Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snow melt flow over land and impervious surfaces and does not infiltrate into the ground. Water runoff from streets, lawns, farms, and construction and industrial sites pick up fertilizers, dirt, pesticides, oil, grease and many other pollutants and directly discharge untreated into our lakes, streams and rivers. This untreated discharge is detrimental to our water quality as it can adversely affect our drinking water supply and environment. Stormwater runoff is our most common cause of water pollution. Because stormwater pollution is caused by so many different activities, traditional regulatory control will only go so far. Many Best Management Practices (BMPs) such as requiring detention/retention/infiltration basins for new construction are already in place to help keep our water clean.
Sellersville Borough regulates stormwater management which goes above and beyond typical BMPs through a permit that is obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) through the National Pollution and Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). This is a Federal requirement from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) that is administered by the State. The NPDES Permit has six minimum control measures that are to be regulated and enforced by the Borough. These minimum control measures include:
Tips for Residents
As stormwater flows over driveways, lawns, and sidewalks, it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants. Stormwater then flows into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters our storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water. It does not go to the water treatment facility. Polluted runoff is the nation’s greatest threat to clean water. By practicing healthy household habits, homeowners can keep common pollutants like pesticides, pet waste, grass clippings, and automotive fluids off the ground and out of stormwater. Adopt these healthy household habits and help protect lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, and coastal waters. Remember to share the habits with your neighbors!
10 Ways to Prevent Stormwater Runoff Pollution:
1. Conserve Water by stopping faucet drips
2. Never dump anything down storm drains
3. Pick up after your pet
4. Sweep up driveways and sidewalks
5. Use fertilizers and pesticides sparingly
6. Plant gardens in bare spots
7. Direct rooftop runoff to grass or gardens
8. Check cars for leaks
9. Wash cars at the car wash
10. Compost your yard and organic wastes
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has a brochure When it Rains it Drains that summarizes the importance of keeping our waterways clean. You can also get information on how to get more actively involved in reducing water pollution by contacting the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy.
Swimming pool, hot tub and spa owners should review the PA DEP’s guidelines prior to discharging the pool’s water. These guidelines can be viewed by clinking on DEP Swimming Pool Water Discharge Guidelines.
If you witness an illicit discharge or see runoff from construction sites, you may call the Borough office at (215) 257-5075 Monday through Friday or our emergency number after hours at 215-721-5989 . You may also contact the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation Southeast Region Office at (484) 250-5900 (24 hours/day)
Tips for Businesses
Businesses can help reduce water pollution and flooding by applying some simple practices. Greening up the property; using dry methods for cleanup whenever possible; cover and contain wastes; keeping activities that cause pollution away from drainage areas; and limiting use of toxic products; educating and preparing employees about the important of stormwater pollution prevention; and taking a proactive stance towards water pollution by checking the business property for possible areas for illicit discharges and making corrections. The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary has some tips for helping businesses improve on protecting stormwater.
The following websites for more information on stormwater management:
Polluted Runoff: Nonpoint Source Pollution: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/index.cfm. At this site, there are several sub-topics under the “Quick Finder” section that may be useful for MS4s.
EPA Watersheds: http://water.epa.gov/type/watersheds/index.cfm