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Stormwater Management Policy

Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s)Car driving through flooded road

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.

When urban stormwater runoff is transported through storm storm sewer systems and discharged untreated into local waterbodies, it is a called a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4).  MS4s have storm drain systems that are separate from their "sanitary sewer" systems.  Sanitary sewers carry wastewater from homes and businesses to a municipal wastewater treatment facility before being discharged into a local waterway.

To minimize the amount of pollutants carried through their storm drain systems, Arkansas MS4 operators must be permitted through the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.  Their permits require that MS4s develop and implement a stormwater management program to address six minimum control measures that are expected to result in significant reductions of pollutants discharged into receiving waterbodies.

Six Minimum Control Measures

1) Public Education and Outreach - MS4s inform individuals and households about ways to reduce stormwater pollution.

2) Public Participation/Involvement - MS4s involve the public in the development, implementation, and review of an MS4's stormwater management program.

3) Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination - MS4s identify and eliminate illicit discharges and spills to storm drain systems.

4) Construction Site Runoff Control - MS4s and construction site operators to address stormwater runoff from active construction sites.

5) Post-Construction Runoff Control - MS4s, developers, and property owners to address stormwater runoff after construction activities have completed.

6) Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping - MS4s to address stormwater runoff from their own facilities and activities.

Extension's Role in Stormwater Management Policy

Partnerships in Benton, Washington and Jefferson Counties have been formed among the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service and city and county governments and Universities. In these areas, the Cooperative Extension Service has been contracted to carry out the Public Education and Outreach, Public Participation/Public Involvement minimum control measures along with annual municipal employee training (within the Municipal Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping minimum control measure) for local entities affected by these regulations.  For more information, click on the Programs tab above.


EPA Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Main Page

ADEQ MS4 Stormwater Permitting