Stormwater Management Program
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), polluted stormwater runoff is the leading cause of impairment to nearly 40% of impaired bodies of water in the United States. To address this, Congress passed legislation under the Federal Clean Water Act (CWA) for municipalities that own and operate Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) requiring them to reduce pollution and sediment entering waterways via stormwater runoff. As the owner and operator of an MS4, Myerstown Borough implemented a Stormwater Management Program to comply with these regulations. The program is financed by a Stormwater Assessment Fee.
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is water from precipitation events and snow/ice melt.
Where does Stormwater go?
After falling or melting, stormwater either soaks into the soil (infiltrate), is held on the surface and evaporates, or becomes runoff carried into nearby streams, rivers, or other bodies of water (surface water). In natural landscapes such as forests, the soil absorbs much of the stormwater and plants help hold stormwater close to where it falls. In developed areas like Myerstown Borough, impervious surfaces such as pavement and roofs prevent stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground. Instead, water flows quickly into nearby streams like the Tulpehocken Creek, causing unnaturally large and sudden flows that contribute to stream erosion.
What is Stormwater Runoff?
Stormwater runoff is all stormwater that flows over the ground surface. It is created when stormwater falls or melts on roads, driveways, parking lots, rooftops, and other impervious surfaces that do not allow water to naturally soak into the ground.
What problems are caused by Stormwater Runoff?
Where stormwater falls or melts on impervious surfaces, large volumes of water run rapidly into storm drains, sewer systems, and drainage ditches, which swiftly carry that water to our local streams, lakes, wetlands and rivers. The list of environmental problems created by stormwater runoff includes:
- Downstream flooding
- Stream bank erosion
- Increased turbidity (muddiness created by stirred up sediment) from erosion
- Habitat destruction
- Combined storm and sanitary sewer system overflows
- Infrastructure damage
- Contaminated streams, rivers and coastal water
How does Stormwater Runoff contribute to water pollution?
Stormwater runoff picks up and carries with it many different pollutants that are found on paved surfaces such as sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, bacteria, oil and grease, trash, pesticides and metals. These pollutants come from a variety of sources, including pet waste, lawn fertilization, cars, construction sites, illegal dumping and spills, and pesticide application. Researchers have found that as the amount of paved surfaces (a.k.a. impervious cover) in the watershed increases, stream health declines accordingly.
What does Myerstown Borough do to help manage Stormwater?
Myerstown Borough has a system of conveyances (i.e., ditches, curbs, catch basins, underground pipes, etc.) designed and used for collecting and conveying stormwater to local surface waters called a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). A Stormwater Management Program has been implemented in accordance with federal and state regulations for the purposes of reducing pollution caused by stormwater runoff.
What is a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4)?
Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) are publicly-owned or operated conveyances, or systems of conveyances (including streets, ditches, and pipes), that collect or convey stormwater, and are not a combined sewer or part of a publicly-owned treatment works.
Who regulates MS4s?
MS4s are regulated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) through their National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program, specifically their Stormwater Program. The NPDES permit program was created in 1972 by the Clean Water Act (CWA) to address water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States. The Phase I MS4 regulation was put in place in 1990 to require medium and large cities or certain counties with populations of 100,000 or more to obtain NPDES permit coverage for their stormwater discharges. The Phase II MS4 regulation was put in place in 1999 to require small MS4s in developed areas to obtain NPDES permit coverage for their stormwater discharges. The NPDES Stormwater Program in Pennsylvania is administered by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Myerstown Borough works with the EPA and DEP to reduce runoff and improve water quality by implementing stormwater management throughout the borough and at its facilties.
Does Myerstown Borough's MS4 require a NPDES permit?
Yes. Most recently, Myerstown Borough applied for coverage under the "2018 NPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Small MS4s (PAG-13)", which is currently in effect through 2023. Permit coverage is generally for a 5-year term. The previous permit was issued in 2013. DEP's regional offices inspect MS4s to determine whether the MS4 is meeting its permit obligations.
Myerstown Borough NPDES Permit - Stormwater Discharge 2013-2018
Myerstown Borough NPDES Permit - Stormwater Discharge 2018-2023
What is a Stormwater Assessment Fee?
A service fee that is collected solely for the purposes of funding the Stormwater Management Program. This fee provides the user with various stormwater-related services (much like a sewer fee, trash collection fee, or a water fee). The collection of this fee is enabled by the PA Borough Code and must have its own budget and be fully transparent to show funds are properly spent.
How is the Stormwater Assessment Fee determined?
Impervious area is the most important factor influencing stormwater runoff and is therefore the major element in determining the fee. Parcels are billed on the basis of how much impervious area exists in relation to the impervious area of a typical single family residential (SFR) parcel. This amount is called one Equivalent Residential Unit (ERU). All SFR parcels are billed a flat rate for one ERU. Non-SFR parcels are billed based upon individually measured impervious area. That area is divided by the impervious area of the typical SFR unit to determine the number of ERUs to be billed to the parcel.
1 ERU = $7.75/month
1 ERU = 3,382 SF of impervious area
How is the Stormwater Assessment Fee used?
The Stormwater Assessment Fee pays for the operation and maintenance costs associated with the Stormwater Management Program. Some of the services provided by that program include:
- Infrastructure construction, maintenance and repair
- Stormwater quality improvement projects
- Flooding mitigation projects
- Permit compliance
- Public education and outreach
- Illicit discharge detection & elimination
The cost of the mandated Stormwater Management Program, in addition to the need for various infrastructure improvement projects, far exceeds the amount the Borough allocated for stormwater management before the program was in place. Additional use of General Fund moneys would require reducing expenditures in other areas such as public safety or street repairs.
How can residents and property owners help manage Stormwater Runoff?
There are many ways residents and property owners of Myerstown Borough can help manage stormwater runoff, including, but not limited to the following:
- Properly dispose of hazardous substances such as used oil, cleaning supplies and paint. Never pour such materials down any part of the stormwater system.
- Use pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides properly and efficiently to prevent excess runoff.
- Report pollutants such as debris and chemicals that you see in stormwater runoff or tracked into roads.
- Install innovative stormwater practices on your property such as rain barrels or rain gardens.
- Report any discharges from stormwater outfalls during dry weather--this is a sign that there could be a problem with the stormwater system.
- Pick up after pets and dispose of their waste properly, even on your own property.
- Store materials that could pollute stormwater indoors and use containers that do not rust or leak for outdoor storage.
Can I Appeal My Fee?
All properties in the Borough must pay a Stormwater Assessment Fee. However, a property owner who believes that the impervious area calculation and/or the classification of their property is incorrect may file an appeal with the Borough. An appeals form can be obtained by clicking the link below, or from the Borough Office. Further instructions can be obtained at the Borough Office.
Myerstown Borough Stormwater Assessment Fee Appeal Form
How can I learn more about Stormwater Runoff, MS4s, and Pollutant Reduction Plans?
Visit any of the following websites:
General Information about Stormwater Regulations in our Community
What is MS4 and Frequently Asked Questions
EPA Website – Stormwater Discharges from MS4s
NPDES – Stormwater Discharges from Municipal Sources
EPA Water Homepage
EPA Stormwater Outreach Materials & Reference Documents
EPA - Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
DEP - Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
Lebanon County Stormwater Information
Erosion and Sedimentation Control
Lebanon County Clean Water Alliance
Resources for Homeowners
Homeowner Guide to Make Your Property Bay Friendly
Polluted Runoff Information
Lebanon County Conservation District
Lebanon County Clean Water Alliance
What You Can Do
Car Washing and Stormwater Pollution Prevention
Leaking Oil from Cars to Street
Lawn and Garden – Reducing Runoff Tips
The Document Center provides easy access to public documents. Click on one of the categories below to see related documents or use the search function.
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Stormwater Management8 documents
- Myerstown MS4 Permit 2018-2023 (NPDES Permit No. PAG133703) PAG-13 - Authorization to Discharge Under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) Approval of Coverage - NPDES Permit No. PAG133703
- Myerstown MS4 Permit 2013-2018 (NPDES Permit No: PAG133703) PAG-13 - Authorization to Discharge Under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Small Munipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) Approval of Coverage - NPDES Permit No. PAG133703
- Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Links of interest
- When It Rains - It Drains (click for brochure)
- Carwash Poster (click for poster)
- Oilslick Poster (click for poster)
- Petwaste Poster (click for poster)
- Borough of Myerstown MS4 Program (click for Program)