What is stormwater?

Stormwater is rainwater or melted snow. Stormwater becomes runoff when it is unable to be absorbed into impervious surfaces, like streets, parking lots, and rooftops. When development happens, more stormwater runoff is generated and flows increase, ending up in creeks and waterways, rather than being filtered through the soil.  Developed areas (such as towns and cities) tend to have a lot of impervious surfaces, and these areas generate more runoff than natural ground cover like forest or grasslands.

Why is stormwater important?

As stormwater runs across impervious surfaces, it picks substances that might be on the ground such as fuels, oils, dust from brake pads, animal waste, or debris like sediment and leaves. These substances contain pollutants that are harmful to our local creeks and rivers. Too much of these pollutants can hurt aquatic wildlife, cause foul odors, and even result in human illness when we use the creeks and rivers for recreation. Keeping our stormwater clean helps keep our creeks and rivers healthy, ensuring they remain a valuable asset for us and future generations.

Additionally, if not managed properly, stormwater runoff can accumulate, flow along unintended paths, and generally cause a variety of issues. Effective management of stormwater allows for appropriate asset maintenance and long-term planning.

What is an MS4?

MS4 is an acronym for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System. The letter M stands for “Municipal” which means a local government such as a city or county. The “S4” represents the four words that start with the letter “S” (Separate Storm Sewer System). A separate storm sewer system is a collection of structures, such as pipes, ditches, and roadside inlets designed to collect stormwater and discharge it into local creeks and rivers. The word separate means it is not connected to the sanitary sewer system which collects human wastewater from inside a home and sends it to a sewage treatment facility or a private septic system.

What is an MS4 permit?

Stormwater runoff in East Liverpool is collected in an MS4 system and discharged primarily to the Ohio River. A permit from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (OEPA) is required in order to maintain permission to send our stormwater to the river. This permit is called an MS4 permit. The East Liverpool MS4 is considered a small MS4, and our permission to discharge stormwater is granted by coverage under a state-wide permit specifically developed for small MS4 systems in Ohio (click to view the permit document OHQ000004).