater treatment plants. Across the nation, attention is shifting to non-point sources of pollution such as stormwater runoff. Stormwater management, especially in urban areas, is becoming a necessary step in the process of further reducing water pollution despite the inherent challenges it brings.

Stormwater runoff cannot be treated using the same end-of-pipe controls appropriate for sewage and wastewater treatment plants. Pollutants in Stormwater runoff enter our waterways in numerous ways and the best point of control is usually at the pollutant's source. Significant water quality improvement can be made by employing best management practices, or "BMPs". Proper storage of chemicals, good housekeeping and just plain paying attention to what's happening during runoff events can lay the ground work for developing a relatively inexpensive stormwater pollution prevention program.

The EPA is increasing their attention to stormwater pollution prevention in several ways. A federal regulation, commonly known as Stormwater Phase II, requires permits for stormwater discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) in urbanized areas and for construction activities disturbing one or more acres.

Stormwater Phase II Annual Report for Permit Year 4 (June 3, 2006 - June 2, 2007)
This Annual Report addresses each of the areas as follows:
1)
A current copy of the Plan (including a detailed implementation schedule):The Plan includes a summary describing activities, progress, and accomplishments for each of the minimum control measures for each permit year
2)
Status of compliance with permit conditions: The status of compliance with the General Permit is presented in the electronic Plan through the actions completed towards the fulfillment of the BMPs for Permit Year 4
3)
Assessment of appropriateness of selected BMPs: The BMPs selected during initial Plan development are still appropriate for Kittery except where identified in the electronic Plan.

MS4 Watershed Survey Report
In May 2003, the Towns of Berwick, South Berwick, Eliot, and Kittery, Maine became subject to the Maine Pollution Discharge Elimination System (MEPDES) General Permit for the Discharge of Stormwater from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4 General Permit). The MS4 General Permit required that each Town prepare a five year plan to protect stormwater from becoming polluted. The five-year plan contains six minimum control measures to protect stormwater. One of the measures discusses the need for the regulated communities to participate in a public education program. The general goal of this program is to inform the community of the potential effects of stormwater pollution and ways to protect stormwater. This watershed survey has been conducted to identify specific stormwater issues, allowing future public education efforts to be focused towards issues that have an impact on the region. The field survey was performed by Edwards and Kelcey of Portland, Maine during May 9 - May 12, 2005. The results were presented at the Southern Maine Regional Stormwater Phase II Meeting on September 21, 2005. (View the full report and the appendices.)

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