A National Review of Innovative and Integrated Stormwater Management Initiatives

Authors:

  • Liza Faber - Hazen and Sawyer
  • Pinar Balci - NYCDEP

The Innovative and Integrated Stormwater Management report compiles data from 34 communities/utilities, jointly interviewed by Hazen and DEP, about their stormwater/MS4-related programs and the synergies with water and wastewater programs.

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) owns and operates one of the largest wastewater and stormwater collection systems in the world including a combined sewer system and a separate sewer system; of which both contribute to the water quality of surrounding waterbodies. The City is currently working to comply with the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) Municipal Separate Stormwater Sewer System (MS4) Permit recently issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

Parallel with compliance of the SPDES MS4 Permit, DEP reviewed their overall stormwater program to leverage the current successful initiatives and refine the overall approach to more effectively comply with the regulatory requirements. DEP is developing their first Stormwater Management Plan and associated programs in response to the SPDES MS4 Permit using information and lessons learned from communities with a long history of complying with similar requirements. DEP examined national and international stormwater programs to enhance their understanding, refine their approach, and move forward with proven solutions for a city-wide stormwater program that is both integrated and innovative.

The Innovative & Integrated Stormwater Management report is a cumulation of DEP’s examination of national and international stormwater programs, including 34 communities across four countries, and three regional municipalities. The effort included vital data sharing and important discussions between New York City and the participating communities across nineteen topics, all related to stormwater. The conversations included lessons-learned, challenges, and experiences with NPDES MS4 compliance, Consent Decree compliance, flood reduction programs, and other integrated stormwater management initiatives.

The data collected was analyzed and formatted into this report to facilitate quick-access stormwater program decision making and implementation. The results showed that programs such as public education, public participation, illicit discharge elimination, stormwater structural controls and stormwater monitoring were actively implemented by all the surveyed communities with techniques of implementation varying in response to local conditions. Other programs, such as source water protection, floodplain management, and climate change, varied in degree of implementation and financial investment to a greater degree because local drivers play a more critical role in determining the need and required level of development. Insights from this effort are informing the future development of DEP’s programs to be proactive in stormwater management in an innovative and integrated manner. Other municipalities may also use the trends reported to develop new programs and advance current programs. The report allows municipalities to view wholistic stormwater program information for a diverse set of drivers, challenges, regulations, and conditions.

For more information, please contact the author at lfaber@hazenandsawyer.com.

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