Erie County Phase II Storm Water Public Education Program
Erie County, NY

Grantee: Erie County Department of Environment and Planning
Basin Program Funds: $18,000
Non-federal Funds: $12,000
Project Duration: 07/2002 - 08/2004
Status: complete

Problem Statement
The requirements of Phase I of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Storm Water Program have been expanded by legislation from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA). These new requirements on storm water rules (referred to as Phase II) affect several units of government in Eire County that operate storm sewer systems which must now comply with the Phase II regulations. The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning foresees a need to develop and distribute public educational material on the Storm Water Phase II Final Rule for citizens, businesses, developers, contractors and municipal officials to enhance compliance under Phase II requirements.

Background
Phase I of the NPDES Storm Water Program targets nonagricultural storm water discharges to surface water bodies. Phase I requirements apply to municipal separate storm sewer systems serving populations greater than 100,000, construction sites larger than five acres and industrial activities. Recent federal legislation originating from the USEPA advances the existing storm water regulations essentially by broadening the scope. Phase II requires a NPDES permit and implementation of a storm water management program for municipal separate storm sewer systems servicing populations under 100,000 in an urbanized area (less than 1,000 people per square mile). Phase II also requires an NPDES permit for construction sites ranging from 1-5 acres in size. In addition, industrial facilities are eligible for incentives to protect their operations from storm water exposure.

There are 23 municipalities in Erie County that are subject to the requirements of the Phase II Storm Water Rules and the county itself operates a number of separate municipal storm sewer systems that must comply with the regulations. To address the new requirements, the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning and the Erie County Soil and Water Conservation District held an information and planning Session in January 2000. Representatives from the affected municipalities attended a meeting designed to familiarize them with the requirements, the importance of planning and the types of assistance available.

Activities
This project will fulfill the Public Education and Outreach and Public Participation/ Involvement minimum controls required by the Phase II Storm Water Rule. The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning will assist municipalities with development of a public education program and distribution of outreach materials to inform K-12 classrooms, citizens, businesses, developers/contractors and municipal officials of the negative impacts associated with storm water runoff discharges to surface waters. The informational materials will educate the public on the mechanics of their municipal storm sewer system, the water bodies that receive storm water, and the types of pollutants transported in storm water runoff and their effect on water quality. The outreach materials will target practices that may contribute pollutants to the storm water sewer system and suggest alternatives to those practices.

Key tasks include:

  • Identify existing resources and gather information for the public outreach and education requirement
  • Compile and distribute public education and outreach information packages
  • Disseminate the educational materials to select audiences through existing Erie County programs
  • Identify existing resources and gather information for the public participation/involvement minimum control requirement
  • Compile and distribute public participation/involvement information packages
  • Schedule opportunities for public involvement in each watershed

Results
This project assembled the public education and public participation/ involvement packages and distributed them to regulated municipalities; scheduled opportunities for public involvement in each watershed; created a web page devoted to stormwater pollution prevention, with access to pdf versions of public education materials for businesses, developers/contractors, municipal officials and citizens/households; and hosted public meetings for the regulated municipalities.

In addition several presentations were conducted to local organizations:

  1. Association of Towns and Villages of Erie County, February 2003.
  2. Great Lakes Regional Pollution Prevention Roundtable, annual summer meeting, August 2003.
  3. Association of Bridge Construction and Design Engineers, November 2003
  4. Niagara County Environmental Management Commission, February 2004.

Contact: Ms. Mary C. Rossi, 716-858-7583

 

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