Storm Water Permit for Municipal Storm Sewer Systems

 

Polluted storm water runoff is often transported to MS4s and ultimately discharged into local rivers and streams without treatment. The federal Clean Water Act, through the development of national Storm Water regulations, establishes an MS4 storm water management program. This program is intended to improve surface water quality by reducing the quantity of pollutants that storm water picks up and carries into storm sewer systems during storm events. Common pollutants include oil and grease from roadways and parking lots, pesticides from lawns, sediment from construction sites, and carelessly discarded trash, such as cigarette butts, paper wrappers, and plastic bottles. When deposited into nearby waterways through MS4 discharges, these pollutants can impair the waterways, thereby discouraging recreational use of the resource, contaminating drinking water supplies, and interfering with habitat for fish, other aquatic organisms, and wildlife.

 

 As a result of new federal regulations, referred to as the Phase II Storm Water Rule, for storm water discharges from small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), certain small municipalities are required to obtain a storm water permit for their system.

 

What is an MS4?

A small MS4 is defined as a separate storm sewer system that is: owned or operated by a federal, state, city, town, county, association, district, sanitary district, or other public body with jurisdiction over the disposal of sewage, industrial wastes, or other wastes; and is located in an incorporated place that serves a population of less than 100,000 or that is located in one or more counties with unincorporated urbanized populations serving less than 100,000. This term includes systems similar to separate storm sewer systems in municipalities, such as systems at military bases, large hospital or prison complexes, and highways and other thoroughfares. The term does not include separate storm sewers in very discrete areas, such as individual buildings.

 

Who Must Apply for a Municipal Storm Water Permit?

Small MS4s meeting the following criteria must obtain a storm water discharge permit for their system: 

 

  • Small MS4s located in an urbanized area *.  

  • Small MS4s which serve a population of at least 10,000 people.  

  • Small MS4s designated by the Secretary as needing coverage. 

 

* The Bureau of the Census determines urbanized areas by applying a detailed set of published criteria to the latest census data. Although the full definition of an urbanized area is complex, the Bureau of Census’ general definition is “a land area comprising of one or more places and the adjacent densely settled surrounding area that together have a residential population of at least 50,000 and an overall population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile.” Systems located in an urbanized area but serving a population less than 1,000 people may be waived from the permit requirements.

 

Storm Water Management Program

As part of the storm water permit, you must develop and implement a Storm Water Management Program. In your program, you must address, at a minimum, the following control measures:

 

  1. Public education and outreach;

  2. Public participation/involvement;

  3. Illicit discharge detection and elimination;

  4. Construction site storm water runoff control;

  5. Post-construction storm water management; and,

  6. Pollution prevention/good housekeeping for municipal operations.

 

How do I get coverage under the Small MS4 Permit?

In South Dakota, DENR has issued the General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s). A general permit is a permit for a specific activity issued throughout the state. The permit covers anyone meeting the conditions of the general permit. There is no fee for this permit. An application package must be submitted to DENR and must include a complete Notice of Intent form, a map of the area served by the MS4, and a summary of the Storm Water Management Program that will be developed and implemented.  

 

You should make sure to read and understand the conditions of the permit. You may download an electronic version below or obtain a hard copy by contacting DENR.

 

  • Copy of the General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems and an application form for obtaining coverage under the permit. 
    View and Print or Complete Online and Print

 

DENR has additional information to help you:

 

  • The federal storm water permitting rules adopted by the state;

  • Additional guidance materials to help you develop your program; and

  •  Phase II Municipal Guidance Manual.

 

You may obtain more information about requirements for storm water discharges from small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems by contacting Doug Baldwin at (605) 394-2229 or requirements for storm water discharges associated with construction activities by contacting William Marcouiller at 1-800-SD-STORM (1-800-737-8676) or industrial activities by calling (605) 773-3351.