STORMWATER PROGRAM To assure the safety and quality of drinking water, the Environmental Protection Agency requires all municipalities to provide a program to improve the quality of stormwater runoff. Stormwater consists of runoff from roads, roofs, sidewalks, and other impervious surfaces when it rains. It often carries pollutants like oil, grass clippings, fertilizer, and other debris into our drinking water supply.
The EPA does not provide money to fund this mandated stormwater program. The City of Lowell is proposing a stormwater fee to fund the stormwater program to be compliant with these regulations and safeguard our community through improving drainage systems and improving stormwater runoff pollution.
OUR STATE STORMWATER PERMIT
The City of Lowell is required to maintain a permit with the State to manage our stormwater program. Our permit is to discharge untreated stormwater runoff into creeks, rivers, and lakes and is part of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES.) The permitting program was established under the federal Clean Water Act.
AS PART OF THE NPDES PERMIT THE CITY OF LOWELL MUST FOLLOW THESE SIX MINIMUM MEASURES:
Public Education & Outreach Distributing educational materials and performing outreach to inform citizens about the impacts polluted stormwater runoff discharges can have on water quality.
Public Participation & Involvement Providing 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.
Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination 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 one or more acres of land (controls could include silt fences and temporary stormwater detention ponds). Lowell has delegated the authority of this program to Gaston County.
Post-Construction Runoff Control Developing, implementing, and enforcing a program to address discharges of post-construction stormwater 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, reduction in the use of pesticides or street salt, or frequent catch-basin cleaning).