The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) is overseeing a federally mandated program to control stormwater runoff and protect waterways.
Permits are required for stormwater discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) in urbanized areas and for construction activities disturbing one or more acres. As such, the County is required to develop a comprehensive stormwater management program.
What is Stormwater?
Stormwater is excess rain or snowmelt that does not soak into the ground. You can see it in gutters and roadside ditches. Typically in more urban and dense areas stormwater runoff for roofs, parking lots and other impervious areas is collected in catch basins and piped to an outfall.
The management of stormwater involves transporting this water from urbanized areas to the creeks and rivers that receive this water. It is important to note that stormwater is not treated in a sewage treatment plant. The quality and quantity of runoff is affected by a variety of factors depending on the season, local meteorology, geography and activities taking place along the path of its flow. All of the pollutants found on the ground in the runoff area are washed away by the stormwater and go into our waterways and lakes. These pollutants can include petrol, oil, grease, salt, pesticides, fertilizer, other chemicals, sediment, garden and landscape waste, animal waste and litter. The pollutants can endanger the water quality of our waterways, making them unhealthy for people, fish, and wildlife. The roadways should be treated as if they were streams, creeks and rivers as that is where the waterways really seem to start.
Why is Stormwater a Problem?
When it rains, water washes over streets, driveways, parking lots and land surfaces. Along the way, it can pick up a variety of pollutants, such as the ones listed above. The polluted stormwater drains into the storm system that eventually discharges into our streams, rivers and then into our lakes. The pollutants can endanger the water quality of our waterways, making them unhealthy for fish, wildlife and people.
The County has designated the Highway Superintendent as their designated stormwater contact. For more information on the stormwater requirements please contact the Highway Department at 315-366-2221. The County Highway Department should be contacted for construction related stormwater questions or if you see any sources of stormwater pollution. Check out the links provided for additional information.