Stormwater Management

This page serves to raise public awareness concerning the City of Scranton’s commitment with the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). This initiative is a vital part of the Federal Phase II Storm Water Management Program.

Scranton is situated within the Lackawanna River watershed, meaning all storm water in the city flows directly to the Lackawanna river. This river holds significant importance as it is the largest tributary to the North Branch of the Susquehanna River in Northeaster Pennsylvania.

It’s crucial to note that the Susquehanna River eventually feeds into the Chesapeake Bay. As a result, the water quality in the Lackawanna River directly impacts the Chesapeake Bay’s environment.

For more detailed information on this topic, please refer to Scranton’s Chesapeake Bay Pollutant Reduction Plan.

For more information on the City of Scranton’s Stormwater Program Contact:

Director of DPW

Donald King, AICP,CFM, City Planner

Federal Regulations

Federal stormwater management regulations require urbanized areas in Pennsylvania, including the City of Scranton, to obtain and uphold a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. This is crucial for managing stormwater discharge from the city’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4).

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) plays a vital role in overseeing the implementation and administration of these federal regulations.

For additional information on this topic, please visit the DEP’s official website.

To ensure compliance with these regulations, the City of Scranton must adhere to six categories of Best Management Practices (BMPs), also known as Minimum Control Measures. These practices are crucial, as every municipality subject to the regulation must implement a stormwater management program that encompasses all of these elements:

1. Public Education

  • Distribute storm water pamphlets to all target audiences, run storm water ads in the newspaper, and distribute educational materials to schools, community organizations, and businesses.

The City of Scranton has partnered with the Scranton Sewer Authority and the Lackawanna River Corridor Association to provide homeowners with the information and technical support needed to effectively manage storm water on their properties.

This partnership is a crucial part of our ongoing efforts to update the Authority’s Long Term Control Plan, ensuring compliance with the Federal Clean Water Act’s standards for discharges from the combined sewer system.

View the 2013 Storm Water Management (MS4 & CSO) System Review Here.

In Scranton, we receive an average of 37 inches of rainfall each year. A significant portion of this rain ends up running off roofs, flowing through gutters and downspouts, and eventually making its way into the ground around our homes. In many of the older houses in our city, this water is directed into cast iron standpipes situated around the foundation. These standpipes are connected directly to the house’s sewer pipes.

When rainwater enters these pipes, it can quickly become polluted, contributing to the overall volume of storm water that our sewer system must handle. This increase in volume can lead to our municipal sewers becoming overwhelmed, resulting in overflows into local water bodies like the Lackawanna River, Roaring Brook, Leggett’s Creek, and Stafford Meadow Brook.

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection provides a stormwater booklet filled with useful information for homeowners on how to manage storm water.

If you’re seeking more information about the program, feel free to call the Scranton Sewer Authority (SSA) at 570.348.5330.

2. Public Involvement

  • Host public meetings to educate the community about the City’s storm water management rules and guidelines.
  • Establish volunteer initiatives for local groups, promoting programs like “Adopt a Storm Drain.”
  • Encourage participation from organizations including Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other community-based groups.

3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination

  • Create map of all outfalls within the community.
  • Conduct field screenings of 25% of the outfalls each year to determine illicit discharges.
  • Remove or correct illicit discharges.

Scranton’s sewer system is under the management of PA American Water, and a large portion of it operates as a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) system.

In these systems, both sewage and storm water are managed together. During heavy rain, the system can become overwhelmed, leading to the opening of regulators to release excess flow and prevent damage to homes and the sewer system. Once the rain subsides, the regulators close, redirecting the flow back into the sanitary system. Our wastewater collection system is predominantly a combined system, utilizing two types of regulators: Type I and Type II.

All Combined Sewer Overflows in the Scranton/Dunmore area are clearly marked with signs displaying the CSO number near the discharge pipe. If you notice any discharge near these signs, please report it immediately by calling 570.348.5337.

For additional assistance, our Customer Service Center is available at 1.800.565.7292, Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and for emergencies, we’re available 24/7 at the same number.

You can view the map below.

Scranton Wastewater Operations Combined Sewer Overflow Locations | Map

4. Construction Site Storm Water Runoff Management

  • Attempt to educate developers within the municipality on the storm water codes that are enforced.
  • Distribute posters and information about Construction Site Run-Off and BMPs.

Important Scranton Ordinances for Storm Water Management:

Scranton has several ordinances in place to manage storm water effectively. For instance:

  • File of Council #76, 2012: This ordinance necessitates a storm water management plan for any project disturbing over 5,000 square feet.
  • File of Council #12, 1996: You can view the City of Scranton Sub-Division and Land Development Ordinance here.

In addition, we rely on the PA DEP’s construction storm water permitting program (NPDES) to meet our requirements under this category.

5. Post Construction Storm Water Management

  • Address the codes dealing with storm water runoff after construction is complete.
  • Inform developers of ordinances and sanctions that must be followed.

6. Good Housekeeping and Pollution Prevention

  • Comprehensive pollution prevention program for municipal operations; with a focus on vehicle maintenance, fueling and washing, maintenance of storm water facilities, and employee training.
  • Inform City workers about BMPS and distribute informative materials.

For more information on the City of Scranton’s Storm Water Program, please contact:
Scott Pietreface, Director of Public Works at 570-348-4180
Donald King, AICP, CFM City Planner at 570-348-4280

To assist with understanding and complying with Pennsylvania’s storm water permit program, we recommend the following helpful publications and resources:

County-Level Work
  1. Lackawanna County Hazard Mitigation Plan: A comprehensive document detailing strategies for risk reduction and disaster resilience in Lackawanna County.
  2. Lackawanna County Flood Risk Coalition: An initiative to assess and mitigate flood risks within the county.
Helpful Links
  1. PA DEP Water Management: Official resource for water management policies and guidelines in Pennsylvania.
  2. PA DEP MS4 Information: Specific information and guidelines for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems in Pennsylvania.
  3. US EPA MS4 & Stormwater Management: Federal guidelines and resources for storm water management.
  4. Environmental Education Resources: A collection of educational materials and resources for environmental awareness.
  5. Environmental Finance Programs: Information on financial assistance programs for environmental projects.
Fact Sheets
  1. Phase II Storm Water Program Overview: A concise summary of the Phase II storm water management program.
  2. Small MS4 Overview in Pennsylvania: Guidelines and information for small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems.
  3. Urbanized Areas and MS4 Permits: A guide on urbanized areas and their requirements under MS4 storm water permits.
Educational Materials
  1. Storm Water Management in Scranton: A citizen’s guide on managing stormwater in Scranton.
  2. Home Solutions to Stormwater Pollution: Practical tips for homeowners to reduce stormwater pollution.
  3. Community Water Conservation: How community involvement can contribute to water conservation efforts.
  4. Storm Water Pollution Awareness: An informative door hanger to raise awareness on stormwater pollution.
  5. Kids Stormwater Stickers: Educational stickers for kids to learn about storm water management.
  6. Stormwater Runoff Pollution Prevention Bookmark: A bookmark with tips on preventing storm water runoff pollution.
  7. Stormwater Challenge Placemat: An interactive placemat with activities related to storm water management.
  8. Water Cycle Glossary of Terms: A comprehensive glossary of terms related to the water cycle.
  9. Implementing Rain Gardens: A comprehensive guide to Rain Gardens. (Thanks to Amelia at the Fullers Library for the resource!)
Skip to content