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MS4 is an acronym for a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System. An MS4 is defined as a collection and conveyance system or a group of collection and conveyance systems owned, operated and maintained by a state, city, township, borough or other public entity that is dedicated solely for the handling of stormwater runoff and discharging it into tributaries, streams, rivers, or other natural or man-made receiving waters within the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
The MS4 system may include such structures designated for the collection, storage and conveyance of stormwater runoff as:
Stormwater runoff is water from rainfall, snowmelt, and/or ice melt that flows over ground or impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots and rooftops) and does not percolate into the ground. Stormwater runoff may flow directly into natural tributaries, streams, rivers, lakes or other waterways within the Township or it is intercepted and collected by the Township’s municipal separate storm sewer system where it is then discharged at discrete locations (outfalls) into streams, rivers, lakes and other natural waterways.
Non-stormwater discharge is discharge into the City’s MS4 system or natural waterways that is not due directly to a rainfall or snowmelt runoff event. Non-stormwater discharge includes groundwater exfiltration, mine pool discharge, discharges from potable water sources such as fire hydrants or waterline blow-off valves, sanitary sewer discharges either from publically-owned treatment works collection systems or on-lot septic systems. Many non-stormwater discharges are prohibited under the Township’s illicit discharge and connection ordinance.
As stormwater runoff flows over lawns, roadways, parking lots, or land disturbed by construction activities, it accumulates chemicals, oils and grease, debris and litter, heat or other pollutants that contaminate and adversely affect the water quality of our natural waterways. Also, as more impervious cover is constructed or as natural vegetation is cleared and the underlying soil is compacted, more stormwater runoff is generated.
Stormwater runoff pollution can lead to deterioration of the quality of our natural waterways which are used for fishing, swimming, boating, as well as sources of our potable water supply. Increases in stormwater volume can lead to accelerated stream bank erosion and more frequent stream channel flooding which can result in damage to and loss of property as well as premature failure of roadway culverts and bridges.
As part of its MS4 permit program, the Township has implemented several actions or measures to ensure the proper handling and discharge of stormwater through its MS4 system. Such measures include:
It takes everyone to provide continual improvement to the waterways within Hempfield Township. We would hope that every person realizes that what is dumped into the Township’s MS4 system, ultimately ends up in the streams, rivers and lakes that we all care about. The following are several things each of us can do to help keep our waterways clean.