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Everything you need to know about Storm Water Quality Management Plan

 

What is stormwater? How is it important?

Stormwater is a result of rainfall and ice/snowmelt. It either seeps into soil layers or remains on top of impervious surfaces such as roads or rooftops. Stormwater will finally evaporate from a flat surface, but it is more likely to flow as runoff to some other location. This water frequently transports particles, chemical products, microbes, degraded soil, and other contaminants into river systems, ponds, or waterways.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, stormwater management is the effort to decrease the runoff of rainfall or snowmelt into streets, gardens, and other sites while also improving the quality of the water.

 

What is the work of stormwater management?

Impermeable surfaces, including pavement and rooftops in urban and industrial nations, inhibit rainfall soaking into the soil surface. Water instead rushes into sewer lines and drainage ditches, causing flooding, deterioration, turbidity, storm, and sanitary sewer system overflow, causing infrastructure damage. 

On the other hand, stormwater design and 'green infrastructure' seize and recycle stormwater to preserve or improve normal hydrologies. The green infrastructure contains a range of water management practices such as vegetated rooftops, roadside seedlings, absorbent flower beds, and other stormwater management capture, filtering, and reduction measures. 

Green infrastructure collects rainwater where it falls. As a result, it diminishes flooding and the number of pollutants that enter water bodies. It also improves the amount and quality of water sources and provides many other benefits, particularly in nature-depleted urban areas.

Stormwater management's main objective is to contain stormwater and to get rid of pollutants. It includes surfaces that let rainfall and melting snow seep into the soil, grey infrastructure such as drainage ditches, storm drains, sewer lines, traditional piped drainage, and blue-green infrastructural facilities (such as ponds, rivers, canals, wetlands, etc.) that protect, restore, or mimic the freshwater cycle. 

Blue-green infrastructure (BGI) has been identified as a critical tool for long-term urban stormwater management. BGI is ecosystem-based and reliant on biophysical procedures to handle stormwater amount and quality, such as detainment, stockpiling infiltration, and biological absorption of toxins.   

Stormwater management is critical for preventing farmland erosion and flooding in populated urban or rural places. If sanitation facilities are swamped in either case, severe damage and environmental contamination can occur. This has a massive ecological cost and, more importantly, causes enormous hardship in the local communities. 

 

What is SWQMP?

The Storm Water Quality Management Plan is divided into three parts. Part A, or the initial implementation, is the first section of the permit. Part B is identified as the Baseline Characterization, and Part C is marked as the Implementation Plan.

 

Part A

The Notice of Intent must be accompanied by the SWQMP-Part A: Initial Application. This form is available at NOI Form - State Form 51277[1]. Part A must include the following three elements:

The NOI letter submission will also cover a written list of MS4 entities inside an MS4 area 

Each MS4 entity's identity, a liable individual for each MS4 entity, and telephone number must be included in the listing.

A timetable for program implementation 

This timetable must include a timeline of essential permit operations. The said time frame can choose any program-related activities and timescales that represent the priority areas of the MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) site, and it must align with the Compliance Schedule as underlined in the Rule.

A written budget that develops the allotment for the stormwater program in the MS4 area

An overview of recognized sources of funding must also be included in the spending plan. If numerous MS4 entities pertain to a single NOI (Notification of Interest) letter, each MS4 entity's annual budget must be kept separate. The budget will assist IDEM(Indiana Department of Environmental Management) in ensuring that an initial level of funding is apportioned to the stormwater program. For the construction of stormwater, IDEM is in the process of transforming from a permit-by-rule to a Master General Permit.

 

Part B

An SWQMP-Part B: Baseline Characterization is required by Rule 13. SWQMP-Part B - State Form 51275 must be submitted to IDEM within three months of the submittal date of the permittee's NOI Letter. Part B is an overview of assessments and findings that should record the data evaluated,  the recommendations and conclusions depending on the information assessed, and the plan for gathering additional data if more information is required.

This could take a while to obtain information during the data request procedure. If any data and resources are not readily available, a continuing characterization plan should be included in the Part B submission. When the suggestion is followed, the program will assert that more collected information will be evaluated before all water quality permits are made. 


 

Part C

The Program Implementation Plan is a work in progress. Part C intends to highlight the MS4's objectives, priorities, and implementation strategies for improving water quality. This document should change as conflicts are fixed, best management practices are implemented, and technological advancements are made.

It must contain the following things:

● An initial assessment of the stormwater program

This evaluation aims to identify a starting point for the program and establish a link with any existing programs to obtain credit for stormwater quality-related activities.

● Each of the six minimum control laws must be addressed by the stormwater program

The Rule specifies individual requirements for each minimum control measure. It allows for adaptability to account for the variability of environmental circumstances. The program designed to address each appropriate control should be distinctive to the MS4 entity or MS4 area.

● Execution benchmarks must be included in each minimal level control measure

The MS4 entity determines the milestones, which are based on local implementation schedules. If relevant, implementation milestones for the findings and conclusions in the SWQMP-Part B: Baseline Characterization and Report must also be supplied.

● If the continuous characterization of receiving water bodies is to be carried out, a schedule for this characterization must be posted. If ongoing characterization data is not gathered or analyzed, Program Implementation is not required. One of the goals of this Rule is to be able to demonstrate that the application of a local level stormwater quality management plan leads to environmental protection or advantage.

 

What is the difference between SWPPP and SWQMP?

An SWPPP (Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan) is only in place for a limited time. It is designed to define and control how stormwater runoff from a worksite is handled. It relates to the construction phase and is no longer relevant once the land on the worksite has been stabilized. The SWPPP is the duty of the construction site's 'Operator,' who is generally the General Contractor in complete control of the housing construction.

The SWQMP is in place indefinitely. It is designed to completely define and regulate the dealing of stormwater runoff from the finished project site. It pertains to the property after building projects and is thus the property owner's responsibility. An SWQMP is typically required to be submitted and documented as a precondition to applying for a building permit.


 

What can be done?

Educating oneself about where rainwater and meltwater flow on your land when the ground does not absorb it is an essential first step. The next challenge is integrating management practices' initiatives to minimize runoff and ensure that it is spotless when it leaves your land. Successful stormwater program implementation and management necessitate a comprehensive understanding of the NPDES permit requirements and strong collaboration among staff and consultants/contractors. 

 

Design Everest has a team of professionals who possess the knowledge and qualifications to handle the SWQMP documents and processes. Contact us to get a free quote and a consultation.

*Note: The content published above was made in collaboration with members of Design Everest.

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