Stormwater is the precipitation that falls on roofs, lawns, and paved areas and is carried away by a system of stormwater pipes, culverts, and ditches. Collectively, the draining water is called stormwater runoff.
Uncontrolled stormwater runoff is the leading cause of impairment to our local waterways and the number one cause of water pollution throughout the United States. Stormwater runoff can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt (yes, excess dirt in our waterways is a pollutant), pet waste, and other pollutants which then flow into a storm sewer system or directly into a stream completely untreated.
Everyone can do their part using these Everyday Tips to Reduce Stormwater Pollution.
Stormwater Management Plans
Stormwater is an important water resource that provides groundwater recharge for water supplies and the baseflow of streams. The Township is required by both Federal and State regulations to reduce the adverse impacts from stormwater runoff by ensuring that construction projects large and small are designed, constructed, and maintained in a manner that minimizes impacts of new development, redevelopment, and other earth disturbance activities that may cause accelerated runoff and erosion.
Whenever your project results in earth disturbance, an increase in impervious surface and / or a change in stormwater runoff, you may be required to prepare a Stormwater Management Plan. The Township Engineer will determine what type of plan, if any, is required for your project. For smaller projects, submit your building or other permit and then the Engineer will inform you if the project requires a Stormwater Plan. Large projects will require a full plan while a small or agricultural project may require a simplified plan or none at all. Stormwater applications may be found on the Construction and Demolition Permit Applications page.
Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4)
Honey Brook Township is required to develop and implement a stormwater management program and obtain various permits approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants to meet runoff requirements established by the Federal Clean Water Act. The Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) is one of these programs, and like other State or Federal unfunded mandates, the Township receives no funding to help with the added expense for the planning and implementation of the program.
The MS4 program regulates discharges from the Township’s system of stormwater conveyances including storm drains, pipes, ditches, and outfalls that drain into our streams, ponds, and lakes. The program incorporates the six minimum control measures, listed below, which are designed to reduce contaminated stormwater runoff.
1. Public Education and Outreach:
Distribute educational materials and perform outreach to inform citizens about the impacts polluted stormwater runoff discharges can have on water quality. Here are some resources:
- Stormwater survey
- Click here for the Stormwater Ordinance
- Visit the Newsletter page for articles about stormwater
- Visit the Penn State Extension website
- Why Should I Care About Stormwater?
- Protecting Water Quality from Urban Runoff
- After the Storm – A Citizen’s Guide
- A Roadside Guide to Clean Water
2. Public Participation and Involvement:
Provide opportunities for citizens to participate in program development and implementation, including effectively publicizing public hearings and / or encouraging citizen representatives on a stormwater management panel. Here are just a few ways to get involved:
- Household Hazardous Waste Collection (generally April through October each year)
- Brandywine Conservancy (stream cleanups & more)
- Christina Watersheds Municipal Partnership (webinars about rain barrels, rain gardens, stormwater-friendly lawn care, and more)
3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination:
Develop and implement a plan to detect and eliminate illicit discharges to the storm sewer system. Illicit Discharges are defined by federal regulations as any discharge to the storm sewer system that is not composed entirely of stormwater. There are exceptions to this rule such as firefighting activities, landscape irrigation, foundation drains, water from crawl space pumps, etc. Sources of illicit discharges and contact information are below.
- Sanitary wastewater spill – call the Northwestern Chester County Municipal Authority (610) 273-2265.
- Failing septic systems – call the Chester County Health Department (610) 344-6688 or (610) 344-6526.
- Car wash wastewater – call Honey Brook Township (610) 273-3970 or PA DEP (484) 250-5900.
- Improper oil disposal – call Honey Brook Township (610) 273-3970 or PA DEP (484) 250-5900.
- Improper radiator flushing disposal -- call Honey Brook Township (610) 273-3970 or the PA DEP (484) 250-5900.
- Spills from roadway accidents – call Honey Brook Township (610) 273-3970 or PA DEP (484) 250-5900.
- Erosion or discharge of sediment in stormwater during site construction – call Honey Brook Township (610) 273-3970 or the Chester County Conservation District (610) 696-5126.
- Improper disposal of household hazardous waste or improper use of pesticides and herbicides, etc. – call Honey Brook Township (610) 273-3970 or PA DEP (484) 250-5900.
These types of illicit discharges drain directly to the streams and may be loaded with a large amount of harmful and toxic substances. When pollutants enter the aquatic system, the water quality is degraded, and both human health and wildlife are threatened.
4. Construction Site Runoff Control:
Develop, implement, and enforce an erosion and sediment control program for construction activities that disturb one or more acres of land (controls could include silt fences and temporary stormwater detention ponds). The Chester County Conservation District regulates such activities. (610) 696-5126.
5. Post-Construction Runoff Control:
Develop, implement, and enforce a program to address discharges of post-construction stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopment areas. The Stormwater Ordinance, Chapter 20 in the Township Code of Ordinances, outlines this program.
6. Pollution Prevention / Good Housekeeping:
Develop and implement a program with the goal of preventing or reducing pollutant runoff from municipal operations. The Public Works department is responsible for this program at the Township facilities at 495 and 500 Suplee Road.