According to the 1996 National Water Quality Inventory, storm water runoff is a leading source of water pollution. Storm water runoff can harm surface waters such as rivers, lakes, and streams which in turn cause or contribute to water quality standards being exceeded.
Storm water runoff can change natural hydrologic patterns, accelerate stream flows, destroy aquatic habitats, and elevate pollutant concentrations and loadings. Development substantially increases impervious surfaces thereby increasing runoff from city streets, driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks, on which pollutants from human activities settle.
Common pollutants in runoff include pesticides, fertilizers, oils, metals, pathogens, salt, sediment, litter and other debris are transported via storm water and discharged – untreated – to water resources through storm sewer systems.
The Storm Water Program for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) is designed to reduce the amount of sediment and pollution that enters surface and ground water from storm sewer systems to the maximum extent practicable. Storm water discharges associated with MS4s are regulated through the use of National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. NPDES permits are legal documents. Through this permit, the owner or operator is required to develop a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) that incorporates Best Management Practices (BMPs) applicable to their MS4. For more information visit City of Hastings Storm Water Permit.