Saginaw Area Storm Water Authority
Monday, February 18th 2019

_SASWA History - Introduction to NPDES Article 2

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Introduction to NPDES Article Number 2
A permit to discharge storm water? Municipalities have been discharging storm water for years. What is the problem with that? Well, yes, communities, business, and industry have been discharging into waters of the state and our nation for years. But what has been the quality of those discharges? The quality has not been very good. But it is getting better! During the 1990s the Large Municipal areas and industry had to begin cleaning up their discharges through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) portion of the Clean Water Act as amended in 1987. They all had to obtain a NPDES permit to discharge storm water into waters of the state and develop a plan and procedures to keep the storm water clean. Overall, these programs have been having an effect on our nations water resources. The waters are becoming cleaner. But we still have work to do. Now as a new millenium begins so begins our opportunity to carry this Clean Water Program farther. It is time for all of us to begin to take measures to clean the waters that are so important to us as a source of drinking water and recreational opportunities.

The NPDES program in the state of Michigan required all communities within the boundaries of Urbanized Areas of 50,000 or more people to obtain a permit to discharge storm water. There were two types of NPDES permits that could be obtained, the one chosen in this area was the “Watershed Approach” general permit. This permit considers a defined watershed and the holistic approach to planning for water quality. In Saginaw County the affected communities and agencies selected this permit because of its cooperative effort for cost sharing for plan implementation. The 20 members affected by the NPDES program formed the Saginaw Area Storm Water Authority (SASWA) in order to organize their efforts to obtain the storm water discharge permits. To obtain the permits by the March 10, 2003 deadline, SASWA contracted with three consultants to assist in the process, Heritage Accounting P.C., Smith Bovill, P.C., and Spicer Group, Inc.
To comply with the “Watershed Approach” NPDES general permit to discharge stormwater in the state of Michigan requires that a Notice of Intent (NOI) be submitted to the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) by March 10, 2003. The NOI must include:

- Geographical scope of the watershed district.
- A description of the storm water drainage system.
- An illicit discharge elimination plan (IDEP), and
- A public education plan (PEP).

Once the MDEQ has reviewed the Notice of Intent and finds that it conforms to the requirements, it will issue a Certificate of Coverage (COC) to the municipality. An illicit discharge elimination plan (IDEP) and public education plan (PEP) must be implemented within 30 days of receiving the Certificate.

These steps have been completed and the above-mentioned plans are being implemented by SASWA. You will be hearing more and more about how you can help clean up our waters as the years go by.

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