As authorized by the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of U.S. states. The NPDES Stormwater Program regulates some stormwater discharges from three potential sources: industrial activities, construction activities, and municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s). This permitting mechanism is designed to prevent stormwater runoff from washing harmful pollutants into local waters. The primary goal of Erie Conservation District’s Stormwater Program is to help our communities understand and meet NPDES small MS4 permit requirements through the minimum control measures set forth within it.
Public Education (GREEN Bike Tour)
Assisting communities meet their Public Education goals, we offer unique events like the GREEN Bike Tour. Locals come join in a FREE Bike Tour held in May (Huron) and September (Sandusky) in downtown cities. The tour shows off innovative stormwater management systems that not only look beautiful, but improve local water quality, too!
Illicit Discharge (Outfall Monitoring)
We assist communities with field work required under the NPDES Small MS4 permit by monitoring storm sewer outfalls in ditches, creeks, or on the Bay/Lake during dry seasons. If a flow is observed in dry weather, we work with the community and Health Department to identify the source as it could be an illicit connection of sanitary going into the storm system.
Construction Inspections (SWPPP Inspections)
The District provides SWPPP reviews and monthly oversight inspections on active construction projects. These inspections focus on sediment and erosion controls, good housekeeping practices, and the overall effectiveness of preventing sediment and other pollutants from leaving the construction site. Working with contractors to ensure they are doing what is required of them to protect water quality can be a tough job! However, positive communication with the local construction crews has increased over the years and the proof is in the number of job sites in compliance.
Municipal Good Housekeeping (Trainings for MS4 Staff)
Under the Small MS4 Permit, the EPA requires annual training of MS4 staff on good housekeeping and pollution prevention practices in and around municipal-owned facilities. The District identifies the needs for training topics and coordinates putting these trainings on. Training topics range from proper spill clean-up procedures, illicit discharge plans, proper material storage, and sensible salting.
Clean Water Contractor (Annual Sediment & Erosion Control Expo for the Construction Industry)
The Clean Water Contractor Program is a partnership between Erie Conservation District and Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Research Reserve. The program is a voluntary educational program provided to site contractors and primarily focuses on stormwater regulations for active construction sites under Ohio EPA’s Construction General Permit. The Program seeks to publicly recognize those companies who pledge annually to be better stewards on their job sites. 53 companies were certified in 2023.