Frequently Asked Questions

MS4 Program Basics

Stormwater runoff is a major source of flooding, erosion and the pollution of Connecticut’s waterways, and is certain to become even more of a problem as climate change progresses. Accordingly, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP) has recently revised and expanded the principal permit used to regulate stormwater in the state: the “General Permit for the Discharge of Stormwater from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems,” or MS4.
121 of Connecticut's 169 towns are included in the MS4 General Stormwater Permit. Click here for a map of the towns. Each of these towns have or are part of an "urbanized area," which is a designation of the U.S. Census that takes into account population, population density, impervious cover, proximity to urban areas, and other factors.

State and federal institutions that operate their own stormwater system are now also included in the MS4 permit. This includes university campuses, like UConn, state prisons, military bases, hospitals, public housing authorities, office complexes, etc. that have more than one building and an average daily population of 1,000 or more people.
There is no specific/dedicated funding available to help with costs of complying with the new MS4 permit. It is a good idea to check with your regional Council of Government (COG) to see if they are coordinating any efforts to pool resources. In other states communities have formed collaboratives to share the responsibilities and costs of equipment, monitoring, public education, etc. One example is the Central Massachusetts Stormwater Coalition.
To join the listserv, go to http://s.uconn.edu/ctms4list and click on "subscribe" on the right hand side.
Each MS4 Town and institution must post their Stormwater Management Plan for public comment by April 1, 2017 (No joke!) and share a link or electronic copy along with a registration form to DEEP by April 3, 2017. The public must be allowed to comment for 60 days.
And Annual Reports are due to DEEP every year. The first Annual Report is due to DEEP by April 1, 2018 after being made available for public comment for 45 days.
They will be. DEEP is negotiating a special permit that is based on the MS4 permit and will cover the Department of Transportation.

General MS4 Questions

The MS4 permit generally applies town (or institution) wide but certain requirements focus on what are deemed "priority areas". These include areas that meet any of the following three conditions: in the Census Urbanized Area, catchments with >11% DCIA, or catchments that discharge to impaired waters.

Below is a screen shot from the MS4 map viewer looking at Naugatuck with the Urbanized area (gray) layer, the IC by Basin (yellow) layer, and the 2016 stormwater impaired waterbodies (red) layer(s) turned on. We can get a general sense that Naugatuck's priority areas include most of the town except the light gray area to the west. Notice that there are a few yellow basins that go beyond the dark gray urbanized area. Because the yellow basins are areas with >11% impervious area - not necessarily Directly Connected Impervious Area - they may be less than 11% DCIA and thus not a part of the prioirity area. Naugatuck could use one of our approaches to estimate DCIA in those basins to determine their %DCIA.
“Surface Water” means the waters of Long Island Sound, its harbors, embayments, tidal wetlands and creeks; rivers and streams, brooks, waterways, lakes, ponds, marshes, swamps, bogs, federal jurisdictional wetlands, and other natural or artificial, public or private, vernal or intermittent bodies of water. Surface water does not include ground water.

There doesn't seem to be one typical person in town who fills this role. The list below gives a sense of the variety of positions some CT towns have designated as the ordinance enforcement agent. Most ordinances also say that the authorized enforcement agent may identify a designee in writing.

Annual Reports and the Stormwater Management Plan

Each MS4 Town and institution must post their Stormwater Management Plan for public comment by April 1, 2017 (No joke!) and share a link or electronic copy along with a registration form to DEEP by April 3, 2017. The public must be allowed to comment for 60 days.
And Annual Reports are due to DEEP every year. The first Annual Report is due to DEEP by April 1, 2018 after being made available for public comment for 45 days.
Yes! NEMO modified a template developed by the Western Connecticut Council of Governments (WestCOG) for statewide use. It can be found here. NOTE: CT DEEP has not officially sanctioned this template, but it is based on the permit language and DEEP's MCM checklist.
And NEMO created two Annual Report templates: One for New MS4 permittees and one for Existing MS4 permittees. They are available for download under the Implementation section > Annual Reports.
There are many consultants in the area with experience in developing and implementing SWM Plans. NEMO does not have a recommended list. However some of the Councils of Government (COGs) have developed lists.
Public comments on your Stormwater Management Plan or your Annual Report should be sent to the DEEP Commisisoner.
By Email: DEEP.StormwaterStaff@ct.gov

OR
US Mail:
DEEP
Water Permitting and Enforcement Division
79 Elm Street
Hartford CT 06106
Attn: Karen Allen

Mapping

DCIA means directly connected impervious area. It is a stormwater geek's term for hard surfaces that contribute stormwater runoff to the storm sewer system. It is also sometimes called effective impervious area. There are a few pemit requirements that invovle DCIA like determining acres of DCIA town-wide and identifying any basins with DCIA > 11% which are part of the "priority areas" for purposes of the permit.

Watch a tutorial on all things DCIA in the CT MS4 permit!

UConn CLEAR worked with DEEP to identify a few methods to determine DCIA. The Mapping section has the details.

This DCIA tutorial also goes over ways to determine DCIA:

An impervious area is considered disconnected when the minimum amount of the "Water Quality Volume" is retained on site. For sites with DCIA < 40% - retain the first 1 inch of rainfall. For sites with > 40% DCIA – retain the first ½ inch of rainfall.

You can retain stormwater on site in many ways as long as it infiltrates the ground or is reused without a surface or storm sewer discharge. In most cases, disconnection will be achieved through the use of Low Impact Development (LID) practices like rain gardens, bioretention areas, pervious pavements, green roofs, etc. It can also be accomplished by simply directing runoff to a vegetated area such as a lawn rather than into the stormwater system.

Water Quality Monitoring

Every two years, CT DEEP submits an Integrated Water Quality Report (IWQR) to the U.S. EPA listing all known impairments to the state's waterbodies.
NEMO developed a CT MS4 Map which shows the impaired waters data from the 2016 IWQR. Now you can see Connecticut's impaired waters on a map and easily find a waterbody's impairment just by clicking on it. The map only shows the impairments related to stormwater since those are the one's that apply under the MS4 permit.

Additional resources:
This handy-dandy decision tree should help you figure out which outfalls have to be screened and for what. For more information, visit the monitoring section of the website.
DNA testing is available to determine sources of fecal bacteria here. The case studies are older but the technology is widely used today.
The idea of IDDE screening is that all tests (except bacteria) can be done on location in the field. Sampling for either free chlorine or total chlorine is acceptable. DEEP is looking for detectable chlorine and the test kits or strips should have a lower detection limit of 0.1 mg/l or less.