Protecting our Waters from Pollutants
When rain water hits the ground it flows over impervious surfaces like streets, parking lots, and roads. As the stormwater runs off these surfaces it runs over pollutants that are on the ground. These pollutants can be things like garbage, chemicals, dirt, or other pollutants. These pollutants are bad for human health, animal health, and the environment! If this polluted water is left untreated it often runs into streams and rivers. Because this polluted water is entering the environment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tries to regulate and decrease the amount of pollutants in the water.
During the early 1990's, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. The permit helps regulate standards for water quality and pollutants.
2013-2018 Western Washington Phase II Municipal Stormwater Permit - NPDES
The City of Tumwater's stormwater is regulated by a NPDES permit. The NPDES permit program is part of the federal Clean Water Act, which is intended to protect and restore water for "fishable and swimmable" uses. In Washington, the Washington Sate Department of Ecology (DOE) helps administer the permit. The City of Tumwater has a Phase II permit based on its population. Phase II permits cover urban areas with populations smaller than 100,000 people.
The NPDES permit allows municipalities to discharge stormwater runoff from municipal systems, like storm drains, into water bodies (like streams, rivers, lakes, wetlands, etc.) as long as municipalities implement programs to protect water quality by reducing the discharge of pollutants to the best of their ability. This means cities have to work hard to implement best management practices (BMPs) to reduce the amount of pollution entering local waterways.
The City of Tumwater's current NPDES Permit was issued by the Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) in August of 2012, and will expire July 31, 2018. The WA DOE granted an extension to the permit until July 31, 2019.
Stormwater Management Plan
The NPDES permit requires jurisdictions to develop and implement a comprehensive Stormwater Management Program (SWMP) that includes the following components:
- Public Education and Outreach
- Public Involvement and Participation
- Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
- Controlling Runoff from New Development, Redevelopment and Construction Sites
- Pollution Prevention and Operations and Maintenance for Municipal Operations
NPDES Compliance Reports and Stormwater Management Plan Reports