Font Size Print

What is Stormwater and Stormwater Management?

The Goal of Stormwater Management is to ensure that the quality and quantity of stormwater runoff after development are not substantially altered from pre-development conditions.

What is an MS4?

MS4 = Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System
"A conveyance or system of conveyances owned by a State, City, Town, Village, or other public entity that discharges to the Waters of the United States and is:

designed or used to collect or convey stormwater (includes gutters, pipes, ditches)

Who is in an MS4 permit area?

   1.ms4-elmira-urbanized-areas-11 thumbnail    2.ms4-chemung-urbanized-areas-2006 thumbnail                                  

What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that doesn't soak into the ground but runs off into waterways. It flows from rooftops, over paved areas and bare soil, and through sloped lawns while picking up a variety of materials on its way. As it flows, stormwater runoff collects and transports soil, animal waste, salt, pesticides, fertilizers, oil and grease, debris and other potential pollutants. The quality of runoff is affected by a variety of factors and depends on the season, local meteorology, geography and upon activities which lie in the path of the flow.

Why should I care?
Stormwater gathers a variety of pollutants that are mobilized during runoff events. Polluted runoff degrades our lakes, rivers, wetland and other waterways runoff. Transported soil clouds the waterway and interferes with the habitat of fish and plant life.

Nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen can promote the overgrowth of algae, deplete oxygen in the waterway and be harmful to other aquatic life. 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 sewerage 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 are affected by urban/suburban and construction sources of stormwater runoff.

In Chemung County, stormwater runoff is an import source of pollution.

And that's a problem!

Pollutants in urban runoff

  • sediment
  • thermal energy
  • nutrients
  • oxygen-demanding substances
  • toxic substances
  • pathogens

The Solution to Stormwater Pollution
There are many ways you can help:

  • never dump anything into a storm drain
  • test the soil in your lawn and use fertilizers only when needed
  • practice Integrated Pest Management (IPM) and reduce the use of pesticides
  • check you car for leaks and recycle motor oil at a service station
  • take your car to the car wash instead instead of washing it in the driveway
  • clean up pet waste and dispose of it in the trash