Stormwater Management

About Stormwater Runoff

Stormwater runoff is the water from rain and snow melt that flows across land and does not soak into the ground. As runoff flows over impervious surfaces (streets, parking lots and rooftops), it accumulates sediments, debris, oil, pet waste, fertilizers or other pollutants and is carried into nearby rivers, streams, lakes, ponds and wetlands. The runoff can significantly degrade water quality and aquatic habitat. Stormwater runoff also may increase flooding and erosion.

Stormwater Management

Stormwater is managed through a combination of engineering, construction, maintenance and public outreach to address the quality and quantity of runoff. The runoff in Gardner is directed to lakes and streams through a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). The City is authorized to discharge stormwater through the Phase II National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Small MS4s (PDF).
Stones and snow at mouth of a runoff drain
Muddy water at the opening of a runoff drain

Clean Water Act

The Clean Water Act authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and States, which are delegated the authority by EPA, to regulate point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States through the NPDES permit program. The program is intended to improve water quality by reducing the discharge of pollutants from stormwater runoff into local storm drains, rivers, ponds, streams and other receiving waterbodies.

Minimum Control Measures

In addition to other requirements, in order to comply with the program the City must follow six Minimum Control Measures, which are implemented through a series of Best Management Practices (BMPs).