Stormwater is the water that flows across the ground and pavement when it rains or when snow and ice melt. The water seeps, or infiltrates, into the ground or drains into the city's storm sewer system. Storm sewer drains are commonly located at street corners or at low points on the sides of residential streets. All of this draining water is called stormwater runoff.
Where Run Off Goes
Stormwater that does not infiltrate into the ground drains into storm sewer systems consisting of underground pipes and is released into wetlands, ponds and lakes.
Why Stormwater Runoff Is a Problem
Stormwater can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system, or directly into wetlands, ponds and lakes. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged, often untreated, into bodies of water that are used for swimming, fishing and drinking water sources.
Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)
As of March 10, 2003, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency required all cities within the Seven County Metro Region to apply for a General Storm Water Permit (Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems [MS4] Permit) as part of Federal National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) requirements. In order to comply with new federal regulations, municipalities were required to develop a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) that focuses on ways the municipality will reduce the amount of sediment and pollution entering the surrounding water bodies.
The SWPPP requires six minimum control measures that need to be addressed by the city. Each measure is aimed at reducing the amount of pollution entering water bodies through various methods such as public outreach and education, regulatory ordinances and physical structures constructed as a part of the stormwater sewer system. Each control measure includes several best management practices (BMPs) that will be used to accomplish the measure, and each will include measurable goals that can establish the effectiveness of the SWPPP.
Every year the city is required to hold a public meeting on the SWPPP. The city is also required to submit an annual report to the MPCA documenting the accomplishments of the previous year.