Town of Niskayuna
Stormwater Management Program
What is stormwater?
Stormwater is the rainfall that flows over our yards, streets, parking lots, and buildings and either enters the stormdrain system or runs directly into a lake or stream.
What is a stormdrain?
Stormdrains are the openings you see along curbs and in streets and parking lots. They carry away rainwater and transport it through the drainage system to nearby ponds and streams, and ultimately to Mohawk River. Water and other debris that enter stormdrains do not go to a treatment facility.
What is a sanitary sewer?
A sanitary sewer takes household water and waste from toilets, sinks and showers, and transports it to a wastewater treatment facility. Sanitary sewers in Niskayuna flow to either the City of Schenectady's Waste Water Treatment Plant or to the Town of Niskayuna's Waste Water Treatment Plant.
How does stormwater get polluted?
As stormwater flows over our lawns, driveways and parking lots, it picks up fertilizers, oil, chemicals, grass clippings, litter, pet waste, and anything else in its path. The stormsewer system then transports these pollutants, now in the water, to local ponds and streams, and eventually to the Mohawk River. Anything that goes into a stormdrain eventually ends up in our waters.
What is being done to protect against stormwater pollution?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) are increasing their attention to stormwater pollution prevention in several ways. A federal regulation, commonly known as Stormwater Phase II, requires permits for stormwater discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) in urbanized areas and for construction activities disturbing one or more acres. The entire Town of Niskayuna has been classified as a MS4 community. To implement the law, the NYSDEC has issued two general permits, one for MS4’s in urbanized areas and one for construction activities. The permits are part of the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES).
On May 10, 2003, the Town of Niskayuna obtained coverage under the New York State SPDES Phase II General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from MS4s. The permit requires the Town to develop, implement, and enforce a Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants from the Town’s storm sewer system to the maximum extent possible.
The MS4 permit requires regulated municipal MS4’s to develop and fully implement a Stormwater Management Program by 2008. A written plan detailing this program can be found at the link below. The SWMP must incorporate EPA and NYSDEC required “Best Management Practices” (BMPs). Stormwater management programs must contain appropriate management practices in each of the following “Minimum Control Measure” categories. An annual report must be submitted to the NYSDEC that summarizes the past year’s progress and outlines the work to be performed in the following year.
Below are links to the Town's Stormwater Managment Program Plan and Past Annual Reports.
What is a Stormwater Management Program?
The Phase II Rule defines a MS4 Stormwater Management Program as a program comprising six elements that, when implemented in concert, are expected to result in significant reductions of pollutants discharged into receiving waterbodies.
The six MS4 program elements, termed "Minimum Control Measures," are outlined below.
Public Education and Outreach
Distributing educational materials and performing outreach to inform citizens about the impacts polluted stormwater runoff discharges can have on water quality.
Providing opportunities for citizens to participate in program development and implementation, including effectively publicizing public hearings and/or encouraging citizen input regarding the implementation of the stormwater management program.
Developing and implementing a plan to detect and eliminate illicit discharges to the storm sewer system (includes developing a system map and informing the community about hazards associated with illegal discharges and improper disposal of waste).
Construction Site Runoff Control
Developing, implementing, and enforcing an erosion and sediment control program for construction activities that disturb 1 or more acres of land (controls could include silt fences and temporary storm water detention ponds).
Post-Construction Runoff Control
Developing, implementing, and enforcing a program to address discharges of post-construction storm water runoff from new development and redevelopment areas. Applicable controls could include preventative actions such as protecting sensitive areas (e.g., wetlands) or the use of structural BMPs such as grassed swales or porous pavement.
Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping
Developing and implementing a program with the goal of preventing or reducing pollutant runoff from municipal operations. The program must include municipal staff training on pollution prevention measures and techniques (e.g., regular street sweeping, or frequent catch-basin cleaning).
Where can the public find more information on the protection of stormwater?
Stormwater educational material is available at the Niskayuna Town Hall. The information includes printed brochures and a video library on a variety of water quality topics.
The following video titles are available for loan to residents and community groups.
After the Rain: Urban Runoff:
Explores the importance of water, the pressures our cities are placing on this precious resource, and ways that individuals
can protect local drinking water supplies. The video should prove useful to anyone who is concerned about drinking water
safety and improving the natural world around us.
We All Live Downstream:
Examines urban and rural runoff and the problems it creates for America's surface and groundwater supplies.
Also offers tips that can help people reduce nonpoint source pollution in watersheds across the country.
After the Storm:
After the Storm also explains simple things people can do to protect their local watershed-such as picking up after one's dog, recycling household hazardous wastes, and conserving water. The program is intended for educational and communication purposes in classrooms, conferences, etc
Video Tapes can be borrowed from the Town of Niskayuna Department of Engineering located on the second floor of Town Hall.
The Town is currently working to obtain additional videos for the collection.
Niskayuna has created a "Virtual Library" of educational material covering water quality issues. The Virtual Library contains numerous links to on-line videos and printed material from several organizations. Click on the link below to enter the library.
For additional information please contact:
Matthew J. Yetto, P.E.
Town of Niskayuna
Dept. of Engineering