What is MS4?
MS4 is an acronym for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System. MS4 refers to our community’s system of roads and streets, catch basins, curbs, gutters, ditches, man-made channels, storm drains and underground infrastructure that convey stormwater. As stormwater runs over driveways, lawns, and sidewalks it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants.
Polluted stormwater runoff is often conveyed to and within the MS4 and ultimately discharged into adjacent and downstream rivers and streams without treatment. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged into the water bodies we use for recreation and providing drinking water. Polluted runoff is the nation’s greatest threat to clean water.
The MS4 Program details how our community is working to improve water quality through annual activities to educate and involve the public and prevent pollution from entering our stormwater conveyance system.
What Is An MS4 Program
Listed below are the six minimum control measures that the Township must incorporate into the stormwater management program. These measures are expected to result in significant reductions of pollutants discharged into receiving waterbodies.
- Public Education and Outreach – An informed and knowledgeable community is crucial to the success of a stormwater management program since it helps to ensure greater support and program compliance as the public becomes aware of individual actions they can take to protect or improve the quality of area waters.
- Public Participation/Involvement – An active and involved community allows for broader public support, a broader base of expertise and a connection to other local environmental programs.
- Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination – Illicit discharges are untreated discharges that could contribute high levels of pollutants, including heavy metals, toxins, oil and grease, solvents, nutrients, viruses and bacteria to receiving water bodies. The Township is required to develop, implement and enforce an illicit discharge detection and elimination program.
- Construction Site Runoff Control – Stormwater runoff from construction activities can have a significant impact on water quality. As stormwater flows over a construction site, it can pick up pollutants like sediment, debris, and chemicals and transport these to a nearby storm sewer system or directly to a river, lake or stream.
- Post-Construction Runoff Control – Increased impervious surfaces, like parking lots, driveways, and rooftops, interrupt the natural cycle of gradual percolation of water through vegetation and soil. Instead, water is collected from surfaces such as asphalt and concrete and routed to drainage systems where large volumes of runoff quickly flow to the nearest receiving water. The effects of this process can include stream bank scouring and downstream flooding, which often lead to a loss of aquatic life and damage to property. Ordinances and other regulations are required to determine the appropriate best management practices and to ensure adequate long-term operation and maintenance of stormwater controls.
- Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping – This measure involves recognizing the benefits of pollution prevention practices and includes the development and implementation of an operation and maintenance program. Reducing pollutant runoff from municipal operations into the storm sewer system can include employee training on how to incorporate pollution prevention/good housekeeping techniques into municipal.