Stormwater Management Management Program (SWMP) was submitted by the City of Oberlin to the Ohio EPA in 2003. This is a summary of the recent history of storm water management regulation and a synopsis of compliance requirements.

Historical Overview

As part of the original 1970’s era Clean Water Act, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) developed the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program to regulate point source discharges into the surface waters of the United States. The NPDES program, as initially implemented, was concerned with improvement of water quality by controlling discharges of industrial wastewater and municipal sewage. The NPDES Program has reduced harmful industrial and municipal discharges with resultant improvements in surface water quality throughout the nation.

However, additional point sources of pollution have been identified and, in 1990, USEPA added storm water runoff from major industrial facilities, large and medium municipal separate storm sewer systems (populations over 100,000) and construction sites over 5 acres to the NPDES program. These additions to the NPDES program became known as “Phase 1”. Although the Phase 1 program has been effective, it does not address the broad range of storm water pollution sources. Consequently, USEPA has established an expanded NPDES storm water program (Phase II) which includes regulation of small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) with populations under 100,000.

The City of Oberlin has been designated a small MS4 operator and, accordingly, has filed for and received NPDES permit coverage of its storm sewer system. A requirement of the NPDES permit is the development and implementation of a storm water management program (SWMP).

City of Oberlin SWMP

Public Works staff has attended numerous meetings sponsored by NOACA and by the Lorain County Community Development Department. These forums have been designed to provide assistance to communities in understanding the regulatory climate in Ohio and in developing a suitable Storm Water Management Program.

OEPA requires that each program must contain the following six minimum control measures:

  1. Public Education and Outreach programs on storm water impacts on surface water and possible steps to reduce storm water pollution. These programs must be targeted both at the general community and at the commercial, industrial and institutional sectors.
  2. Public Involvement and Participation in developing and implementing the storm water management program.
  3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination. Location and elimination of non-storm water discharges.
  4. Construction Site Storm water Runoff Controls. This control measure requires the use of appropriate Best Management Practices (BMPs), pre-construction review of site management plans, inspections during construction, and penalties for noncompliance.
  5. Post-Construction Storm Water Management in new development and redevelopment. Satisfying this control measure requires the adoption of regulations that implement structural and nonstructural BMPs, ensure the long term operation of such BMPs, minimize water quality impacts and maintain predevelopment runoff conditions.
  6. Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations that reduces pollutant runoff. This would include efforts to reduce storm water pollution from the maintenance of streets, parks, vehicles, etc.

For each of these six compliance areas, Public Works staff has prepared an assessment of current conditions/practices, a strategy to improve water quality including the most appropriate Best Management Practices and the measurable goals and the anticipated schedule with which we will track our progress. This forms the basis of the Storm Water Management Program (SWMP). Although the SWMP has been submitted to OEPA, the OEPA expects the SWMP to be a working document with compliance to be phased over an initial five-year period.

Supporting documents for this section:

Water Resource Statement

The importance of restoring and maintaining the health of our water resources is now coming to the full attention of both policy makers and the general public. Along with regulation changes at all levels of federal, state and municipal governments, there is a growing national awareness and concern among community members who are finding ways to get involved with the issues of urban storm water management and maintaining healthy stream corridors in their region.

In Oberlin, we have considerable water resources to protect. The City of Oberlin has recently issued a revised Storm Water Management Program in compliance with upcoming Phase II EPA water quality standards. A Storm Water Task Force was initiated by the city, as was the Plum Creek Riparian Corridor Restoration Project. All of these programs bring a new level of engagement to our community about the issues of water resource management, and community members are encouraged to get involved.

Please take a moment to review the information provided here, and check back periodically for updates about City of Oberlin efforts to address issues with our water resources and how you can get involved!

Supporting documents for this section:

The Plum Creek Riparian Corridor Restoration Project

The project was initiated by the Oberlin Public Works Dept. in June, 2005 as one component of the revised Phase II Storm Water Management Program (SWMP). The intended outcome of the Riparian Project is to start to address concerns set forth in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “Phase II” water quality standards from the EPA National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program. Within this changing regulatory climate, the Ohio EPA requires that each municipality’s Storm Water Management Program address six minimum control measures:

  1. Public education and outreach programs on storm water impacts on surface water and possible steps to reduce storm water pollution.
  2. Public involvement and participation in developing and implementing the storm water management program.
  3. Illicit discharge detection and elimination.
  4. Construction site storm water runoff controls.
  5. Post-construction storm water management in new development and redevelopment.
  6. Pollution prevention and good housekeeping for municipal operations that reduce pollutant runoff.

With these planned outcomes in mind, the Plum Creek Riparian Corridor Restoration Project has served to survey, research and work toward fulfilling certain aspects of the storm water management program.

The first order of the Project was the conduct a comprehensive survey of the whole Plum Creek corridor, beginning first within Oberlin city limits. This survey includes the main watercourse of Plum Creek as well as Evans and Hill “ditches”, which are both major tributaries to Plum Creek that will henceforth be referred to as creeks. Though parceling a watershed by municipal boundaries is precisely counter-intuitive of the watershed approach, it is also important to understand that this is precisely how municipalities must work together within a watershed—since watersheds most often encompass many towns, and can even include sections of multiple counties and states.

The scope of the initial survey was to collect information on the general health of the Plum Creek riparian corridor in these categories:

  • Width and vegetative cover of buffer zone along creek and tributaries.
  • Identifying invasive plant species issues along corridor.
  • Identifying and prioritizing log and debris jams.
  • Identifying areas of erosion and siltation.
  • Identifying flooding and storm water management issues.
  • Identifying areas of heavy trash.
  • Count and categorize all piped and open ditch outlets coming into creek and tributaries.

Projects List

Since the Plum Creek Riparian Corridor Restoration Project began in June, 2005, progress has been steady in gathering information and completing the preliminary tasks set forth. The list of on-going projects and potential projects has continued to expand with the growing understanding of what still needs to be done by what has already been accomplished.

Mapping Work

GPS data was collected for all areas surveyed. This GPS data is added to the existing maps through the City Engineer’s Office. This new data on the Plum Creek corridor and the Plum Creek tributaries helps close an information gap on the city’s maps.

Public Education and Outreach

Corridor Partnerships: city, college, private; continued coordination with Black River Watershed Project.

Supporting documents for this section: