Virginia Coastal Policy Center


Under the Clean Water Act (CWA), various types of stormwater discharges must be regulated through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting program, since the water often flows untreated into local waterways and potentially could contain high levels of pollution and contaminants. Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) consist of any conveyance designed to collect or convey stormwater (e.g., storm drains, underground pipes, gutters, curbs) that are not part of a combined sewer system or water treatment plant. Generally, these systems are owned by municipalities but can also include large users such as public universities, hospitals, and military bases. To meet CWA requirements, “Phase I” and “Phase II” MS4s must obtain NPDES permits to discharge stormwater. Phase I MS4s are medium and large municipalities with a population greater than 100,000 people, while Phase II MS4s (or “small” MS4s) are any regulated systems that are not covered by Phase I permits and also include separate users like military bases and universities. This paper will focus on Phase II MS4s.


This paper focuses on the first two MCMs [minimum control measures]: public education and outreach on stormwater impacts and public involvement and participation. More specifically, this paper will describe the requirements for each of these two prongs, provide an overview of the way some representative municipalities meet these requirements, and discuss how MS4s can work with other permittees or outside groups to satisfy the permit goals.

This abstract has been adapted from the author's introduction.

Document Type

Water Quality, Water Quantity, and Marine Debris

Publication Date

Spring 2019