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What is the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Program?
MS4 programs are required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to reduce pollution from stormwater to surface waters and groundwater. Municipalities with populations of 50,000 or greater and some smaller designated cities along with other public entities with significant stormwater drainage systems such as universities, counties or state transportation departments have been selected to have MS4 programs. MnDOT Metro is one of these designated MS4 programs.
When did MnDOT Metro District become a Designated MS4?
In 1972, the Clean Water Act (CWA) came into effect which prohibited the point discharge of any pollutant to waters of the United States unless the discharges were covered by a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. In 1987, Congress amended the CWA to require the EPA to establish phased requirements for NPDES permits. When Phase II became effective in 2003, MnDOT Metro was required to apply for a NPDES permit to discharge stormwater. The Water Resource Engineering Section is responsible for MnDOT Metro District’s MS4 Program.
How are pollutants from stormwater discharges reduced?
As part of the NPDES Permit, MnDOT Metro District was required to develop and implement a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (SWPPP) to reduce the discharge of pollutants from our storm sewer system to the maximum extent practicable. The SWPPP covers six minimum control measures:
- Public education and outreach;
- Public participation/involvement;
- Illicit discharge detection and elimination;
- Construction site runoff control;
- Post-construction site runoff control; and
- Pollution prevention/good housekeeping.
For each of these six minimum control measures, MnDOT Metro adheres to Best Management Practices (BMPs). The next section has information regarding these BMPs.
For additional background information on MS4 regulations and permits please visit the following websites:
Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) Stormwater Program MS4 page
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Stormwater page