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EPA New England Topics

Stormwater

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The Problem? Human development changes our natural landscape in ways that result in much greater volumes of stomrwater, washing off accumulated pollutants (from vehicles and atmospheric deposition) into nearby lakes, streams and estuaries when it rains. Traditional rooftops, parking lots, streets and highways have surfaces that are impervious, and interfere with the natural process of rainwater absorbing into the ground (and recharging groundwater aquifers). Stormwater runoff from impervious areas contributes to poor surface water quality, including altered flow regime (shoreline erosion and stream channel alteration), the presence of pollutants, and the destruction of healthy populations of fish and other aquatic life.

The Permits - EPA and state agencies responsible for protecting surface water quality have programs which regulate the discharge of stormwater from construction activities, select industrial sectors, and municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s). Municipal permittees are faced with developing and updating stormwater management plans, using or installing stormwater best management practices (BMPs), and finding ways to pay for the costs of implementing stormwater management plans.

Implementing Stormwater Solutions - EPA and New England States are working regionally to develop stormwater permits, deliver stormwater permit compliance tools, training and assistance for municipal permittees.  Nationally, EPA provides resources and information on smarter stormwater management (integrating green infrastructure in project designs), allowing stormwater to infiltrate (low impact development), reducing pollutant loads to waterbodies, and providing training opportunities.  

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