Stormwater Management Program
In an effort to protect, preserve, and improve our nation’s water resources from polluted stormwater runoff, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) created a municipal stormwater program under the Clean Water Act that requires implementation of programs and practices to control stormwater runoff. This program is broken up into two phases:
- Phase I addresses stormwater runoff from medium and large municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) in areas with populations of 100,000 or greater.
- Phase II addresses stormwater runoff from small MS4s in urbanized areas.
The Buffalo and Fort Erie Public Bridge Authority (Authority) owns and operates a separate storm sewer system both in the United States and Canada, located on the Peace Bridge and adjacent Authority property. In the United States, this system is subject to Phase II stormwater regulations.
What Is Stormwater?
Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that runs off into waterways rather than being absorbed into the ground. Flows can come from rooftops or run over paved areas, bare soil, and through sloped lawns. As it flows from/over the various surfaces, other materials become entrained and are transported along with it. Transported materials, also referred to as pollutants, include:
- animal waste;
- oil and grease; and
- debris and other potential pollutants.
Stormwater, along with its entrained pollutants, travels through storm sewers and over land, eventually making its way into major bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, and streams. Because this discharge is untreated, it is referred to as stormwater pollution. Stormwater pollution threatens water quality which can make it unfit for swimming and can potentially kill fish and other aquatic life.
Many people are unaware that some of the basic everyday things can contribute to stormwater pollution. Washing a vehicle in the driveway, accidentally spilling some motor oil on the ground while fixing a car, or spraying the lawn to control insects and weed growth are just a few examples. Although the above examples are not rainfall related, they are still a type of surface runoff that can end up in the storm sewer and ultimately in local water bodies.
The Authority’s Stormwater Management Program (SWMP)
The Authority was proactively managing stormwater runoff even before the USEPA Phase II regulations were issued, and in March 2003 the Authority formally defined their program in a Notice of Intent that was submitted to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). The SWMP includes both stormwater practices that the Authority is currently doing and new management techniques that will be implemented in the coming years. These include:
- Participating in the Western New York Stormwater Coalition
- Training employees in stormwater management
- Vehicle maintenance and washing in dedicated areas that drain to the sanitary sewer
- Parking lot and street sweeping to remove sediment
- Using deicers that do not contain sand or deteriorate pavement, thus minimizing the amount of sediment in stormwater runoff
- Utilizing structural controls, such as oil-water separators, to remove pollutants and floatable materials from stormwater
As part of the Phase II stormwater regulations, the Authority is required to report annually on the progress of the stormwater program. Copies of the Notice of Intent and Annual Reports are provided below.
What Can You Do To Help?
Public participation and involvement is the key to a successful stormwater management program. There are several ways to participate locally.
2. Get Involved!
- Attend stormwater-related community events and meetings. Information on these events is typically published in your local newspaper and is also listed below.
- Provide feedback on the Authority’s SWMP. Your input is needed to ensure the stormwater program is a success. Contact information is provided below.
EVENT AND DETAILS
Time: 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
For more information or to provide feedback, contact:
Anthony D. Braunscheidel