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When it rains, snows or sleets in Arkansas, where does that water go?  Does it soak into the ground?  Does it sit in puddles until it evaporates?  The water actually does both of those things, but some of the water will also flow over the land surface, heading downhill to the nearest ditch or stream. In cities and towns, the water cannot soak in through the pavement, rooftops, and concrete like it can into the soil.  This means that there’s more stormwater runoff in cities and that in forests and fields. The water flows off impervious surfaces such as driveways, rooftops, sidewalks, and parking lots, and usually flows straight into a storm drain. These openings along roads and in parking lots connect to pipes which carry the water directly to your local stream or lake. This is called stormwater runoff.

To preserve, protect and improve our water resources from polluted stormwater runoff, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires that jurisdictions (such as cities, counties, universities, military bases, etc.) with “urbanized areas” must obtain permit coverage to better manage their stormwater runoff.

In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) is charged with regulatting stormwater pursuant to the Clean Water Act (CWA). The goal of the CWA is to restore all “Waters of the United States” to their “fishable” and “swimmable” conditions. Under the CWA, point source discharges to “Waters of the United States” require National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. To address the nationwide problem of stormwater pollution, Congress broadened the CWA definition of “point source” in 1987 to include industrial stormwater discharges and municipal separate storm sewer systems (“MS4”). These facilities were required to obtain NPDES permits. This 1987 expansion was promulgated in two phases: Phase I and Phase II. Phase I required that all municipalities of 100,000 persons or more, industrial dischargers, andconstruction sites of 5 acres (20,000 m2) or more have NPDES permits for their stormwater discharges. Phase I permits were issued in much of the U.S. in 1991. Phase II required that all municipalities, industrial dischargers, construction sites of 1 acre (4,000 m2) or more, and other large property owners (such as universities) have NPDES permits for their stormwater discharges. Phase II rules came into effect in 2003.

EPA has authorized the State of Arkansas (ADEQ) to issue NPDES permits.In addition to implementing the NPDES requirements, many states and local governments have enacted their own stormwater management laws and ordinances, and some have published stormwater treatment design manuals.It is not uncommon for state agencies to revise their requirements and impose them upon counties and cities; permitting for construction sites.

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.  It can carry many pollutants, including leaves, sediment, oil and other hydrocarbons, that are a major cause of pollution in our rivers, creeks, bayous, and lakes.

Why is Stormwater 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.

City of Pine Bluff Stormwater

City of Pine Bluff Code of Ordinances – CHAPTER 28 ARTICLE IV. – STORMWATER REGULATIONS

What is an Illicit Discharge or Connection?
How Do I Spot an Illicit Discharge or Connection?

Illegal discharge hotline number: 870-730-2020

Like to know more about Stormwater?

UAEX – Jefferson County Extension Office

Southeast Arkansas Stormwater Education Facebook Page

EPA – Water : After the Storm