Storm Water Management

HOMEOWNERS
Modern stormwater management frequently includes the installation of "Best Management Practices" (BMPS). Urban stormwater BMPs involve a wide variety of techniques that reduce storm water pollution from developed areas. One thing that all BMPs have in common is that they need routine maintenance to perform properly. Since many BMPs are installed on private property, it is important that the owners be offered advice on BMP care.

Homeowners Guide to Stormwater BMP Maintenance - click here

This publication was developed under Assistance Agreement No CB-96317101-5 awarded by the U.S. environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). The views expressed in this document are solely those of DEP. The mention of any product or commercial service in this publication does not constitute an endorsement by DEP or EPA.


BMP MANUAL
In undisturbed landscapes, rainwater runoff is part of the natural hydrologic cycle. Vegetation, soils, and a wide range of organisms filter, absorb, and use rainfall in their living processes. Evaporation and transpiration takes place. Excess precipitation infiltrates into groundwater and flows into surface waters, recharging aquifers and supporting aquatic life. The entire system is affected when the landscape is changed: impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, rooftops, etc.) prevent runoff from percolating into the ground and cause it to pick up debris, sediments, chemicals, and other pollutants as it moves over the ground.

 

 

 

HOMEOWNERS - What You Need to Know

Stormwater Management Websites

Brochures

Chartiers Valley District Flood Control Authority

Report a Problem

 
 
EPA's NPDES Phase II Rule requires those undertaking land-disturbing construction activities, operators of industrial facilities, and operators of small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) to protect water resources.

MS4 permits call for the development and implementation of a stormwater management program that addresses six “minimum control measures” (MCMs). Implementing these minimum control measures, typically means applying one or more best management practices (BMPs). Because of site-specific, local, and regional variability, the BMPs deemed most appropriate for one community may be vastly different for another community within the same watershed, let alone in a different part of the state—or a different part of the country!

EPA offers a variety of resources outlining the six MCM requirements, goals of each, and suggested BMPs that can help achieve results.


MCM 1: Public education & outreach
  
Fact sheet
MCM 2: Public involvement & participation
  
Fact sheet
MCM 3: Illicit discharge detection & elimination
  
Fact sheet
MCM 4: Construction site runoff control
  
Fact sheet
MCM 5: Post-construction stormwater
   management in new development &
   redevelopment

   Fact sheet
MCM 6: Pollution prevention & good
   housekeeping for municipal operations &
   maintenance

  
Fact sheet

DEP manages stormwater through various regulatory programs, including: NPDES Permit for Municipal Small and Large Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4 Program); NPDES Permits for Discharges Associated with Construction Activities; and the Pennsylvania Storm Water Management Act. Details can be found here. Pennsylvania’s MS4 Program reflects the six Minimum Control Measures (MCMs) of the federal program, as discussed here, and calls for the application of Best Management Practices (BMPs) to each MCM.
 
 


In order to assist municipalities, designers, developers, and engineers in understanding, developing, and implementing stormwater management programs, PA DEP published the PA Stormwater BMP Manual in 2006.

As noted in the Foreword:

"The Manual is intended to be a tool to achieve the regulatory standard to protect, maintain, and improve the Commonwealth’s water resources through comprehensive site planning and BMP design guidance, while allowing for the continued growth and development of Pennsylvania."

As such, the Manual’s main focus is on BMPs that help meet the requirements of MCMs 4 through 6. These BMPs are generally classified as “non-structural” (design and planning techniques that preserve natural systems and hydrologic functions on a site) and “structural” (more conventional “brick and mortar” techniques, which may include vegetation and soil-based mechanisms.) The key distinction between Non-Structural and Structural BMPs is that the former are intended to prevent stormwater generation, while the focus of the latter is on mitigating unavoidable stormwater-related impacts.

When it comes to development, the Stormwater Management Program described in the Manual emphasizes a comprehensive total site design approach. Whether referred to as “Low Impact Development”, “Conservation Design”, or “Green Design”, this environmentally sensitive approach to site development and stormwater management aims to minimize the effect of development on water, land, and air resources.

The use of best management practices, or BMPs, is the primary method of controlling stormwater discharges and preventing runoff from adversely affecting water quality. BMPs are a suite of planning processes, development methodologies, and specific techniques designed to be used in combination to:

  • Prevent disturbances to natural systems and hydrologic functions; and
  • Minimize the impacts of disturbances where they do occur.

This guidance Manual identifies information on resource planning, techniques for land development, and concepts and procedures for designing and implementing performance-based BMPs for managing stormwater for quantity and quality. The comprehensive planning approach to stormwater management emphasizes reducing the impacts of development activities through the mitigation process by employing practices that avoid and minimize potential impacts to watershed resources. The BMPs are designed to minimize or mitigate for the unavoidable impacts that development has on watershed resources.

This manual lists various BMPs and design standards, which are acceptable in Pennsylvania to manage stormwater and prevent pollution of waters of the Commonwealth. Stormwater management plans and the BMPs designed according to these standards when properly applied, implemented and maintained, will achieve the Department’s water quality mandates established in 25 Pa. Code Chapter 93 and required by the federal Clean Water Act, federal NPDES regulations, the Pennsylvania Storm Water Management Act and the Pennsylvania Clean Streams Law. The proper utilization and implementation of these BMPs will protect and maintain existing uses and the level of water quality necessary to protect the existing uses, and will protect and maintain the water quality of high quality and exceptional value waters of the Commonwealth.

This Manual Provides:

  • A standardized process for evaluating site design and BMP selection to minimize or eliminate the net change in post construction volume, rate and quality.
  • A standardized approach to measuring pre-construction volume, rate and quality and post construction site runoff volume, rate and quality.
  • Standardized specifications for BMPs to manage stormwater to minimize the net change in post construction runoff volume, rate and quality.

Alternate BMPs, not listed in this manual, that provide the same or greater level of protection, may also be used to attain the regulatory standard. It is incumbent on the person proposing the use of alternative BMPs to demonstrate their effectiveness with appropriate supporting analysis, calculations, test results or other documentation.


BMP Manual - Introduction
SUMMARY: The Department will ensure that activities and plans approved under its authority will employ stormwater management plans utilizing best management practices to control the volume, rate and water quality of post construction stormwater runoff so as to protect and maintain the chemical, physical and biological properties of waters of the Commonwealth. These best management practices must, at a minimum, protect and maintain water resources, preserve water supplies, maintain stream base flows, preserve and restore the flood carrying capacity of waters, preserve to the maximum extent practicable the natural stormwater runoff regimes and natural course, current and cross section of waters of the Commonwealth, and protect and conserve ground waters and ground-water recharge areas.


BMP Manual - Chapter 1 Introduction & Purpose BMP Manual - Chapter 2
Making the Case for Stormwater Management
BMP Manual - Chapter 3
Stormwater Management Principles & Recommend Control Guidelines
BMP Manual - Chapter 4
Integrating Site Design & Stormwater Management
BMP Manual - Chapter 5
Non-Structural BMPs


BMP Manual - Appendix A
Water Quality
BMP Manual - Appendix B
Pennsylvania Native Plant List
BMP Manual - Appendix C
Site Evaluation & Soil Testing
BMP Manual - Appendix D
Stormwater Calculations & Methodology Case Study
BMP Manual - Glossary

 

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Designed by: Deneen Underwood