Video created by The Connecticut River Stormwater Committee

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), contaminated rain and stormwater is the largest source of water quality impairments in Massachusetts. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) is a permit program that addresses water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States.  Originally created in 1972 by the Clean Water Act, the NPDES permit program is authorized to state governments by EPA to perform many permitting, administrative, and enforcement aspects of the program. 

The Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) General Permit program was developed to regulate municipal systems that are designed to collect stormwater and discharge it into local streams.  It is part of the NPDES program that is geared toward local governments.  With revisions to the legislation in 2016, the University of Massachusetts Amherst now falls under the jurisdiction the MS4 program and is regulated as a “non-traditional entity” (ie. Federal or State entity).  The University filed its Notice of Intent (NOI) in September 2018 and is currently developing it’s Stormwater Management (SWMP) and working on other efforts to comply with these regulations.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a member of The Connecticut River Stormwater Committee.  The Committee was formed, with technical support from the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, to collectively assist one another in meeting the obligations under the MS4 Permit, including, but not limited to:

  • Conducting public outreach and education activities
  • Obtaining pricing that may provide collective savings
  • Hosting an annual training on illicit discharge detection and elimination and good housekeeping activities
  • Applying for grants that may include all or a subset of members the proposed activities of which will help toward meeting permit requirements

This webpage is intended to provide additional information about the MS4 program and provide links to resources to help with public education and compliance.  It is a work in progress and will grow as UMass Amherst further develops its plans to meet the MS4 requirements.

At the heart of compliance with MS4 regulations and to protect water resources, the permit includes six minimum control measures:

  1. Public Education
  2. Public Involvement
  3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
  4. Construction Site Runoff
  5. Post-Construction Stormwater Management
  6. Good Housekeeping/Pollution Prevention.

To learn more, watch the video above created by the Connecticut River Stormwater Committee.

Other resources include:

National Menu of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for Stormwater

First released in October 2000, the menu of BMPs is based on the stormwater Phase II rule's six minimum control measures. EPA has found the practices listed in the menu of BMPs to be representative of the types of practices that can successfully achieve the minimum control measures.

Stormwater in Massachusetts, U.S. EPA Municipal Separate Stormwater System (MS4) Permits

Stormwater Outreach Materials to help towns comply with MS4 Permit

Massachusetts Statewide Education Campaign

Stormwater Management Summary of the Six Minimum Control Measures for Small MS4