Stormwater Pollution

In recent years, it has been well documented that stormwater runoff is a leading source of pollution to our rivers, lakes and streams. As urbanized areas continue to develop and expand, there is no mystery as to why stormwater runoff can become a problem. Higher density developments, the filling of less desirable lowland areas, erosion from construction sites and the general disregard for the preservation of undeveloped green spaces has created considerable concern across the country.

New EPA Stormwater Rules have been established for our larger cities within the state and will require a new way of doing business for all of us. These rules require a more formalized approach to stormwater management with the emphasis on eliminating the various environmental problems associated with urban stormwater runoff, control and wetland protection.

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II Rule is set forth by the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Clean Water Act and administered by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). The goal of this program, according to the MPCA, is to “reduce the amount of sediment and pollution that enters surface and ground water from storm sewer systems to the Maximum Extent Practicable (MEP)”.

In order to obtain coverage under this permit, the City of Cloquet completed an application and developed a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (SWPPP). This SWPPP addresses six (6) Minimum Control Measures (MCMs). They are as follows:

  • Public Education and Outreach
  • Public Participation and Involvement
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
  • Construction Site Runoff Control
  • Post-Construction Stormwater Management
  • Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping

For each of the Minimum Control Measures (MCMs), a Best Management Practice (BMP) was developed to address a method to ultimately reduce/prevent pollution from entering the City of Cloquet's storm sewer system. The Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program (SWPPP) is a summary of each of these Best Management Practices (BMPs) and how they address each Minimum Control Measure (MCM), along with an implementation program of each BMP.

Stormwater Requirements For Development and Construction Projects

Mandated by Congress under the Federal Clean Water Act, the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Stormwater Program is a comprehensive national program that regulates stormwater discharges from construction sites, new developments and industrial facilities. It is unlawful to initiate any land disturbing or development activity, which may result in an increase in stormwater quantities, degradation of stormwater quality, or restriction of flow in any storm sewer system, within the City of Cloquet, without having first complied with the terms of Chapter 18 of the Municipal Code; Stormwater Management and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency Stormwater Program.

For construction or development projects, or any land disturbing activity that disturbs one or more acres of land, site owners and their construction operators must apply for coverage under the Permit program Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s (MPCA’s) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). This permit requires the development and implementation of a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) for the specific project.

Visit Minnesota Pollution Control Agency "Stormwater Program for Construction Activity" for more information

Public Education and The Regional Stormwater Protection Team (RSPT)

In a long-term effort to promote positive community and individual activities to protect the waters of the region, 16 governments and groups combined in 2003 to form the Regional Stormwater Protection Team (RSPT). Their mission: to protect and enhance the region's shared water resources through stormwater pollution prevention by providing coordinated educational programs and technical assistance.

Public education and outreach is a key part of any stormwater pollution prevention plan. The Internet is an effective way to provide stormwater information and is the website most turned to for advice about living in the Lake Superior watershed. The site was developed by UMD's Natural Resources Research Institute, Minnesota Sea Grant, and the City of Duluth as part of a regional effort to provide water pollution information to the public.

Additional Resources for Homeowners, Developers and Design Professionals

The following links provide more information on stormwater management, erosion control and wetland protection.

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