Public Works
The Stormwater Story

In 2003, West Chester Borough began a comprehensive storm water management program mandated by the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and monitored by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP). The program is designed to literally "manage" stormwater, both by protecting water quality and by preventing high volumes of runoff from causing flooding in developed areas. Any municipality with a population of at least 5,000, including counties, must comply with the program.

Water pollution degrades surface waters making them unsafe for drinking, fishing, swimming, and other activities. As authorized by the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls water pollution by regulating "point sources" that release pollutants into waters of the United States. Point sources can be pipes or man-made ditches that carry stormwater from the street level to the nearest stream.

Because West Chester owns the stormwater conveyance system (point sources) within the municipal boundaries, the responsibility lies with the Borough to ensure that any water pollution entering the system is minimized to the fullest extent possible. This effort to protect water quality is two-pronged: through education of residents, businesses, developers, and its own staff, and through the use of Best Management Practices (BMP's) to reduce the discharge of pollutants into streams. For instance, a large component of the program is the requirement that the Borough screens its stormwater outfalls for potential conditions of pollution and takes corrective action in the event a pollutant source is found.

Another major component of the program requires an effort by the Borough to increase citizen participation and awareness. It is important for West Chester's residents and businesses to be aware that increased stormwater runoff and pollution can occur from many different sources, and can cause a number of different problems.

Concentrated development in urbanized areas substantially increases impervious surfaces, such as streets, driveways and parking lots. These surfaces are the primary collector of pollutants until a rain washes them into nearby storm drains. Common pollutants include pesticides, fertilizers, oils, salt, litter, and sediment. Storm drains do not run to treatment plants. They empty directly into waterways. When left uncontrolled, these discharges can result in fish kills, destruction of wildlife habitats, and contamination of drinking water and recreational waterways. Sediment from yard debris and construction sites can cause stream bank erosion, vegetation destruction, and flooding. It is therefore extremely important to recognize that individual actions can multiply the effect on water quality.

Please browse this page for more information on the stormwater program and things you can do to help minimize the pollution that enters our watershed.

Reducing Pollutants in Runoff

Stormwater is unavoidable, but its effects can be reduced by keeping harmful chemicals and materials out of the runoff. This section reviews potential sources of contamination and offers ways to minimize them. Click on the heading to read more.

Stormwater Complaint Phone Numbers and Contacts

Citizens can help report violations or problems they notice in their local streams before they cause more damage and pollution. Residents sometimes may be the first to recognize "illicit" discharges being directed into storm sewers or flowing out of storm sewer outfall pipes into streams. "Dry weather flows"- flows from outfall pipes after a 72 hour or greater period without rain that appears to be polluted or contaminated - should be reported to your municipality for further investigation. Click on the heading for a list of different organizations' phone numbers to call to report a water quality issue depending on the situation you encounter.

Landscaping and Site Management

Some stormwater risks can be controlled by making changes to buildings, paved surfaces, the landscape, and soil surfaces. Click on the heading for more information regarding landscape alterations you might want to consider.

Automotive Waste Recycling

Click on the heading for where information can be found on automotive waste recycling.

CONTACT US

Department of Public Works
Borough of West Chester
Phone: (610) 696-5282
205 Lacey Street Fax: (610) 436-1383
West Chester, PA 19382 E-mail: publicworks@west-chester.com

 
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401 East Gay Street
West Chester, PA 19380
Phone: (610) 692-7574
Fax: (610) 436-0009
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