Polluted Runoff and the Stormwater Permit

Stormwater Runoff Regulations

Polluted runoff from urban areas is the fastest growing threat to the Chesapeake Bay.  The National Academy of Science calls the water after a rainstorm "a toxic brew of oil, fertilizers and trash picked up by rain and snowmelt as the water flows over parking lots, roofs andsubdivisions." 

This water goes directly to our streams and then to the Potomac River and the Bay.   From the Montgomery County website:

Many people mistakenly believe that the rainfall runoff from roads, driveways, and parking lots that enters storm drains is treated at a wastewater treatment plant. But most runoff into storm drains goes untreated into streams, rivers, and lakes. Waterbodies in Montgomery County are directly affected by what is carried (or dumped) into storm drains. 

Stormwater Discharge is Regulated by Law

In early 1970's Congress passed a revised and updated Clean Water Act (CWA) that regulates wastewater discharges to the waters of the United States.  They  created a program called the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) that requires certain industries, municipalities, and commercial facilities to meet national water quality criteria for point source discharges to rivers and streams in the United States.

Montgomery County is regulated by, and operates under, a State of Maryland-issued National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit (MS4 permit), which prohibits polluted discharges or illicit flows into the storm drain system. DEP's code enforcement staff investigates all stormwater violations (that are reported in a timely manner).  Similary, DC has a stormwater permit

Help Prevent Stormwater Runoff

Learn about ways that you can help prevent stormwater pollution in your area.

MS4 Permit Advocacy

Little Falls Watershed Alliance as a member of Montgomery County Stormwater Partners, a coalition of watershed groups, has advocated for a strong MS4 permit.   Our advocacy has been successful and in 2010 Montgomery County adopted one of the strongest Stormwater Permits in the Country.The permit outlines regulations for new developement and retrofits to reduce and eliminate pollution from rainfall runoff, which flows through storm drain systems to local streams, ponds, and other waterways.

The key points of the MS4 Permit are discussed on the County website. 

To read the MS4 permit, click here.

To read the MS4 implementation plan, click here.

For Stormwater Partners comments (incorporating comments by all members including LFWA) on the plan, click here.

For LFWA comments on the MS4 implementation plan, click here.

For RIchard Yate's questions to Ansu John on the MS4 implementation plan, click here.