The Borough holds an NPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4), as issued by the Pennsylvania Department (PADEP). The primary goal of the permit is to implement a Stormwater Management Program designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants from its MS4 (storm sewer system), aimed at protecting and improving water quality in our streams and lakes. Stormwater pollution comes in many forms, including discharge of materials such as chemicals, oil, gasoline, or sewage. Sediment, siltation and debris are also pollutants to be prevented from entering the storm sewer system.
It is important to recognize that water runoff collected by the inlets and storm drains located along roadways, in parking lots and elsewhere throughout the community does not get conveyed to a sewage treatment plant to be treated as happens with the wastewater piped from homes and businesses. Stormwater runoff collected by the MS4 is discharged directly to surface waters (streams and lakes). Because of this, only stormwater may be allowed to enter the storm sewer system.
Introduction of pollutants to the storm sewer system, and ultimately our surface waters diminish sources of clean drinking water and greatly impacts the livability and sustainability of water for fish and other wildlife and other beneficial aquatic habitat.
Residents that implement good pollution prevention practices can create a significant impact on water quality by limiting discharge of pollutants, especially during outdoor activities through the summer months. Some examples of pollution prevention practices are as follows:
- Washing Cars – When washing vehicles, consider the destination of runoff of wash water. Wash water contains a variety of harmful contaminants, including soaps and cleaning agents, along with the dirt, debris, oils and greases removed from the vehicle. Washing should be done such that wash water does not reach the storm sewers or streams. Using commercial car washes is the best solution, as wash water is treated and recycled. If washing at home, wash on a gravel or grass area where wash water can permeate or infiltrate into the ground.
- Lawn Care – When working on your yard, consider the final destination of yard waste. Compost or mulch yard waste when possible. Never sweep or deposit grass clippings into the street, storm drains or along stream. Yard waste contributes nutrients to surface waters that degrade the environment for wildlife. When fertilizing, be careful to avoid over application and never fertilize before it rains. Runoff will carry chemicals and nutrients from the fertilizer to the MS4 and streams.
- Pet Waste – Cleaning up after you pet at home and when walking through the neighborhood or parks is key to helping water quality. When waste is left on the ground, stormwater runoff carries bacteria, pathogens and nutrients to our streams, again impacting the quality of our drinking water sources. Ideally, pet waste should be flushed or disposed of in the garbage. Waste may never be deposited into a storm drain.
- Swimming Pools – Chlorinated water from swimming pools cannot be discharged to the MS4 or to a stream. PADEP recommends two options for emptying swimming pools. First, discharge to the sanitary sewer is acceptable. Alternatively, discharge should be completed such that it may permeate into the ground, rather than flowing overland to a stream or the MS4.
- Liquid Waste Disposal – Chemicals and other liquids are not permitted to be drained into the MS4; some examples of these liquids include motor oil, paint, etc. These liquids should be disposed of in accordance with Hazardous Waste Requirements. Several Hazardous Waste collections are held within the area during the year where these chemicals can be properly disposed of.