A separate storm sewer system is a collection of structures, including retention basins, ditches, roadside inlets, and underground pipes, designed to gather storm water from built-up areas and discharge it, without treatment, into local streams and rivers. It’s called a separate system because it’s not connected to the sanitary sewer system which drains wastewater from inside a home to a sewage treatment facility or a private septic system.
Clean water is important to us because it provides us with drinking water, a place for recreation, and supports habitat for wildlife. Collier Township has initiated a public education program on storm water management because of its effect on water quality. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, polluted storm water runoff is a leading cause of impairment to the nearly 40% of U.S water bodies which do not meet water quality standards.
Storm water is water from precipitation that flows across the ground and pavement when it rains or when snow and ice melt. Storm water travels over land. Sometimes the ground absorbs storm water, and it never reaches streams, rivers, and lakes. Other times storm water traveling over land eventually drains into a system of conveyances. This system is referred to as a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4).
By definition an MS4 is a system of conveyances that discharge into waters of the United States that include catch basins, curbs, gutters, ditches, man-made channels, pipes, tunnels, and storm drains.
Installing and maintaining pollution prevention techniques on site can reduce the potential for storm water pollution and help protect our nation’s water supply. Learn more about how you can help protect the water supply by clicking the links below.
Unfiltered & Untreated
Houses and neighborhoods that are not next to a stream or lake can still contribute to the problem. Storm drains found in most local neighborhoods are designed to move runoff from your neighborhood to the nearest body of water. While many people believe otherwise, stormwater is not filtered in wastewater treatment plants before entering streams and rivers. Storm drains carry unfiltered and untreated water directly into our local rivers and streams. Lots of pollution from stormwater runoff can make our waterways very unhealthy for people, plants, and animals.
Protect Our Streams
Help us green our neighborhoods and protect our streams by building a rain garden in a local watershed. Participate in a community rain garden planting or install a rain garden in your own yard! Read the tips on this page in creating a rain garden that will help to keep our waters healthy and protect our community from flooding and polluted runoff during storms.
For more details on building your own rain garden or getting involved in the rain water garden community efforts, contact The Rain Gardens for the Bays Campaign, supported by the Mid-Atlantic Estuary Program, state, and local partners, which hopes to collaborate to encourage healthier waterways by creating thousands of rain gardens in our backyards, school campuses, town halls, libraries, local businesses and on our corporate lands.
Pennsylvania’s first two MS4s were Pittsburgh and Philadelphia which have been in the program since the 1990’s. The state’s remaining MS4s, around 950 of them in 2018, started getting enrolled in the early 2000’s.The program is managed by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection or DEP, which fulfills this role to comply with federal mandates under the Clean Water Act. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has an oversight role because they are the federal agency charged with implementing the Clean Water Act.