Stormwater runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the land surface. The addition of roads, driveways, parking lots, rooftops and other surfaces that prevent water from soaking into the ground to our landscape greatly increases the runoff volume created during storms. This runoff is swiftly carried to our local streams, lakes, wetlands and rivers and can cause flooding and erosion, and wash away important habitat for critters that live in the stream. Stormwater runoff also picks up and carries with it many different pollutants that are found on paved surfaces such as sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, bacteria, oil and grease, trash, pesticides and metals. It comes as no surprise then that stormwater runoff is the number one cause of stream impairment in urban areas.
To reduce the impacts of runoff on urban streams, EPA expanded the Clean Water Act in 1987 to require municipalities to obtain permits for discharges of stormwater runoff. As a result, many communities have adopted regulations requiring developers to install stormwater management practices that reduce the rate and/or volume and remove pollutants from runoff generated on their development sites. This site provides links to a number of resources to help communities develop or improve their stormwater management programs.