What is Stormwater?
Why is Stormwater a Problem?
Increased Runoff – Impervious (nonporous) surfaces like roads, parking lots, and rooftops prevent rain and snowmelt from infiltrating, or soaking, into the ground. Most of the rainfall and snowmelt remains above the surface, where it runs off rapidly in unnaturally large amounts. Storm sewer systems concentrate runoff into smooth, straight conduits. This runoff gathers speed and power as it travels underground. When this runoff leaves the storm drains and empties into a stream, its excessive volume and power blast out stream banks, damaging stream side vegetation and wiping out aquatic habitat. These increased storm flows carry sediment loads from construction sites and other denuded surfaces and eroded stream banks. They often carry higher water temperatures from streets, roof tops, and parking lots, which are harmful to the health and reproduction of aquatic life.
What is a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4)?
A municipal separate storm sewer is any conveyance or system of conveyances (including but not limited to streets, ditches and pipes) that is defined by one or more of the following:
- owned by a municipality or other public body (created under state law) having jurisdiction over disposal of sewage, industrial wastes, stormwater or other wastes
- designed or used for collecting or conveying stormwater
- not a combined sewer (i.e., not intended for both sewage and stormwater)
- not part of a publicly owned treatment works (POTW)
How Can Residents Help Manage Stormwater?
- Properly dispose of hazardous substances, such as used motor oil, cleaning supplies and paint – never pour them down any part of the storm sewer system, and report anyone who does.
- Use pesticides, fertilizers and herbicides properly and efficiently to prevent excess runoff of these items.
- Report to Summit Township any poorly managed construction sites that have soil or other pollutants , such as debris and chemicals, leaving the site via stormwater runoff
- Install innovative stormwater practices on residential properties, such as rain barrels or rain gardens, that capture stormwater and keep it on-site instead of letting it drain away into the storm sewer system.
- Report to Summit Township any discharge from stormwater outfalls during times of dry weather (72 hours after the latest rain event), a sign there could be a problem with the storm sewer system.
- Pick up after pets and dispose of their waste properly. No matter where pets make a mess, in a backyard or on open space, stormwater runoff carries pet waste from the land to the storm sewer system to a stream.
- Store materials that could pollute water indoors and use containers for outdoor storage that do not rust or leak to eliminate exposure of materials to stormwater.
- Report to Summit Township any chemical, gas or oil spills that happen within the township.
- Report to Summit Township any illegal dumping activity into streams or storm sewers.
Residents may be the first to recognize “illicit” discharges dumping into storm sewers, exiting storm sewer outfalls, or leaving construction sites. If you witness an “illicit” discharge please report it to Summit Township by one of the following methods:
Call the Summit Township Office at (814) 868-9686
Citizen Complaint Illicit Discharge Reporting Form
You can also help manage stormwater by volunteering:
- Organize or participate in a stream, creek, or coastal cleanup
- Organize or participate in a roadside litter cleanup
- Participate in a tree-planting program
- Organize or participate in a community recycling event
- Stencil storm drains with “No Dumping, Drains to Waterways” warning
How is Summit Township Managing Stormwater?
Since 2005 Summit Township has been managing our MS4 under a General NPDES permit issued by the DEP. Our most recent NPDES permit renewal was in 2012. NPDES permits require the implementation of a stormwater management program that contains six Minimum Control Measures (MCMs).Summit Township has accomplished this duty, and the following is a listing of the MCMs and the multiple ways in which we have fulfilled each of them:
Public Education and Outreach on Stormwater Impacts:
Summit Township has established a Public Education and Outreach Program (PEOP) and its goal is to educate local residents regarding various sources of groundwater pollution and how they contribute to these sources (i.e. pesticide use, animal waste, oil and other fluids from autos or other machinery, erosion, etc.). Our specific educational plan to accomplish this goal includes watershed tips throughout our annual calendar, posters on display at the municipal building and various community events, information in our quarterly newsletter and working with our local elementary school to educate students regarding our watershed during Earth Day. We have also created the slogan “If YOU put it on the ground, in YOUR water it will be found!” and we use it effectively to teach residents of all ages.
Public Involvement / Participation:
- A Public Meeting was held on February 18, 2014 at which the Summit Township Engineer reported on the MS4 program and distributed educational materials to the public.
- Summit Township orchestrated an Earth Day presentation about watersheds at Robison Grade School.
- Township Staff created and hosted an informational stormwater display booth at the annual Summit Township senior picnic.
Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination:
- Completed a map of all outfalls and receiving waters of the Summit Township MS4.
- Summit Township MS4 Outfall Location Map
- Currently working on a comprehensive MS4 map that will show all roads, inlets, piping, swales, catch basins, channels, basins, municipal boundaries and watershed boundaries.
- Continually conduct outfall field inspections during dry weather periods to screen for illicit discharges.
- Adopted and implemented an MS4 management ordinance on August 6, 2012.
- Summit Township Stormwater Management Ordinance
- Provide educational outreach to public employees, business owners, property owners, the general public and elected officials (i.e., target audiences) about the program to detect and eliminate illicit discharges.
Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control:
Summit Township relies on the Pennsylvania statewide program for stormwater associated with construction activities to accomplish this MCM.
Post-Construction Stormwater Management in New and Re-Development Activities:
Summit Township relies on the Pennsylvania statewide program for post-construction stormwater management in new and re-development activities to accomplish this MCM.
Pollution Prevention / Good Housekeeping:
- Identified all facilities and activities that are owned and operated by Summit Township that have the potential to generate stormwater runoff into the MS4.
- Developed, implemented and maintain a written operation and maintenance (O&M) program for all municipal operations and facilities that could contribute to the discharge of pollutants from our MS4.
- Instituted controls for reducing or eliminating the discharge of pollutants from streets, roads, highways, municipal parking lots, maintenance and storage yards, waste transfer stations, fleet or maintenance shops with indoor storage areas, and salt / sand (anti-skid) storage locations and snow disposal areas.
- Developed and implemented an employee training program that addresses appropriate topics to further the goal of preventing or reducing the discharge of pollutants from municipal operations to our MS4.
NPDES permit coverage is generally for a 5-year term with a requirement to submit a renewal application at least 180 days prior to expiration of coverage. In addition to the Minimum Control Measures, NPDES permits require the submission of periodic reports (annual or progress reports every other year).
Construction & Commercial Industry Stormwater Links:
Don’t Let Stormwater Run Off With Your Time and Money
Make it Your Business to Reduce Water Pollution and Flooding
Planning and Implementing Erosion and Sediment Control Practices
Stormwater and the Construction Industry
A Citizens Guide to Understanding Stormwater
10 Good Housekeeping Practices Your Business Should Employ
Good Housekeeping Practices for… Auto Maintenance, Repair and Fueling Operations
Good Housekeeping Practices for… Restaurants & Food Service Establishments
Homeowner & Residential Stormwater Links:
Where Are You Washing Your Car?
Are You Fertilizing Your Lawn?
Is Your Car Leaking Oil?
Do You Clean Up After Your Pet?
A Citizens Guide to Understanding Stormwater
The Solution to Stormwater Pollution
Protecting Water Quality From Urban Runoff
Water Efficient Landscaping
Rain Garden Manual for Homeowners
When it Rains it Drains Brochure
Citizen Pollution Complaint Form