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Stormwater Program Big Picture

Thursday, March 23, 2017
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Land development projects typically replace existing natural ground features with new impervious surfaces such as driveways, rooftops, sidewalks and streets. Stormwater runoff occurs when water from snow melt and rain can no longer infiltrate into the ground. The runoff carries soil particles, nutrients (such as phosphorous and nitrogen), pesticides, fertilizers, bacteria, pet waste, trash, debris, oil and other toxic materials into our stormwater drainage systems. Wetlands, streams, lakes and rivers ultimately receive the discharging waters from all City stormwater systems.

Polluted runoff contributes to habitat destruction, reduction in drinking water quality, fish kills, stream siltation and a decline in recreational uses of lakes.  National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase I and II.  A 1987 amendment to the Federal Clean Water Act required implementation of a two-phase comprehensive national program to address polluted stormwater runoff. Since the early 1990s, Phase I regulated large construction sites, 10 categories of industrial facilities and cities with a population over 100,000.

On March 10, 2003, Phase II was implemented to include runoff from construction sites disturbing one acre or more. Metropolitan communities, the City of Blaine included, were required to obtain permits for the management of stormwater sewer systems. It also required running stormwater and sanitary sewer through separate pipe systems, thus the term Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System and the acronym MS4.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) delegated permitting authority of the national program to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's stormwater Program was developed to reduce the pollution and damage caused by runoff from construction sites, industrial facilities and urbanized areas Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s). Additional information is available online at .

Municipal Stormwater Management

The GOAL of Municipal Stormwater Management is to decrease the pollutants carried to waters of the state through City-owned and operated MS4s.

The Stormwater Utility must be managed in compliance with the Federal Clean Water Act and with the terms and conditions of the MUNICIPAL SEPARATE STORM SEWER SYSTEM (MS4) GENERAL PERMIT, issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. A copy of the permit is available for review online at .

The City's Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (SWPPP) was written in 2003 with Best Management Practices (BMPs) designed to meet the requirements of the MS4 GENERAL PERMIT and reduce the discharge of pollutants from the City's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) to the Maximum Extent Practicable (MEP). These BMPs include education programs, practices for the management of construction sites, and recommendations on how residents can contribute to reducing pollution in stormwater runoff.

As a result of changes to the permit program, all MS4’s were required to reapply for the general permit as of June 1, 2006. A complete version of the new application and updated BMP’s is available on the city website for review and comment (see link below). Copies are also available for review during business hours at the Engineering Department in city hall.

Public Comment and Feedback

Residents have an opportunity to provide written input on the Best Management Practices (BMPs) being utilized by the City. The plan is available for review online at Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (882k) or at the Engineering Department. Comments will be considered in making revisions to the city plan and will be included in the annual report to the city council and the MPCA.

If you have any questions about the program, would like to discuss any concerns you may have or want to submit comments regarding the MS4 SWPPP, please contact Jim Hafner, Stormwater Manager at 763-785-6188, email at or Jean Keely, City Engineer at 763-785-6171.

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