Stormwater Discharges from Municipal Sources
- Developing an MS4 Program
II Rule Clarification Related to Census Bureau Urban Area Designation Criteria - Would retain the existing approach in the regulations to designate small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) after publication of each decennial census by replacing the term “urbanized area” with “urban areas with a population of at least 50,000,” which is the Census Bureau’s longstanding definition of the term urbanized areas.
Interim Guidance on Census Elimination of "Urbanized Area" Definition - Provides interim guidance on the effect of recent revisions to the Census Bureau criteria for defining urban areas on the MS4 permitting program.
Quick links to relevant information on stormwater discharges from municipal sources:
- Stormwater Smart Outreach Tools
- Stormwater Discharges from Transportation Sources
- Proposed National Rulemaking to Strengthen the Stormwater Program
- National Menu of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Stormwater
- Stormwater Maintenance
- Off-Site Stormwater Management
Polluted stormwater runoff is commonly transported through municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s), and then often discharged, untreated, into local water bodies.
- owned by a state, city, town, village, or other public entity that discharges to waters of the U.S.,
- designed or used to collect or convey stormwater (e.g., storm drains, pipes, ditches),
- not a combined sewer, and
- not part of a sewage treatment plant, or publicly owned treatment works (POTW).
To prevent harmful pollutants from being washed or dumped into MS4s, certain operators are required to obtain NPDES permits and develop stormwater management programs (SWMPs). The SWMP describes the stormwater control practices that will be implemented consistent with permit requirements to minimize the discharge of pollutants from the sewer system.
Phase I MS4s
Phase II MS4s
The 1990 Phase I regulation requires medium and large cities or certain counties with populations of 100,000 or more to obtain NPDES permit coverage for their stormwater discharges.
There are approximately 855 Phase I MS4s covered by 250 Individual Permits
The 1999 Phase II regulation requires small MS4s in U.S. Census Bureau defined urbanized areas, as well as MS4s designated by the permitting authority, to obtain NPDES permit coverage for their stormwater discharges. Phase II also includes non-traditional MS4s such as public universities, departments of transportation, hospitals and prisons.
Most of the 6,695 Phase II MS4s are covered by statewide General Permits, however some states use individual permits. There are three Watershed Permits that cover 3 Phase I and 40 Phase II MS4s.
Urbanized Area Maps for NPDES MS4 Phase II Stormwater Permits