Storm Water Facts

The MS4 Annual Progress Report

is available for viewing in the lobby at

Borough Hall, 1401 Laubach Avenue, Northampton, PA

STORMWATER UPDATE AUGUST 2018

The Borough of Northampton has had a federally mandated stormwater program (MS4) for 20 years.  Up to this point, public awareness and education have been the primary focus of the program.  In 2017, a new MS4 permit was issued and mandated.  The Borough must reduce the amount of solids which are conveyed to the Lehigh River by over 100,000 pounds per year.  This reduction project must be completed by 2023.  The Borough, along with our engineers, is currently looking at various options such as storm retention pond modifications and stream restoration to accomplish this goal.  The design, permitting, and construction of this project is estimated at $250,000.  If anyone in the public wants additional information or would like to be involved or participate in the MS4 program, please contact the Borough office at 610-262-2576.

Scott Gillespie

Stormwater Coordinator

STORMWATER UPDATE OCTOBER 2016

The Borough of Northampton has been involved with stormwater issues since the mid 1990's.  Since 2002, we have been involved with the USEPA/PADEP STORMWATER PROGRAM (MS4).  The program up to this point, has been mainly administrative and public information oriented.  However, with a new permit cycle approaching, the rules and regulations have changed.  It is estimated that in the next five (5) years, costs could exceed over $200,000.  Costs include mapping, engineering and legal fees and maintenance and equipment additions.  These rules apply nationwide.  To help pay for this unfunded federal mandate, some towns have created stormwater authorities or created a new tax.  Within the next year, the Borough will be making these types of decisions.  Any questions concerning this program can be directed to 610-262-2576 or 610-262-6131.

Scott Gillespie

Stormwater Coordinator

Did You Know?  A sewer system and a storm drain system are not the same.  These two systems are completely different.  The water that goes down a sink or toilet in your home or business flows to a wastewater treatment plant where it is treated and filtered. Water that flows down driveways and streets and into a gutter goes into a storm drain which flows directly to a lake, river or the ocean. This water may pick up pollutants along the way which are never treated.  Storm drains do not remove pollutants and were designed for the specific purpose of draining water from sidewalks and streets.  Less than 1% of the water on the earth can actually be used by human beings. 
What is Stormwater Runoff? Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent stormwater runoff from naturally soaking into the ground.  Unlike the water that goes down your drain to the sewer, water that flows into storm drains is not treated and filtered for pollutants.  This contaminated water flows into canals, into streams and lakes, then ends up in the ocean.  Everything other than pure rain water is a potential contaminant that degrades water quality.  It's very important that you help prevent contaminants from flowing into storm drains and never pour anything into them.  Intentionally pouring water and pollutants into street gutters and storm drains is dangerous to the environment and is also illegal.
Why is Storm Water Runoff a Problem? Stormwater can pick up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants and flow into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing and providing drinking water.
What is Storm Water Pollution? Storm water is the water that runs down the street when it's raining.  Storm water runs through storm drains in the gutter.  Water that flows down the street when it's NOT raining, like when you wash your car or water your lawn, is called urban runoff.​  Storm drains do not remove pollutants and were designed for the specific purpose of draining water from sidewalks and streets.
Polluted stormwater often affects drinking water sources.  This, in turn, can affect human health and increase drinking water treatment costs.
An average family of four in the United States uses approximately 107,000 gallons of water a year.
 
Waste from household repairs can pollute our water.  Contractors and service people must properly dispose of chemicals and water used during their work.  Make sure contractors you hire dispose of chemicals properly.  Request that they use non-toxic products.
 
8 Water Pollution Facts for the U.S.
 
  • We all live in a watershed.  What you do on your property affects our water, even if you don't live near water.  A watershed is an area of land which drains to the lowest point, usually a stream or river.  Anything you place in storm drains goes directly into lakes, rivers & streams.
  • Water from rain, storm drains and ditches flows directly into our rivers and lakes with little or no treatment.  Storm drains and ditches are DIFFERENT than sewers.  They are NOT CONNECTED to a treatment plan.
  • Small amounts of contaminants from all over the land add up to cause pollution in our water.  Yes, even the little things matter.  You WILL make a difference, no matter how small, if you change the way you do some things.
  • Soap from washing your car at home pollutes.  Soap and dirt from washing your car flows through our storm drains and ditches and end up in our rivers and lakes untreated.  Wash your car at a commerical car wash, on the grass or on a graveled area.
  • Oil and antifreeze from leaking cars pollutes.  When it rains, water runs over the ground and picks up oil, antifreeze, and other pollutants and carries them to our streams and bays.  Put a drip tray under your car to catch car leaks.  Fix car leaks.
  • 80 percent of water pollution is caused due to domestic sewage like throwing garbage on open ground and water bodies.  Don't be a litterbug, dispose of all trash properly.
  • 40% of the rivers and 46% of the lakes in America are polluted and are considered unhealthy for swimming, fishing or aquatic life.
  • U.S. EPA estimates that every year in the United States, 1.2 trillion gallons of sewage from household, industry and restaurants are dumped into U.S. waters annually.