Storm-water Management

What is Storm-water 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 Storm-water Management Program. The City of Scranton is located within the Lackawanna River watershed, that is to say, all storm-water 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 Regulations

Federal storm-water 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 storm-water 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 storm-water 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 stormwater booklet with information on storm-water management for homeowners is available through Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection 

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, contact the LRCA by phone at 570-347-6311 or by email at

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 stormwater 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.

You can view the map here.

4. Construction Site StormWater 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 Storm-water 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

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 Storm-water Programs

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

County-Level Work

Lackawanna County Hazard Mitigation Plan

Lackawanna County Flood Risk Coalition

Helpful Links:

PA DEP Water Management Site


US EPA MS4 & Stormwater Site

Environmental education resources

Environmental finance programs

Fact Sheets

Overview of the Phase II program

Small MS4 overview

Urbanized Areas

Educational Materials

After the Storm: A Scranton Citizen’s Guide to Storm-water Management

Make Your Home the Solution to Storm Water Pollution

Caring For Our Water is Everybody’s Business

Storm Water Pollution Found in Your Area! Door Hanger

Kids Storm Water Stickers

10 Things That You Can Do to Prevent Storm Water Runoff Pollution” Bookmark

Take the Storm Water Runoff Challenge” place-mat

Water Cycle Glossary of Terms (

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