Clean Water is Everybody’s Business
Whitehall Township regulates storm water management through a permit that is obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) www.depweb.state.pa.us through the National Pollution and Discharge Elimination System Phase II (NPDES)/Municipals Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). This is a federal requirement from the United States Environmental Protection Agency that is administered by the PA DEP.
Read the Homeowner's Guide to Stormwater
What is Storm Water and Why Is It So Important?
Storm water runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or a snow melt that flows over the ground, impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets, prevents it from naturally soaking into the ground.
Run-off from streets, lawns, construction, industrial sites and farms can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, oil and other pollutants and anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the waterbodies that can adversely affect our drinking water and the environment.
To protect surface water and ground water quality, urban development and household activities must be guided by plans that limit runoff and reduce pollutant loading. To this end, communities can address urban water quality problems on both a local level and watershed level and garner institutional support to help address urban runoff problems.
Many Best Management Practices (BMP’s) like infiltration or detention basins are already in place to keep our waters clean from pollutants.
What are the Urban Area Runoff Problems?
Increased Runoff. The porous and varied terrain off natural landscapes like forests, wetlands, and grasslands trap rainwater and snowmelt and allow it to slowly filter into the ground. In contrast to developed nonporous urban landscapes like roads, bridges, parking lots, and buildings which don’t let runoff slowly seep into the ground. This water remains above the surface, accumulates, and then runs off in large amounts. A one acre of paved surface generates 27,000 gallons of runoff with an inch of rain.
Increased Pollutant Loads. Urbanization also increases the variety and amount of pollutants transported to receiving waters. Sediment from development and new construction such as oil, grease; toxic chemicals from automobiles; nutrients and pesticides from turf management and gardening; viruses and bacteria from failing septic systems; road salts; and heavy metals are all examples of pollutants generated in urban areas.
Report Storm water Pollution by calling the Township at 610-437-5524, extension 139. If you witness suspicious dumping or leakage into storm drains, call 911 and take photos, if possible.
What is NPDES?
The NPDES permit program addresses water pollution by regulating nonpoint/point source discharges that contribute pollutants to the waters of the United States and the Commonwealth.
Created in 1972 the Clean Water Act followed by the NPDES permit program was authorized to state governments by EPA to perform permitting, administrative, and enforcement aspects of the program.
Whitehall Township’s participation in the NPDES program is required and is dedicated to making the streams and rivers clean as possible for future generations by enacting the parameters set forth in the permit.
The following information is available if you wish to better understand the efforts of the Clean Water Act. It also includes tips and if you would like to help contribute to cleaner water.
Impacts associated with water pollution and poor runoff management:
For more information on understanding storm water, visit www.epa.gov
and look for articles about storm water in the Township newsletter.