In the United States, raw sewage overflows and inadequately controlled stormwater discharges from municipal sewer systems sending a variety of harmful pollutants, disease causing organisms, metals and nutrients that threaten our communities’ water quality. This can also cause beach and shellfish bed closings, stream flooding along with basement backups of sewage. Through the Clean Water Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had a goal by the end of 2016 to visit 213 systems addressing large combined sewer systems with untreated sewage overflows. Large municipal combined sewer systems are those serving a population > 50,000 people. At FY 2016, they had visited 203 systems. They also had a goal to address large sanitary sewer systems with untreated sewage overflow. The goal was to visit 1103 systems by FY 2016. They’ve completed 964 systems. Large municipalities whose sanitary sewer systems produce > 10 million gallons per day (mgd) of waterwater.
It is imperative those working on construction projects or with situations that can impede water drainage or sewer drainage, special preventive measures are taken to ensure responsibility is shown to prevent harmful pollutants from threatening a community’s water quality. Pavement and roofs prevent rain from naturally soaking into the ground. Therefore, the water runs off into storm drains, sewer systems and drainage ditches. This can cause the following
- Downstream flooding
- Stream bank erosion
- Increased turbidity (muddiness created by stirred up sediment) from erosion
- Habitat destruction
- Combined storm and sanitary sewer system overflows
- Infrastructure damage
- Contaminated streams, rivers and coastal water
On October 27, 2016, EPA’s Green Infrastructure Program released a draft guide, toolkit and technical assistance promoting a comprehensive, community planning approach to managing stormwater. These are community solutions for voluntary long-term stormwater planning. This toolkit will include technical and financing resources to walk communities through the long-term stormwater planning process provided in the Community Solutions for the Stormwater Management Guide.
The EPA is developing long-term stromwater plans to serve as a national model in the following areas:
- Burlington, Iowa
- Chester, Pennsylvania
- Hattiesburg, Mississippi
- Rochester, New Hampshire
- Santa Fe, New Mexico
The EPA hopes early and effective stormwater planning and management will provide a significant impact for long-term cost savings while supporting human health and water quality.
HB NEXT provides compliance training and management services for stormwater projects. Understanding the challenges and the solutions for stormwater is critical to keeping your project on track and under budget. Contact HB NEXT today for more information.
Source: United States Environmental Protection Agency Enforcement and Planning Division