What is NPDES Phase II?
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) was formulated in 1990 under the Clean Water Act. Phase I of this program was designed to address stormwater runoff from “medium” and “large” municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) serving populations of 100,000 or greater, as well as runoff from construction activity disturbing 5 acres of land or greater. Ten categories of industrial activity were also addressed.
In 1999 the United States Environmental Protection Agency expanded the Phase I program. The NPDES Phase II regulations include operators of small MS4s in urbanized areas(UAs) and operators of small construction activities that disturb greater than one acre and less than 5 acres.
Portage County communities affected by the NPDES Phase II regulations include: Portage County, City of Aurora, City of Kent, City of Ravenna, City of Streetsboro, Brady Lake Village, Sugar Bush Knolls, Kent State University, Brimfield Township, Franklin Township, Ravenna Township, Rootstown Township, and Suffield Township.
Why is it necessary?
Storm water runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground.
Storm water can pick up debris, chemicals, unprotected soil, and other pollutants as it moves over the surface. The storm water, along with the pollutants, then flows into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged (untreated!) into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing and providing drinking water.
A major objective of the NPDES program is to reduce and/or eliminate these non-point source pollutants entering our waterbodies through a variety of methods public education, public involvement, water quality monitoring, and regulatory devices. The ultimate goal is increased water quality.
What is expected of Portage County?
Regulated communities in Portage County are required to develop a storm water managment program (SWMP) that implements six minimum control measures using Best Management Practices (BMP). These measures include: Public Education and Outreach, Public Participation and Involvement, Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination, Construction Site Runoff Control, Post-Construction Runoff Control, and Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping.
All construction occurring in Portage County will be affected by the new construction site segment of the NPDES Phase II Regulations. All sites with greater than one acre of disturbance will be regulated for erosion and sediment control. This will significantly increase the amount of sites currently regulated, and hopefully reduce the amount of sediment (a nonpoint source pollutant) entering our streams and rivers.