On Aug. 13, 2007, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) issued the Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) Permit authorizing storm water and certain non-storm water discharges to the city’s MS4. This affects cities with populations under 100,000 (according to the 1990 Census Bureau). Cities with populations over 100,000, such as Arlington, Dallas and Fort Worth came under Phase I rules and already have storm water programs in place.
The City of Grand Prairie submitted to the TCEQ a Notice of Intent (NOI) requesting coverage under this permit and a Storm Water Management Program (SWMP) that outlined the city’s proposed Minimum Control Measures (MCM) as follows: 1) Public Education and Outreach on Storm Water Impacts, 2) Public Involvement and Participation, 3) Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination, 4) Construction Site Storm Water Runoff Control, 5) Post-Construction Storm Water Management, and 6) Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping. Each of these MCMs lists specific Best Management Practices developed to reduce storm water pollutants discharged to the city’s MS4. This is great news for the citizens and visitors of Grand Prairie and for the environment!
The TCEQ accepted the city's NOI and SWMP, and has authorized the city to discharge stormwater associated with the Small MS4 under the terms and conditions set forth in the permit.
What is a small MS4?
A small MS4 is defined as a conveyance or system of conveyances (including streets, curbs, gutters, ditches, storm drains, etc.) that is owned by a city having jurisdiction over disposal of sewage, storm water, or other wastes, designed or used for collecting or conveying storm water, that is not a combined sewer, and that was not previously categorized as a medium or large MS4.
Why have cities implemented these programs?
Storm water quality management programs are a response to regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) connected to the federal Clean Water Act. These regulations require cities to obtain a permit under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, or in Texas’ case the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System, and to create a comprehensive program to seek out and eliminate, to the maximum extent practical, pollutants carried by storm water.
In 1972, Congress amended the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (commonly referred to as the Clean Water Act (CWA)) which prohibited the discharge of any pollutant to waters of the United States from a "point source" unless the discharge is authorized by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit. A "point source" is a single identifiable localized source of pollution such as an industry, business or a sewer system.