Minimum Control Measures (MCMs)
Stormwater regulations associated with the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) are administered under the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Program. In Pennsylvania, the MS4 program is managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Protection (PA DEP). Operators of a small MS4 must obtain an NPDES permit and develop and implement a stormwater management plan (SWMP) according to the details of their specific permit. Mandatory elements of the SWMP include six (6) Minimum Control Measures (MCMs) – explore each one below.
Public Education and Outreach is one of the six (6) Minimum Control Measures (MCMs) required of small MS4s under the MS4 program. The goal of the Public Education and Outreach MCM is to build greater support for the stormwater management program (SWMP), increase compliance, and ultimately increase environmental awareness amongst members of the community.
There are four (4) Best Management Practices (BMPs) required under this MCM. Keep reading to learn more about their requirements, resources to help meet these requirements, and more.
BMP #1 – Develop, implement, and maintain a Public Education and Outreach program. This plan should be developed digitally. The plan should include goals, strategies, a timeline, and provisions for reviewing and updating annually. This plan can be relatively simple and is an easy way to ensure that you are meeting all the requirements of the Public Education and Outreach MCM. EPA’s “Getting in Step, A Guide for Conducting Watershed Outreach Campaigns” (EPA 841-B-03-002, December 2003) is an exceptionally helpful resource for meeting this BMP requirement.
BMP #2 – Develop and maintain lists of target audience groups that are present within the areas served by your small Ms4. Target audiences typically include residents, businesses, developers, schools, and municipal employees. Remember to modify this list based on the characteristics of your municipality. For example, be sure to include agricultural entities if these exist within your municipality.
BMP #3 – Annually publish at least one issue of a newsletter, a pamphlet, a flyer, or a website that includes general stormwater educational information, a general description of your SWMP, and/or information about your stormwater management activities. One of the following must be done: 1) Publish and distribute (in printed form) a newsletter, pamphlet, or flyer containing information consistent with this BMP, or 2) Publish educational and informational items including links to DEP’s and EPA’s stormwater websites on your municipal website.
BMP #4 – Distribute educational materials and/or information to the target audiences (identified in BMP #2) using a variety of distribution methods, including but not limited to: displays, posters, signs, pamphlets, booklets, brochures, radio, local cable TV, newspaper articles, posters, bill stuffers, presentations, conferences, meetings, fact sheets, giveaways, or storm drain stenciling. All permittees shall utilize at least two (2) of these methods to conduct outreach a year.
Public Participation / Involvement is one of the six (6) Minimum Control Measures (MCMs) required under the MS4 program. The goal of the Public Participation / Involvement MCM is to facilitate successful implementation of your Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) through a number of means, including: garner broad public support, utilize expertise and local knowledge, shorten implementation schedules, and build partnerships with other community and government programs.
There are three (3) Best Management Practices (BMPs) required under this MCM.
BMP #1 – Develop, implement, and maintain a Public Involvement and Participation Program (PIPP) which describes various types of possible participation activities and describes methods of encouraging the public’s involvement and soliciting of the public’s input. The PIPP should be developed the first year of permit coverage and re-evaluated annually. PIPP should include but not be limited to:
- Opportunities for the public to participate in your SWMP,
- Regular communication methods to organizations such as watershed groups, environmental advisory committees, etc., and
- Making MS4 reports available to the public on your website, at municipal offices, or by mail upon request.
BMP #2 – Prior to the adoption of any ordinance required by the permit, provide adequate public notice and opportunities for public review, input, and feedback. Public comments that are received should be documented and responded to. Ordinance adoption is required under MCM #4 – Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control.
BMP #3 – Regularly solicit public involvement and participation from the target audience groups. This should include an effort to solicit public reporting of suspected illicit discharges. Assist the public in their efforts to help implement your SWMP. Conduct public meetings to discuss the on-going implementation of your SWMP. At least one public meeting should be held annually; the public should be notified in advance of each meeting. Meeting topics should include progress, activities, and accomplishments of your SWMP as well as opportunities for the public to provide feedback.
Documentation is a critical component of the entire MS4 program, including MCM #2 – Public Participation and Involvement. You must be sure to document the instances of public involvement, which may include but are not limited to: presentations at municipal meetings, presentations to watershed and conservation groups, stream clean ups, drain stenciling, and educational activities such as a watershed festival.
Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination is one of the six (6) Minimum Control Measures (MCMs) required under the small MS4 program. The goal of the Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination MCM is to reduce pollution to our waterways through the removal of non-stormwater contributions to the storm sewer system. Common sources of illicit discharges include sanitary wastewater, improper disposal of auto and household toxins, and car wash wastewaters.
There are six (6) Best Management Practices (BMPs) required under this MCM.
BMP #1 – Develop and implement a written program for the detection, elimination, and prevention of illicit discharges into your regulated small MS4. Your program shall include dry weather field screening of outfalls for non-stormwater flows, and sampling of dry weather discharges or selected chemical and biological parameters. Test results shall be used as indicators of possible discharge sources. The program must include the following:
- Procedures of identifying priority areas,
- Procedures for screening outfalls in priority areas during varying seasonal and meterological conditions,
- Procedures for identifying the source of an illicit discharge when a contaminated flow is detected,
- Procedures of eliminating an illicit discharge,
- Procedures for assessing the potential for illicit discharges caused by the interaction of sewage disposal systems,
- Mechanisms for gaining access to private property to inspect outfalls, and
- Procedures for evaluation, program documentation, and assessment.
BMP #2 – Develop and maintain a map of your regulated small MS4. The map must also show the location of all outfalls and the locations and names of all surface waters of the Commonwealth that receive discharges from those outfalls. Surface waters that should be included are creeks, streams, ponds, lakes, basins, swales, and channels that receive stormwater discharges. Outfalls should have unique names to assist in record keeping. Maps should be developed within the first year of permit coverage and updated/maintained thereafter.
BMP #3 – In conjunction with the map created under BMP #2, new permittees should map the entire storm sewer collection system including roads, inlets, piping, swales, catch basins, channels, basin, and any other features of the permittee’s storm sewer system, including municipal boundaries and watershed boundaries. New permittees should develop this map by the completion of the fourth year of the permit. Renewal permittees should update and maintain the map annually.
BMP #4 – Following the IDD&E program created under BMP #1, the permittee shall conduct outfall field screening, identify the source of any illicit discharges, and remove or correct any illicit discharges using the procedures outlined under BMP #1.
BMP #5 – Enact a stormwater ordinance to implement and enforce a stormwater management program that includes the prohibition of non-stormwater discharged to the regulated MS4. Ordinances associated with an Act 167 Stormwater Management Plan, that was approved by PA DEP in 2005 or later, meet the requirements of BMP #5. You can also meet the ordinance requirement by utilizing PA DEP’s model MS4 Stormwater Management Ordinance or by developing an ordinance that meets all applicable requirements outlined in the MS4 Stormwater Management Ordinance Checklist.
BMP #6 – Provide educational outreach to public employees, business owners and employees, property owners, the general public, and elected officials about the program to detect and eliminate illicit discharges. Educational outreach should be conducted to the target audiences by the methods outlined in MCM #1. Programs should be developed to encourage and facilitate public reporting of illicit discharges, illegal dumping, or outfall pollution.
Construction Site Runoff Control is one of the 6 minimum control measures (MCMs) required under the small MS4 program. The goal of the Construction Site Runoff Control MCM is to protect our waterways from stormwater-related pollution that can result from construction activities. Four (4) best management practices (BMPs) are required under this MCM.
Under Chapter 102, Erosion and Sediment (E&S) Control, County Conservation Districts and/or DEP must issue a permit for earth disturbance activities greater than 1 acre. If the small MS4 permittee elects to use their participation in the Chapter 102 program as a Qualifying Local Program (QLP) under their MS4 permit requirements, then MCM #4 BMPs 1 -3 are automatically accounted for. Read more about all the BMPs associated with this MCM below.
BMP #1 –If an NPDES permit is required for earth disturbance activities, do not issue a building permit or approval until confirmation that a valid NPDES permit is obtained.
BMP #2 – Notify DEP or county conservation district (CCD) within five days of the receipt of an application for a permit involving an earth disturbance activity consisting of one acre or more.
BMP #3 – Enact, implement, and enforce an ordinance or SOP to require the implementation of erosion and sediment control BMPS, as well as sanctions to ensure compliance. All municipal permittees shall submit a copy of an ordinance that is consistent with DPE’s 2022 Model Stormwater Management Ordinance. Permittees that lack the authority to enact ordinances shall develop, implement, and enforce a SOP to require the implementation and maintenance of E&S control BMPs.
Post-Construction Runoff Control is one of the six (6) Minimum Control Measures (MCM) required under the Small MS4 program. The goal of the Post-Construction Runoff Control MCM is to avoid increased stormwater runoff problems and increased non-point source pollution that often accompanies the development of land and associated increase in impervious surfaces. Six (6) best management practices (BMPs) are required under this MCM.
Under Chapter 102, Erosion and Sediment (E&S) Control, County Conservation Districts and/or DEP must issue a permit for earth disturbance activities greater than 1 acre. If the small MS4 permittee elects to use their participation in the Chapter 102 program as a Qualifying Local Program (QLP) under their MS4 permit requirements, then MCM #5 BMPs 1 -3 are automatically accounted for.
BMP #1 – Enact, implement, and enforce an ordinance or other regulatory mechanism to address post-construction stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopment projects, as well as sanctions and penalties associated with non-compliance.
BMP #2 – Develop and implement measures to encourage and expand the use of Low Impact Development (LID) in new development and redevelopment. Measures should also be included to encourage retrofitting LID into existing development.
BMP #3 – Ensure adequate operation and maintenance (O&M) of all post-construction stormwater management BMPs installed at all development or redevelopment projects. An inventory of all PCSM BMPs shall be developed or updated as development projects are reviewed, approved, and constructed. Pollution can still result from construction sites after construction is finished; PCSM ensures this is minimized. Please check your local ordinances for O&M for BMPs for sites that are less than one acre.
Pollution Prevention / Good Housekeeping is one of the six (6) Minimum Control Measures (MCMs) required under the small MS4 program. The goal of the Pollution Prevention / Good Housekeeping MCM is to help ensure a reduction in the amount and type of pollution that is generated from municipally-owned and maintained facilities (e.g. streets, parking lots, and vehicle maintenance areas) and eventually discharged into local waterways. An additional goal of MCM #6 is to reduce the amount of pollution that is discharged to waterways from environmentally damaging land development, flood management practices, and/or poor maintenance of storm sewer systems.
There are three (3) best management practices (BMPs) required under this MCM.
BMP #1 – Identify and document all facilities and activities that are owned or operated by the permittee and have the potential for generating stormwater runoff to the small regulated MS4. This includes activities conducted by contractors for the permittee.
Activities may include the following:
- Street sweeping
- snow removal / deicing
- Inlet /outlet cleaning
- Lawn / grounds care
- Storm system maintenance, inspection, and repair
- Park and open space maintenance
- Municipal building maintenance
- New construction and land disturbances
- Right of Way maintenance
- Vehicle maintenance, operation, fueling, and washing
- Material transfer operations, including leaf/yard debris pickup and disposal procedures.
Municipal Facilities may include the following:
- Streets, roads, highways, and parking lots
- Maintenance and storage yards
- Waste transfer stations
- Fleet or maintenance shops
- Wastewater treatment plants
- Stormwater conveyances (open and closed)
- Riparian buffers
- Stormwater storage or treatment units (e.g. basins, constructed wetlands, etc.)
BMP #2 – Develop, implement, and maintain a written operation and maintenance (O & M) program for all municipal operations and facilities that could contribute to the discharge of pollutants from the regulated small MS4s, as identified under BMP #1. This program should address municipally owned stormwater collection or conveyance systems, but could include other areas (as identified in BMP #1). The O&M plan should stress pollution prevention and good housekeeping measures, contain site-specific information, and address the following areas:
- Management practices, policies, and procedures to reduce or prevent the discharge of pollutants to your small regulated MS4. Consider eliminating maintenance-area floor drains.
- Maintenance activities, schedules, and inspection procedures to reduce the potential for pollutants to reach your small regulated MS4.
- Controls for reducing or eliminating the discharge of pollutants from streets, roads, highways, municipal parking lots, maintenance and storage yards, waste transfer stations, fleet or maintenance shops with outdoor storage areas, and salt/sand (anti-skid) storage locations and snow disposal areas.
- Procedures for the proper disposal of waste removed from your regulated small MS4s and your municipal operations, including dredge spoil, accumulated sediments, trash, household hazardous waste, used motor oil, and other debris.
BMP #3 – Develop and implement an employee training program that addresses appropriate topics to further the goal of preventing or reducing the discharge of pollutants from municipal operations to your regulated small MS4s. The program may be developed and implemented using any guidance and training materials that are available from federal, state, or local agencies, or other organizations. Any municipal employee or contractor shall receive training; this may include:
- Public works staff
- Building / zoning / code enforcement staff
- Engineering staff (on-site and contracted)
- Administrative staff
- Elected officials
- Police and fire responders
- Contracted Personnel
Training should cover all relevant parts of the permittees overall stormwater management program that could affect municipal operations, such as illicit discharge detection and elimination, construction sites, and ordinance requirements.