Solving the Stormwater Management Puzzle


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A presentation about solving stormwater management issues. Presented by Joe Costa of the Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program during the Buzzards Bay Coalition's 2014 Decision Makers Workshop series. Learn more at

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Solving the Stormwater Management Puzzle

  1. 1. Solving the Stormwater Management Puzzle Joe Costa Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program MCZM Buzzards Bay Coalition Workshop Training Decision Makers Series Keeping Clean Water in Your Community 30 April 2014
  2. 2. April 04, 2014 Headline: All of Buzzards Bay closed to shellfishing due to heavy rains "Last weekend's heavy rains have forced the closure of Buzzards Bay to harvesting shellfish. The waters of Buzzards Bay in the city of New Bedford and the towns of Westport, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, Mattapoisett, Marion, Wareham, Bourne and Falmouth no longer meet...." Misconceptions: Closures in Westport, upper Buzzards Bay, and on Cape Cod had nothing to do with sewage outfalls
  3. 3. Shellfish bed and beach closures around Buzzards Bay are often largely or mostly related to stormwater discharges We have tens of thousands of catch basins... (>20,000 + 5,300 in New Bedford) ...discharging to 1000s of pipes (>3,000 here) plus road cuts... ...into a wetlands, streams, and embayments around Buzzards Bay...
  4. 4. Why Manage Stormwater? Prior to the 1980s: Prevent flooding (get it off the street and discharge it into the nearest waterway or wetlands) Today: Still to prevent flooding (including don’t flood your neighbors property, and vice cersa), but also •prevent beach closures •open shellfish beds •restore wetlands, habitat, or protect aquatic species •comply with local, state, and federal environmental regulations to do all of the above and more
  5. 5. The closure of shellfish growing areas and supporting local efforts to manage stormwater has been a major focus of the Buzzards Bay NEP and other agencies like MA DMF.
  6. 6. And conditions have been improving in part because of DMF efforts to identify pollution sources and local efforts to reduce the volume and pollutants in stormwater and other sources. ... As well reductions in CSO discharges, DMF and the towns implementing rainfall conditional closures upgrades to wastewater plants, removal of illicit discharges, elimination of failing septic systems and cesspools, etc. Buzzards Bay NEP has contributed funds and technical assistance to this effort.
  7. 7. The main topic for this presentation During the past 20 years, many things have changed or have been put in place to better address stormwater. New MS4 Permit Enforcement Local $, other $ Political will DEP stormwater policy*, local wetland regs Planning Board Storm- water Regs Bacteria & Nitrogen TMDLs DMF sanitary surveys, DPW actions 1st MS4 Permit 2003 2009 bact Ongoing N 1996 2008 2014 Today we will discuss how EPA’s new MS4 stormwater permit might change how stormwater is managed locally, and if implemented and enforced, will further improve water quality in Buzzards Bay. * But state still only explicitly addressing TSS, local regulations need to go further (see BBNEP Unified stormwater regulations at:
  8. 8. STORMWATER MANAGEMENT IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE*! * You just need all the technical details (and regs) worked out in advance and staff and board members that can read plans. Take home message #1: I bring stormwater management in peace!
  9. 9. Take home message #2: STORMWATER MANAGEMENT IS NOT SCARY*! * It can cost a lot money, and it does take political will power.
  10. 10. Important stormwater management concept: to collect, store, treat and convey stormwater we create ... ~50% “pre-existing conditions” (Undeveloped)
  11. 11. ... can be difficult to control flow rates, volumes, and water quality because of extra water, soils, lack of land, or costs. More water to deal with because of less evaporation and transpiration. Less recharge to ground water because of impervious area and drainage pipe network vs. “Developed”
  12. 12. More stormwater volume and faster flow rates across paved surfaces and other altered landscapes means more pollution Stormwater pollutants • Bacteria • Sediment • Heavy Metals • Pesticides • Fertilizers • Hydrocarbons • Litter & debris Also: Mosquito and maintenance issues
  13. 13. Details of the first US EPA MS4 Phase 2 permits under their NPDES (national pollution discharge elimination system) 1) Originated from 1987 re-write of the Clean Water Act. Converted stormwater in urban areas from NPS to point source. 2) Regulated “MS4s” to develop, implement, and enforce a stormwater management program (MS4 = Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) 3) Largely an unfunded mandate passed down to local level by the federal government 4) In 1990, Phase I imposed similar stormwater requirements for communities over 100,000, new construction over 5 acres, and “Industrial” facilities. These requirements are still in effect. New rules covered all urbanized areas Broad Goals Included: • Reduce discharge of pollutants to water bodies • Protect water quality • Meet established (or future) water quality standards • Control stormwater discharge volume
  14. 14. Urbanized areas for municipal stormwater permits (MS4s) are defined by the US Census (EPA can expand the coverage where justified) In 2011, the urbanized areas were redefined (purple and blue areas are in MS4s permits).
  15. 15. In plain English, all those catch basins hooked up to storm water pipes discharging to wetlands and surface waters, and even road cuts, cumulatively equal your “MS4” Incidentally, Mass DOT has its own permit for the state highways. DPW garages, waste transfer stations, WWTF, and private “Industrial” sites are similarly covered under “Multi-Sector General Permits” or MSPG. Catchbasins, discharges, and the new MS4 area. Interactive map at
  16. 16. What parts of the urbanized areas must a town be concerned with? Only municipally owned streets and drainage systems (or contributors to your systems). Not state highways, private subdivisions, or commercial plazas, unless they are tied to a storm pipe or have sheet flow to your streets or storm drain systems. Hopefully towns should recognize by now that they should impose rigorous controls on new connections to municipal stormwater networks because the taxpayer will pay for managing and treating the new flows. (do this site plan review, subdivision regulations, and stormwater bylaws)
  17. 17. Discharges in MS4 areas Discharges known to BB NEP In MS4 pipe roadcut Total pipe roadcut Total Acushnet 94 25 119 51 18 69 Bourne 208 99 307 173 90 263 Carver 180 329 509 114 155 269 Dartmouth 348 227 575 200 119 319 Fairhaven 258 96 354 167 60 227 Falmouth 309 40 349 274 38 312 Marion 237 87 324 109 47 156 Mattapoisett 303 254 557 107 63 170 Plymouth 722 58 780 467 37 501 Rochester 150 166 316 10 5 15 Wareham 648 282 930 440 229 669 Westport 267 227 494 144 100 244 Grand Total 3724 1890 5614 2256 958 3214
  18. 18. Overview of MS4 Permit Requirements in 2003 In 2003, all Buzzards Bay municipalities filed a Notice of Intent (NOI) to EPA to obtain their permit. The municipalities had to develop and implement a Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP or SWPPP), generally with a Stormwater Management Committee The Buzzards Bay NEP actually drafted a model plan that a number of municipalities adopted. Municipalities had to map discharges in their municipality The Buzzards Bay NEP and BBAC collaborated to map all known near coastal discharges and catchbasins in watershed towns. Gave laptops with ArcGIS to each DPW. Municipalities had to submit annual reports to EPA on progress they were making on the SWMP In one year EPA issued fines to communities that were not submitting annual reports (about 2006), then later initiated an automatic enforcement letter program. EPA was to issue a new permit to advance of its initial expiration in 2008 or 2010.
  19. 19. Mapping Discharges: Technical assistance and support from the Buzzards Bay project and Buzzards Bay Action Committee Actually began with stormdrain stenciling project by the Coalition, to a BBNEP initiative, to a joint BBAC-BBNEP initiative. These efforts put Buzzards Bay municipalities far ahead of most municipalities in the Commonwealth for the first MS4 permits in 2003.
  20. 20. Overview of MS4 SWMP, for both 2003 and 2014 permits: Stormwater management plans had to have programs or activities to address six basic elements or “minimum control measures”: • Public education and outreach (websites, brochures, notices, stenciling, articles) • Public involvement (meetings, public notices, non-profits, committee members) • Illicit discharge detection and elimination (IDDE) • Construction Site Runoff Control (new development/redevelopment regulations, site plan review) • Post-Construction Runoff Control (local regs, inspections) • Municipal good housekeeping practices (DPW policies) Municipalities could only achieve some of the actions by involving multiple departments and regulation changes require several boards to update their stormwater regulations in a consistent way.
  21. 21. Good Housekeeping: Municipal maintenance of catch basins
  22. 22. BB NEP technical assistance to towns to draft stormwater bylaws and regulations. The primary difference between the DEP Policy and BBNEP Bylaw: Both require volume control through groundwater recharge, protecting wetland resources BBNEP requires additional volume control to treat larger volumes of stormwater, which can better meet water quality goals and also protects downstream abutters and municipal infrastructure
  23. 23. EPA’s vision of how municipal MS4 SWMP would work and evolve From the fact sheet Evaluating the Effectiveness of Municipal Stormwater Programs, EPA 833-F-07-010 Harsh realities: Municipal DPW budget and staff cuts and other demands have generally limited municipal implementation of the program. Full compliance and to meet CCMP goals over 20 years will cost over $1 billion. To see your town’s annual reports go to: 003-permit-archives.html
  24. 24. The new permit April 2014 announcement on EPA website: “EPA is currently revising the two draft Massachusetts draft permits and anticipates re-issuing a single new draft permit for all Massachusetts watersheds in Spring 2014” The previous draft North Coastal and Interstate, Merrimack, and South Coastal (JMS) Small MS4 draft permits will be combined and issued as a single Massachusetts permit . The draft was issued in 2010. See: and comments at: Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) will be issued a separate individual small MS4 permit , with a draft available in 2014. A new NOI is required to be submitted by the towns within 90 days of permit issuance by EPA and include: Location of SWMP; Status of outfall map; Status of Bylaws/Ordinances; Number of outfalls contributing to each receiving water; and Summary and assessment of 2003 SWMP. Reaction to 2010 draft at:
  25. 25. What’s New 1: Map the entire drainage network, not just outfalls Problem: Most towns in the Buzzards Bay watershed do not have a GIS program in place. Comment letters suggest a cost of many tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. “The draft permit also requires that permittees develop a detailed, accurate and comprehensive MS4 map showing all storm sewer infrastructure, the drainage area (catchment) to each outfall, and features that pose a risk of illicit discharges, such as older sanitary sewers and septic systems.”
  26. 26. What’s New 2: Moving toward compliance with TMDLs: Bacteria Discharge Standards: Illicit discharges to storm drains = 0/100ml Leaking sanitary sewer lines = 0/100ml Failing septic systems = 0/100ml Stormwater discharges SA Shellfish: geomean (Fecal Coliform) <= 14 organisms/100 ml nor shall 10% be >=28 organisms/100 ml SB Shellfish: geomean (Fecal Coliform) <= 88 organisms/100 ml nor shall 10% of the samples be >= 260 organism/100 ml FW contact geomean (Enterococci ) <= 35 colonies/100 ml and single sample <= 104 colonies per 100 ml2009 Bacteria TMDL
  27. 27. Discharges in Bacteria TMDL areas Discharges known to BB NEP In Bacteria TMDL area pipe roadcut Total pipe roadcut Grand Total Acushnet 94 25 119 5 4 9 Bourne 208 99 307 53 9 62 Carver 180 329 509 0 0 0 Dartmouth 348 227 575 19 12 31 Fairhaven 258 96 354 58 4 62 Falmouth 309 40 349 24 4 28 Marion 237 87 324 26 8 34 Mattapoisett 303 254 557 17 11 28 Plymouth 722 58 780 Not Incl. Not Incl. Not Incl. Rochester 150 166 316 0 0 0 Wareham 648 282 930 97 26 123 Westport 267 227 494 32 15 47 Grand Total 3724 1890 5614 331 93 424
  28. 28. What’s New 3: Moving toward Compliance with TMDLs: Nitrogen Discharge Standards: None Generally stormwater reaching embayments accounts for less than 15% of controllable watershed loading, often less than 10%
  29. 29. What’s New 3: Testing Discharges as part of IDDE EPA fact sheet: “Based on the draft permit, during the five-year permit term, the MS4 operator must perform at least one dry weather screening and analytical monitoring, and one wet weather analytical monitoring at each outfall [in the MS4 area]. Monitoring and screening should begin at outfalls in those catchments deemed as having the highest risk of illicit discharges.” Permit: 25 percent of the outfalls each year shall be tested. If the discharge is directly to impaired waters, or is included in a waste load allocation in an approved TMDL, the draft permit requires that dry weather discharges must also be screened for pollutants identified as causing the impairment (i.e., bacteria and nitrogen). K&P comments: “the cost for sampling and laboratory testing for 25% of the outfalls as required by the Permit is approximately $40,000 - $100,000 for communities with 200 to 700 outfalls. Other sources estimate that it will cost $60 per capita, per year to comply with the requirements of the draft Permit. Discharges in MS4 pipe roadcut Total Total B TMDL Acushnet 51 18 69 9 Bourne 173 90 263 62 Carver 114 155 269 0 Dartmouth 200 119 319 31 Fairhaven 167 60 227 62 Falmouth 274 38 312 28 Marion 109 47 156 34 Mattapoisett 107 63 170 28 Plymouth 467 37 501 Not Incl. Rochester 10 5 15 0 Wareham 440 229 669 123 Westport 144 100 244 47 Grand Total 2256 958 3214 424
  30. 30. ... and if there is a problem? if at any time the permittee becomes aware ... that a discharge causes or contributes to an exceedance of applicable water quality standards, the permittee shall within 60 days of becoming aware of the situation eliminate the conditions causing or contributing to the exceedance of water quality standards. If elimination of the conditions within 60 days is infeasible, the permittee shall document in the SWMP measures and anticipated timeframe to eliminate the conditions causing or contributing to the exceedances and shall implement those measures as soon as feasible. For illicit discharges: 30 days (Indicators: toilet paper, excrement, dye testing, video testing, or smoke testing to locate the source) Sewer overflows: elimination upon discovery.
  31. 31. Suggested timeline from fact sheet. Permit: “Each outfall shall be labeled in the field with a unique identifier. The following information shall be recorded for each outfall: dimensions, shape, material (concrete, PVC), spatial location (GPS), and physical condition. Additionally, any sensory observations shall also be recorded. Sensory observations include odor, color, turbidity, floatables, or oil sheen.”
  32. 32. Illicit and Not Illicit These are not Illicit Discharges (unless you identify them as a problem) Water line flushing, landscape irrigation, diverted stream flows, rising ground waters, uncontaminated ground water infiltration, uncontaminated pumped ground water, discharges from potable water sources, foundation drains, air conditioning condensation, irrigation water, springs, water from crawl space pumps, footing drains, lawn watering, individual residential car washing, flows from riparian habitats and wetlands, dechlorinated swimming pool discharges, and street wash water. Discharges or flows from fire fighting activities are excluded from the effective prohibition against non-storm water and need only be addressed where they are identified as significant sources of pollutants to waters of the United States. Illicit : The sewage line from a house or business is incorrectly connected to the storm system. Cross-connection between the sewer line and storm drainage system. Improper drain connected to stormwater system (from automotive service station for example). Washing machine discharging overland (because of problems with leaching field). Chlorinated water from swimming pools.
  33. 33. Stormwater retrofits See EPA fact sheet in your packet: “The 2010 draft NPDES Small MS4 general permits for Massachusetts and New Hampshire (herein referred to as the draft permits) may require the retrofitting of existing unmanaged and/or inadequately managed stormwater runoff in impaired watersheds as summarized in Table 1.” “The draft permits require an inventory and ranking of all MS4-owned properties and infrastructure for retrofit potential within two years of the effective date of the permit.” “Beginning with the third year annual report, permittees will be required to report on completed retrofit projects. Permittees are encouraged to also report non-MS4 and private sector retrofit projects.” “The primary objective for new development is to achieve a condition of pre-development hydrology. As a practical matter, this can be accomplished by preventing a discharge from the 90th percentile storm (about a one-inch rainfall event in Massachusetts ...”)
  34. 34. Rainfall Frequency Rainfall is highest in Westport and Dartmouth and lowest on Cape Cod
  35. 35. Rainfall and Climate change There are long-term cyclic patterns, but we do seem to be getting wetter (a further 10% increase over this century). So in the long run, and to more quickly achieve water quality goals, its is better to require treatment of higher stormwater volumes. For example, the 95% storm is now the standard for new federal properties. Modeled Historical New Bedford Annual Rainfall 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 1815 1865 1915 1965 2015
  36. 36. But what is the timeline and trigger for action? It will largely be driven by local permits. Consider DEP’s stormwater policy Redevelopment (DEP Standard No. 7) “Redevelopment” projects are defined as follows: Maintenance and improvement of existing roadways, including widening less than a single lane, adding shoulders, and correcting substandard intersections and drainage, and repaving; and Development, rehabilitation, expansion, and phased projects on previously developed sites, provided the redevelopment results in no net increase in impervious area.
  37. 37. The current performance standard: Redevelopment projects should meet the DEP policy and/or the BBNEP regulations to the maximum extent practicable and at a minimum, improve existing conditions. But this is will no longer be enough to meet the MS4 permits.
  38. 38. What stormwater best management practices (BMPs) to require? Rain Garden Biofilter Modified from a presentation by Robert Roseen, PE, PhD, The UNH Stormwater Center
  39. 39. Be careful interpreting reports See your hand out for this page from the UNH Stormwater Center 2012 biennial report
  40. 40. Note caveat on previous page See your hand out for this page from the UNH Stormwater Center 2012 report This effluent is measured contaminants leaching to groundwater are not
  41. 41. Stormwater treatment for Bacteria and Nutrients Modified from a presentation by Robert Roseen, PE, PhD, The UNH Stormwater Center Bacteria: infiltrate as much as you can into the ground. Phosphorus: Infiltrate as much as you can into the ground (our soils are good at capturing P under aerobic conditions) Nitrogen: Biofilters (preferably unlined) to get as much water into the ground. Sand filters remove particulate N. But there is variation in the finding in studies!!!!
  42. 42. Conventional Low Impact Functional Landscape DesignGood DrainageConventional Buzzards Bay Project will do LID workshops for Planning Boards
  43. 43. Treatment along the edge of the road through a watershed is preferable to end of the pipe solutio
  44. 44. END