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Storm Water Management - USA

Page history last edited by Timothy Golden 10 years, 6 months ago

Note: please note that this page should (a) link back to the issue overview on this topic, (b) be focused either the local, state, national, or global level, and (c) be neutrally presented, based on facts, and include footnotes for each of the items.  See the Research Guide and Information Sources to assist you. 




Scope of the Problem  

     Older facilities in the greenway corridor like Siena College do not contain adequate storm water management systems, which has a negative effect on the community as a whole. The local towns of Menands, Watervilet, and Cohoes have complained of Siena College producing polluted runoff  which has a negative effect on their quality of water. In addition, the Albany Rural Cemetery has poor water quality due to their use of fertilizers and pesticides to maintain green grasses and continuous landscaping. Eventually the runoff from all areas of the green corridor will drain to the Hudson River and affect the ecosystems within the river. A system needs to be put in place that manages the storm water runoff in an effective way so that it does not damage our environment or our drinking supply. The storm water runoff should be collected in a efficient manner so that it can be used later for other purposes that will benefit both the residents and the environment. 


Past Policy  

 Clean Water Act of 1972, as amended — This Law provides the statutory basis for the NPDES permit program and the basic structure for regulating the discharge of pollutants from point sources to waters of the United States. It establishes the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States and regulating quality standards for surface waters. 

  • The CWA also gives the EPA the authority to set effluent limits on an industry-wide (technology-based) basis and on a water quality basis that ensures protection of the receiving water.  The CWA requires anyone who wants to discharge pollutants to first obtain an NPDES permit, or else that discharge will be considered illegal. Under the CWA, EPA has implemented pollution control programs such as setting wastewater standards for industry. It also set water quality standards for all contaminants in surface waters.


Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, as amended — This is the main federal law that ensures the quality of American’s drinking water.  Under this act, the EPA can set standards for drinking water quality and oversee the state, local, and water suppliers who implement such standards.  The EPA can set national health-based standards for drinking water to protect against both naturally occurring and man-made contaminants that may be found in drinking water.  The US EPA, states, and water systems then work together to make sure these standards are met and kept.

  • Originally, the SDWA was passed by Congress in 1974 to protect public health by regulating the nation’s public drinking water supply.  The law was amended in 1986 and 1996 and requires many actions to protect drinking water and its sources, such as rivers, lakes, reservoirs, springs, and ground water wells.


Current Policy  


     The US Environmental Protection Agency and NYSDEC have three State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) general permits required for activities associated storm water discharges that apply to not only New York State, but to specific areas such as the Albany Area:

  • The Multi-Sector General Permit for Storm water Discharges Associated with Industrial Activities (MSGP) addresses storm water runoff from certain industrial activities.  This permit requires facilities to develop Storm water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs) and report the results of industry specific monitoring to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation on an annual basis. Issued December 27, 2006. 
  • A federal regulation, commonly known as Storm Water Phase II, requires permits for storm water discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) in urbanized areas.  Permittees are required to develop Storm water Management Program (SWMP) and submit annual reports to the Department.  Issued April 2010, effective on May 1, 2010.
  • Construction activities disturbing one or more acres of soil must be authorized under the General Permit for Storm water Discharges from Constructive Activities.  Permittees are required to develop a SWPPP to prevent discharges of construction-related pollutants to surface waters. Issued January 2010, effective on January 29, 2010.  


Key Organizations/Individuals   

  • Government
    •  United States Government
  • Non-Profit - Service Providing
    • None 
  • Non-Profit - Advocacy/Membership/Network
    • None  
  • Foundation
    • None 
  • Other
    •  None






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