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National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)

National Menu of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Stormwater

First released in October 2000, the menu of BMPs is based on the stormwater Phase II rule's six minimum control measures. EPA has found the practices listed in the menu of BMPs to be representative of the types of practices that can successfully achieve the minimum control measures.

The list of BMPs is not all-inclusive, and it does not preclude MS4s from using other technically sound practices. However, the practice or set of practices chosen needs to achieve the minimum measure.

Stormwater management practices that are already being used should be recognized and appropriate credit given to those who have already made progress toward protecting water quality. There is no need to spend additional resources for a practice that is already in existence and operational.

Effective stormwater management often occurs by using a holistic system management approach. This approach takes into account the effectiveness of each stormwater practice, the costs of each practice, and resulting overall cost and effectiveness rather than looking at each practice in isolation. Some individual practices may not be effective alone but, in combination with others, may provide a key function in highly effective systems.

The Phase II rule encourages such system-building by stating the minimum requirements in more general terms, which allows you to use appropriate situation-specific sets of practices that will achieve the minimum measures.

Public Education and Outreach on Stormwater Impacts

Stormwater runoff is generated from many different land surfaces and is impacted by the behaviors and activities of individuals, households, and the public. These common individual behaviors have the potential to generate stormwater pollution including:

  • littering,
  • disposing of trash and recyclables,
  • disposing of pet-waste,
  • applying lawn-chemicals,
  • washing cars,
  • changing motor-oil, and
  • disposing leftover paint and household chemicals.

Convincing others to change their behaviors and properly dispose of materials can control such pollution. It is important that the public be aware of the significance of their behavior and that their actions can either pollute or protect our waterways.

Phase II MS4s are required to educate their community on the pollution potential of common activities, and increase awareness of the direct links between land activities, rainfall-runoff, storm drains, and their local water resources. The education programs must include clear guidance on steps and specific actions to be taken to reduce stormwater pollution-potential.

The benefits of public education efforts cannot be understated, especially on topics such as "nonpoint source" or "stormwater" pollution.


Key BMPs and Resources

MS4s developing a public education program should first create a public outreach strategy. An excellent document to help MS4s develop this strategy is EPA's Getting in Step: A Guide for Conducting Watershed Outreach Campaigns.


BMP Fact Sheets

EPA is updating the following fact sheets. You can request a copy or recommend any changes by sending an email.

The fact sheets describe the BMPs and generally provide applicability, implementation, and effectiveness information to help municipal stormwater and construction site operators comply with the stormwater Phase II requirements.

Developing Municipal Outreach Programs

  • Developing an Outreach Strategy

Promoting the Stormwater Message

  • Classroom Education on Stormwater
  • Stormwater Outreach for Commercial Businesses
  • Tailoring Outreach Programs to Minority and Disadvantaged Communities and Children
  • Using the Media

Stormwater Outreach Materials

  • Educational Displays, Pamphlets, Booklets, and Bill Inserts
  • Promotional Giveaways
  • Stormwater Outreach Materials

Education for Homeowners

  • Alternatives to Toxic Substances
  • Chlorinated Water Discharge Options
  • Landscaping and Lawn Care
  • Pest Control
  • Pet Waste Management
  • Proper Disposal of Household Hazardous Wastes
  • Residential Car Washing
  • Trash and Debris Management
  • Water Conservation Practices for Homeowners

Education for Businesses

  • Automobile Maintenance
  • Pollution Prevention for Businesses
  • Promoting Low Impact Development

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Resources

EPA

  • After the Storm - Video produced by EPA and The Weather Channel on how polluted runoff threatens watersheds.
  • Trash Free Waters website  - Resources to educate the public about the impact of trash and ways to prevent marine debris.
  • Nonpoint Source Outreach Digital Toolbox  - A catalog of over 700+ materials (TV/print/radio/give-aways/mascots/ public attitude surveys, evaluations of public response to media campaigns) that can be used in a stormwater public education campaign. 
  • Stormwater Outreach Materials and Reference Documents - Provides outreach materials that municipalities, watershed groups, state, and local governments can customize and use for their own stormwater outreach campaigns.

Other

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Public Involvement/Participation

Encouraging community participation, forming partnerships, and combining efforts of other groups in the community will encourage everyone to work towards the same stormwater goals. Public involvement builds on community capital­—the wealth of interested citizens and groups—to help spread the message to:

  • prevent stormwater pollution,
  • undertake group activities that highlight storm drain pollution, and
  • contribute volunteer community actions to restore and protect local water resources.

Phase II MS4s are required to follow all state, tribal, and local public notice requirements when implementing their stormwater program. Public involvement also includes creating opportunities for direct action, educational, and volunteer programs such as tree planting days, volunteer monitoring programs, storm drain marking, or stream clean-up programs.


Key BMPs and Resources

After following public notice requirements, there are many different ways MS4s can involve the public in their stormwater program.


BMP Fact Sheets

EPA is updating the following fact sheets. You can request a copy or recommend any changes by sending an email.

The fact sheets describe the BMPs and generally provide applicability, implementation, and effectiveness information to help municipal stormwater and construction site operators comply with the stormwater Phase II requirements.

Stormwater-Related Activities

  • Adopt-A-Stream Programs
  • Reforestation Programs
  • Storm Drain Marking
  • Stream Cleanup and Monitoring
  • Volunteer Monitoring
  • Wetland Plantings

Soliciting Public Opinion

  • Attitude Surveys
  • Stakeholder Meetings
  • Watershed Organizations

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Resources

EPA

Other

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Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE)

In general, illicit discharges include any discharge into a storm drain system that is not entirely composed of stormwater. The exceptions include water from firefighting activities and discharges from facilities already under an NPDES permit. Illicit discharges are a problem because, unlike wastewater, which flows to a treatment plant, stormwater generally flows to waterways without any additional treatment. Illicit discharges often contain pathogens, nutrients, surfactants, and various toxic pollutants.

Phase II MS4s are required to develop a program to detect and eliminate these illicit discharges. This primarily includes developing:

  • a storm sewer system map,
  • an ordinance prohibiting illicit discharges,
  • a plan to detect and address these illicit discharges, and
  • an education program on the hazards associated with illicit discharges.

An effective illicit discharge program needs to be both reactive and proactive. The program is reactive in addressing spills and other illicit discharges to the storm drain system that are found. The program must also be proactive in preventing and eliminating illicit discharges through education, training, and enforcement.


Key BMPs and Resources

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BMP Fact Sheets

EPA is updating the following fact sheets. You can request a copy or recommend any changes by sending an email.

The fact sheets describe the BMPs and generally provide applicability, implementation, and effectiveness information to help municipal stormwater and construction site operators comply with the stormwater Phase II requirements.

Developing an IDDE Program

  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Program Development
  • Reducing the Occurrence of SSOs

Trash and Illegal Dumping

  • Developing a Used Oil Recycling Program
  • Illegal Dumping Control
  • Trash and Debris Management

Decentralized Wastewater

  • Preventing Septic System Failure
  • Sewage from Recreational Activities

Public Reporting

  • Community Hotlines

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Resources

EPA

Other

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Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control

Uncontrolled stormwater runoff from construction sites can significantly impact rivers, lakes, and estuaries. Sediment in waterbodies from construction sites can reduce the amount of sunlight reaching aquatic plants, clog fish gills, smother aquatic habitat and spawning areas, and impede navigation.

Phase II municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) are required to develop a program to reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff to the MS4 for construction sites disturbing one or more acres. This primarily includes developing:

  • An ordinance,
  • Requirements to implement erosion and sediment control best managment practices (BMPs),
  • Requirements to control other waste at the construction site,
  • Procedures for reviewing construction site plans,
  • Procedures to receive and consider information submitted by the public, and
  • Procedures for inspections and enforcement of stormwater requirements at construction sites.

In addition to the stormwater requirements that Phase II MS4s place on construction sites, construction operators may also need to apply for NPDES permit coverage, generally if their project disturbs more than 1 acre and discharges to a waterbody.

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Key BMPs and Resources

MS4s addressing the construction minimum measure should focus on the following key BMPs to help them in developing a stormwater construction program.

EPA is updating the fact sheets above. You can request a copy by sending an email

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BMP Fact Sheets

EPA is updating the following fact sheets. You can request a copy or recommend any changes by sending an email.

The fact sheets describe the BMPs and generally provide applicability, implementation, and effectiveness information to help municipal stormwater and construction site operators comply with the stormwater Phase II requirements.

Municipal Program Oversight

  • Construction Phase Plan Review
  • Contractor Training and Certification
  • Local Ordinances for Construction Site Runoff Control
  • Municipal Construction Inspection Program

Construction Site Planning and Management

  • Construction Sequencing
  • Construction Site Operator BMP Inspection and Maintenance
  • Land Grading
  • Preserving Natural Vegetation

Erosion Control

  • Chemical Stabilization
  • Compost Blankets
  • Dust Control
  • Geotextiles
  • Gradient Terraces
  • Mulching
  • Riprap
  • Seeding
  • Sodding
  • Soil Retention
  • Soil Roughening
  • Temporary Slope Drain
  • Temporary Stream Crossings
  • Wind Fences and Sand Fences

Runoff Control

  • Check Dams
  • Grass-Lined Channels
  • Permanent Slope Diversions
  • Temporary Diversion Dikes

Sediment Control

  • Brush Barrier
  • Compost Filter Berms
  • Compost Filter Socks
  • Construction Entrances
  • Fiber Rolls
  • Filter Berms
  • Sediment Basins and Rock Dams
  • Sediment Filters and Sediment Chambers
  • Sediment Traps
  • Silt Fences 
  • Storm Drain Inlet Protection
  • Straw or Hay Bales
  • Vegetated Buffers

Good Housekeeping/Materials Management

  • Concrete Washout 
  • General Construction Site Waste Management
  • Spill Prevention and Control Plan
  • Vehicle Maintenance and Washing Areas at Construction Sites

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Resources

EPA

Other

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Post-Construction Stormwater Management in New Development and Redevelopment

As areas are developed, the amount of paved surfaces increase leading to an increase in stormwater volume and pollutants, which can harm lakes, rivers, streams, and coastal areas.

The best way to mitigate stormwater impacts from new development is to use practices that treat, store, and infiltrate runoff onsite before it can affect water bodies downstream. Innovative site designs that reduce paved surfaces, or imperviousness, and other green infrastructure practices are excellent ways to reduce flows and improve water quality.

Phase II MS4s are required to address post-construction stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopments that disturb one or more acres. This primarily includes developing:

  • strategies to implement a combination of structural and non-structural BMPs,
  • an ordinance to address post-construction runoff, and
  • a program to ensure adequate long-term operation and maintenance of BMPs.

Key BMPs and Resources

MS4s addressing the post-construction minimum measure should focus on the following key BMPs to help them in developing a post-construction program. Information on green infrastructure and smart growth are key resources for MS4s.

EPA is updating the following fact sheets. You can request a copy be sending an email.
  • Ordinances for Post-Construction Runoff
  • Post-Construction Plan Review
  • BMP Inspection and Maintenance
  • Low Impact Development (LID) and Other Green Designs

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BMP Fact Sheets

EPA is updating the following fact sheets. You can request a copy or recommend any changes by sending an email.

The fact sheets describe the BMPs and generally provide applicability, implementation, and effectiveness information to help municipal stormwater and construction site operators comply with the stormwater Phase II requirements.

Municipal Program Elements

  • BMP Inspection and Maintenance
  • Ordinances for Post-construction Runoff
  • Post-construction Plan Review
  • Zoning

Innovative BMPs for Site Plans

  • Alternative Turnarounds
  • Conservation Easements
  • Development Districts
  • Eliminating Curbs and Gutters
  • Green Parking
  • Green Roofs
  • Infrastructure Planning
  • Low Impact Development
  • (LID) and Other Green Design Strategies
  • Narrower Residential Streets
  • Open Space Design
  • Protection of Natural Features
  • Redevelopment
  • Riparian/Forested Buffer
  • Street Design and Patterns
  • Urban Forestry

Infiltration

  • Grassed Swales
  • Infiltration Basin
  • Infiltration Trench
  • Permeable Interlocking Concrete Pavement
  • Pervious Concrete Pavement
  • Porous Asphalt Pavement

Filtration

  • Bioretention (Rain Gardens)
  • Catch Basin Inserts
  • Sand and Organic Filters
  • Vegetated Filter Strip

Retention/Detention

  • Dry Detention Ponds
  • In-Line Storage
  • On-Lot Treatment
  • Stormwater Wetland
  • Wet Ponds

Other

  • Alum Injection
  • Manufactured Products for Stormwater Inlets

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Resources

EPA

Other

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Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operators

Preventing pollutants from entering a waterway is less expensive than restoring a waterway after it’s been polluted. Therefore, programs should first focus on preventing pollution before it happens. BMPs under each of the minimum measures, but especially under this pollution prevention category, focus on preventing pollutants from contacting stormwater.

Municipal activities such as winter road maintenance, minor road repairs, and other infrastructure work, automobile fleet maintenance, landscaping and park maintenance, and building maintenance can release pollutants into MS4s that ultimately discharge to nearby waterbodies. Municipal facilities can also be sources of stormwater pollutants if BMPs are not in place to contain spills, manage trash, and handle non-stormwater discharges. 

Sweeping parking lots and streets and cleaning storm drains can prevent pollutants from entering nearby waterways.

Phase II MS4s must train their staff to prevent and reduce stormwater pollution from activities like maintaining MS4 infrastructure and performing daily municipal activities, such as park and open space maintenance, fleet and building maintenance, and new construction and land disturbances. This primarily includes:

  • Developing inspection and maintenance procedures and schedules for stormwater BMPs
  • Implementing BMPs to treat pollutants from transportation infrastructure, maintenance areas, storage yards, sand and salt storage areas, and waste transfer stations
  • Establishing procedures for properly disposing of pollutants removed from the MS4
  • Identifying ways to incorporate water quality controls into new and existing flood management projects
  • Developing a training program for all municipal staff involved in activities that could discharge pollutants to the MS4
  • Developing standard operating procedures that incorporate stormwater BMPs for common municipal activities

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Key BMPS and Resources

The key BMP to addressing the good housekeeping minimum measure is the development of an employee training and education program. Common municipal activities and facilities which should be addressed in the training program are described in individual fact sheets in the next section below.


BMP Fact Sheets

EPA is updating the following fact sheets. You can request a copy or recommend any changes by sending an email.

The fact sheets describe the BMPs and generally provide applicability, implementation, and effectiveness information to help municipal stormwater and construction site operators comply with the stormwater Phase II requirements.

Education

  • Municipal Employee Training and Education

Municipal Activities

  • Coal-Tar Sealcoats and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Municipal Landscaping
  • Municipal Vehicle Fueling
  • Municipal Vehicle and Equipment Maintenance
  • Municipal Vehicle and Equipment Washing
  • Parking Lot and Street Cleaning
  • Road Salt Application and Storage
  • Roadway and Bridge Maintenance
  • Storm Drain System Cleaning

Municipal Facilities

  • Hazardous Materials Storage
  • Materials Management
  • Municipal Facilities Management
  • Spill Response and Prevention

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Resources

EPA

Other

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