What is Stormwater Management?
The purpose of this page is to help foster public awareness regarding the City of Scranton ’s implementation of the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) as part of the Federal Phase II Stormwater Management Program. The City of Scranton is located within the Lackawanna River watershed, that is to say, all stormwater in the City of Scranton drains to the Lackawanna River. The Lackawanna is the largest tributary to the North Branch of the Susquehanna River in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The Susquehanna River flows into the Chesapeake Bay, which means that water quality conditions of the Lackawanna River directly affect the Chesapeake Bay’s environment. See Scranton’s Chesapeake Bay Pollutant Reduction Plan for more information.
Federal stormwater management regulations require that the City of Scranton, and other urbanized areas across Pennsylvania, apply for and maintain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to discharge stormwater from the City’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) oversees the implementation and administration of these federal regulations. For more information, visit their website here.
The federal regulations establish six categories of Best Management Practices (BMP’s) that must be implemented by all permittees. Each municipality subject to the regulation must implement a stormwater management program that contains every one of these elements. The six BMP categories, also called Minimum Control Measures, are as follows:
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.
Outreach regarding stormwater management in the City of Scranton has begun with a partnership of the Scranton Sewer Authority and the Lackawanna River Corridor Association. Through a public education partnership, the Scranton Sewer Authority and the Lackawanna River Corridor Association are providing information and technical support for homeowners to better manage storm water on their properties. This partnership is part of an effort to update the Authority’s Long Term Control Plan to meet Federal Clean Water Act requirements associated with discharges from its combined sewer system.
Scranton gets an average of 37 inches of rain a year. Some of that rain runs off the roof into the gutters and downspout, and in many older homes it runs into cast iron standpipes around the foundation of the house. These pipes are connected to the home’s sewer pipe. The rainwater that flows into those pipes quickly becomes polluted and adds to the load of storm water that flows into our sewer system. That causes our municipal sewers to overflow into the Lackawanna River, Roaring Brook, Leggett’s Creek, or Stafford Meadow Brook.
A series of booklets and information pamphlets are available on storm water management for homeowners in Scranton and Dunmore. Information covers downspout disconnection, rain barrels, rain gardens and storm water soakage trenches. Also a Lackawanna River Citizens Water Quality handbook is available that provides information on ways to reduce and eliminate water pollution sources around the home. These documents are available in a printed version on request. Informational meetings will
be held to open a dialogue with the public about our goals for clean water and how each of us can help reduce and eliminate water pollution sources.
You can contact the Authority or the LRCA to request information and technical assistance to disconnect downspouts or get advice on the installation of other storm water management techniques that are appropriate for your property.
For more program information call the SSA at 570-348-5330 or the LRCA at 570-347-6311.
2. Public Involvement
- Conduct public meetings to inform the public about the City’s storm water management ordinance and regulations. Develop volunteer programs for community groups, such as “Adopt a Storm Drain”. Involve local groups such as Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, etc.
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 owned and operated by PA American Water, who operates all of our sanitary water, waste water, and sewer system and is largely a CSO.
CSOs (Combined Sewer Overflow), also known as regulators are used in sewer systems that not only take in sewage but also take in the storm water from the basins in the street. These types of systems are known as combined systems. In a heavy rain event a combined system can become surcharged. To reduce the excess flow and to prevent possible damage to homes and sewer systems, regulators are designed to open at a predetermined level of flow and discharge the excess flow to a river or stream. Once the flow has reduced the regulator closes and all flow is directed back into the sanitary system. The Scranton wastewater collection system is over 2/3 a combined system and uses two different types of regulators, Type I and Type II.
All Combined Sewer Overflows in the Scranton/Dunmore area have a sign near the discharge pipe to the river or stream that has the CSO number on it. If you see a discharge to a stream or river near one of these signs please report it by calling 570-348-5337. Customers can also call our Customer Service Center at 1-800-565-7292, M-F, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m. For emergencies, we’re available 24/7 at this number.
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.
Scranton Ordinances Pertaining to Storm Water Management
- FILE OF COUNCIL # 76, 2012 – The City of Scranton Stormwater Management Ordinance requires a storm water management plan be presented for approval for any project that disturbs over 5000 square feet of area.
- FILE OF COUNCIL #12, 1996, City of Scranton Sub-Division and Land Development Ordinance
Further, The City of Scranton relies on the PA DEP construction storm water permitting program (NPDES) to satisfy it requirements under this category.
Other Helpful Publications
- A Construction Site Operator’s Guide to PA’s Storm Water Permit Program
- Storm Water and the Construction Industry Poster with BMPs
- The Construction Industry Compliance Assistance Center homepage
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.
Local Stormwater Programs
For more information on the City of Scranton’s Stormwater Program, please contact:
Director, Public Works at 570-348-4180
Donald King, AICP, CFM City Planner at 570-348-4280