MS4 Program Information

State/County/Federal Links:
MCM#1 Public Education and Outreach Program (PEOP)

Objective is to create a public education program that distributes information related to Stormwater and the MS4 Program mandated by EPA and PA DEP. It shall be designed to improve the public's understanding of the causes and impacts of stormwater pollution and the steps they can take to prevent it. Please check Lower Swatara Township's Stormwater Page, Township Newsletter, and the Township Building for articles, pamphlets, and flyers that include stormwater information and Lower Swatara Township's stormwater management activities. 

From EPA NPDES National Menu Best Management Practices

Stormwater runoff is generated from many different land surfaces and is impacted by the behaviors and activities of individuals, households, and the public. These common individual behaviors have the potential to generate stormwater pollution including:

  • Littering
  • Disposing of trash and recyclables
  • Disposing of pet-waste
  • Applying lawn-chemical
  • Washing cars
  • Changing motor-oil
  • Disposing leftover paint and household chemicals

Convincing others to change their behaviors and properly dispose of materials can control such pollution. It is important that the public be aware of the significance of their behavior and that their actions can either pollute or protect our waterways.

Phase II MS4s are required to educate our community on the pollution potential of common activities, and increase awareness of the direct links between land activities, rainfall-runoff, storm drains and their local water resources. The education programs must include clear guidance on steps and specific actions to be taken to reduce stormwater pollution-potential.

The benefits of public education efforts cannot be understated, especially on topics such as "nonpoint source" or "stormwater" pollution.

MCM#2 Public Involvement and Participation Program (PIPP)

Objective is to implement and maintain a program that describes various types of participation activities and methods for encouraging the public's involvement and input for stormwater projects. Public input can be provided for stormwater management ordinances, standard operating procedures (SOPs) and the Pollutant Reduction Plan (PRP) including any modifications that may come to rise. We also provide involvement and participation opportunities to target audiences developed from MCM #1.

From EPA NPDES National Menu Best Management Practices

Encouraging community participation, forming partnerships, and combining efforts of other groups n the community will encourage everyone to work towards the same stormwater goals. Public involvement builds on community capital -- the wealth of interested citizens and groups -- to help spread the message to: 

  • prevent stormwater pollution
  • undertake group activities that highlight storm drain pollution
  • contribute volunteer community actions to restore and protect local water resources

Phase II MS4s are required to follow all state, tribal, and local public notice requirements when implementing their stormwater program. Public involvement also includes creating opportunities for direct action, educational, and volunteer programs such as tree planting days, volunteering monitoring programs, storm drain marking, or stream clean-up programs. 

MCM# Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDD&E)

Objective is to implement and maintain a program which can be used with public cooperation and township staff to detect and eliminate illicit discharges entering into the regulated small MS4s. Areas of higher likelihood of illicit discharges, illicit connections,or illegal dumping are considered areas of priority, as well as, older infrastructure, a concentration of high-risk activities, or past history of water pollution problems. Field screening is also a core area of MCM #3, where screenings are conducted during periods of dry weather for non-stormwater flows, and sampling of these dry weather discharges or selected chemicals and biological parameters help to identify illicit discharges. 

From EPA NPDES National Menu Best Management Practices

In general, illicit discharges include any discharge into a storm drain system that is not entirely composed of stormwater. The exceptions include water from firefighting activities and discharges from facilities already under an NPDES permit. Illicit discharges are a problem because, unlike wastewater, which flows to a treatment plant, stormwater generally flows to waterways without any treatment. Illicit discharges often contain pathogens, nutrients, sediment, and various toxic pollutants.

Phase II MS4s are required to develop a program to detect and eliminate these illicit discharges. This primarily includes developing:

  • storm sewer system map
  • an ordinance prohibiting illicit discharges
  • a plant to detect and address these illicit discharges
  • an education program on the hazards associated with illicit discharges

An effective illicit discharge program needs to be both reactive and proactive. The program is reactive in addressing spills and other illicit discharges to the storm drain system that are found. The program must also be proactive in preventing and eliminating illicit discharges through education, training, and enforcement. 

MCM#4 Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control

Please see plan and submission requirements checklist on the planning/zoning section. 

Objective is to reduce sediment-laden stormwater runoff from exiting construction sites. Permittees with coverage under the PAG-13 General Permit will rely on DEP's program for issuing NPDES permits for stormwater discharges associated with construction activities to satisfy this MCM. In addition, no permits shall be issued unless proper evidence of a valid NPDES Permit is presented before earth disturbance of the site. An ordinance for the implementation and maintenance of Erosion and Sediment (E&S) Control BMPs will be enacted to reduce sediment polluted stormwater runoff from construction sites. 

From EPA NPDES National Menu Best Management Practices

Uncontrolled stormwater runoff from construction sites can significantly impact our streams. Sediment in waterbodies from construction sites can reduce the amount of sunlight reaching aquatic plants, clog fish gills, smother aquatic habitat and spawning areas, and impede navigation.

In partnership with the Dauphin County Conservation District, and in association with our MS4 permit, Lower Swatara Township has a program to reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff to the MS4 for construction sites disturbing one or more acres. We have developed measures to comply with our permit:

  • an ordinance
  • requirements to implement erosion and sediment control best management practices (BMPs)
  • requirements to control other waste at the construction site
  • procedures for reviewing construction site plans
  • procedures to receive and consider information submitted by the public
  • procedures for inspections and enforcement of stormwater requirements at construction sites

Most types of construction require local permits, and construction sites disturbing one or more acre of land may require additional permits. Please contact Ann Hursh, Planning and Zoning Coordinator, for more information regarding local construction permits.

MCM#5 Post-Construction Stormwater Management

Objective is to construct stormwater management facilities during new and redevelopment projects in the Township. As areas are developed, the amount of paved surfaces increase leading to an increase in stormwater volume and pollutants, which can harm our streams. The Township has enacted a Post-Construction Stormwater Management (PCSM) Best Management Practices (BMPs) ordinance which requires the implementation and attendance of PCSM BMPs. The Township also encourages the use of Low Impact Development (LID) in new and redevelopment projects. Finally, it is crucial for the PCSM BMPs and LIDs to be constructed adequately and their relative O&M (Operations and Maintenance) be followed as per their plans. For more information of PCSM BMPs and LID Operation and Maintenance, please contact the MS4 Supervisor, Madison Smith. 

From EPA NPDES National Menu Best Management Practices

As areas are developed, the amount of paved surfaces increase leading to an increase in stormwater volume and pollutants, which can harm lakes, rivers, streams, and coastal areas.

The best way to mitigate stormwater impacts from new development is to use practices that treat, store and infiltrate runoff onsite before it can affect water bodies downstream. Innovative site designs that reduce paved surfaces, or imperviousness, and other green infrastructure practices are excellent ways to reduce flows and improve water quality.

In partnership with the Dauphin County Conservation District, and in association with our MS4 permit, Lower Swatara Township has a program to address post-construction stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopments that disturb one or more acres. The program includes:

  • strategies to implement a combination of structural and non-structural BMPs
  • an ordinance to address post-construction runoff
  • a program to ensure adequate long-term operation and maintenance of BMPs

Lower Swatara Township has been mandated by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to establish an inspection program for various stormwater features (grass swales, infiltration trench/seepage pits, rain gardens, and stormwater basins).

Inspection of these features is a required part of the Township’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit program and will begin in 2020. You may receive a notice from the Township evidence that your stormwater BMP is functioning as designed. Please cooperate with Township staff as we implement our stormwater program. Any questions, please call Madison Smith, MS4 Supervisor (717-939-9377 ext. 3036).

MCM#6 Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping

Objective is to prevent pollutants from entering the Waters of the Commonwealth through the implementation of an Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Program which includes training components to employees of the MS4. Therefore, Lower Swatara Township first focuses on preventing pollution before it happens. BMPs under each of the minimum measures, but especially under this pollution prevention category, focuses on preventing pollutants from contacting stormwater. 

Municipal activities such as winter road maintenance, minor road repairs, and other infrastructure work, automobile fleet maintenance, landscaping and park maintenance, and building maintenance can release pollutants into MS4s that ultimately discharge to nearby waterbodies. Municipal facilities can also be sources of stormwater pollutants if BMPs are not in place to contain spills, manage trash, and handle non-stormwater discharges. 

Sweeping parking lots, streets, and cleaning storm drains can prevent pollutants from entering nearby waterways.

Here is a table listing potential pollutants likely associated with specific municipal facilities.

Lower Swatara Township has staff trained to prevent and reduce stormwater pollution from activities like maintaining MS4 infrastructure and performing daily municipal activities. This primarily includes:

  • Developing inspection and maintenance procedures and schedules for stormwater BMPs
  • Implementing BMPs to treat pollutants from transportation infrastructure, maintenance areas, storage yards, sand and salt storage areas
  • Establishing procedures for properly disposing of pollutants removed from the MS4
  • Identifying ways to incorporate water quality controls into new and existing flood management projects
  • Developing a training program for all municipal staff involved in activities that could discharge pollutants to the MS4
  • Developing standard operating procedures that incorporate stormwater BMPs for common municipal activities

Contact the Public Works Department or the MS4 Supervisor with any questions or concerns.