NPDES Phase II Program/Storm Water Quality

Maintaining the health of our lakes, rivers, streams and wetlands is important for many reasons. Recreation, aesthetics, wildlife habitat, environmental quality and general health are a few respectful purposes. Minnesota is a state full of precious water resources, and it is of best interest to maintain their integrity.

There are factors that make conserving the well-being of these water resources a challenge. They include:
  • Increase in urban and rural development
    • More disturbed soils-this increases the likelihood of wind and water erosion
    • Increase in impervious surfaces-less water will naturally infiltrate into the ground; thus, more will run off into the storm sewer system and into waters of the state
    • Increase in environmental degradation-environmental quality in the given area tends to be reduced due to construction activities
  • Improper practices of citizens
    • Illicit discharge
    • Waste and refuse
    • Lawn care practices
NPDES Phase II Permit Program
With the intent to more effectively accomplish this water quality measure, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) devised the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II permit program. This is an expansion of the Phase I program. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) is the state agency responsible for enforcing the provisions.

Compliance
The City of Andover is required to comply with the regulations set forth by the MPCA. There is a General Permit, which authorizes the city to discharge storm water into waters of the state, pending the guidelines are respected. Waters of the state include lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands, ponds or any structure that holds water. Thus, the city prepared a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Program (SWPPP), which includes Best Management Practices (BMP’s) addressing these guidelines. BMP’s are activities undertaken to improve storm water quality. The overall goal is to improve the quality of storm water runoff.

Control Measures
Six Minimum Control Measures (MCM’s) need to be addressed. They are:
  • Public Education and Outreach
  • Public Participation and Involvement
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
  • Construction Site Storm Water Runoff Control
  • Post Construction Storm Water Management
  • Municipal Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping
The SWPPP consists of a number of BMP’s for each MCM. Some BMP’s satisfy more than 1 MCM. There are 1 or more Measurable Goals (MG’s) for each BMP. MG’s gauge the effectiveness of the BMP.

Responsibilities of City Departments
Most city departments have at least some type of role in this program. Each BMP has 1 or more departments responsible for its implementation. The following breaks down each department and summarizes their roles:

Engineering
  • Administers and coordinates the program
  • Educational components
  • Construction site inspection and enforcement process
  • Erosion control and tree protection measures
  • Storm water management treatment;
  • City code formulation per the permit specifications
Planning
  • Plat review process
  • Code enforcement
  • City code formulation per the permit specifications
Building
  • Construction site inspection and enforcement process
  • Construction site debris storage and maintenance enforcement
  • Soil stabilization through sod installation or seeding enforcement
  • City code formulation per the permit specifications
Public Works
  • Street sweeping
  • Sanitary sewer maintenance and cleaning
  • Storm sewer inspection program
  • Storm drain system cleaning
  • Automobile maintenance and training program
  • City code formulation per the permit specifications

Avoid leaving soils exposed, especially near a water body

An example of a water body with no vegetative buffer

Sediment buildup in the street and gutter

Sediment that has deposited into the street

The City's "vac" truck used to clean its storm sewer infrastructure

Truck used to clean out storm sewer lines

Eagle Scouts planting a native tamarack tree in a City park

Kids planting a native tamarack tree at a park

Silt fence acting as tree protection and erosion control

Slit Fence acting as tree protection and erosion control
A storm water retention pond
Disturbed Soil

Coon Creek

A stream

A sunset over a small lake

Trees and a lake
REMEMBER TO REPORT ILLICIT DISCHARGES TO THE ENGINEERING DEPARTMENT AT 763-755-5100
Role of Residents in Program
In order to accomplish the goal of improved water quality, it will take strong effort amongst all. Residents of the community need to become aware of the concerns associated with improper management of our water resources. An increased awareness will often lead to an increased concern, which will lead to an increased value and respect.

The following list outlines some actions that will help in the process:
  • Use proper lawn care and landscaping measures
    • Use a mulch mower-This will allow nutrients to be returned to the grass.
    • Don't cut grass too short-Taller grass is healthier and will help prevent weeds from growing.
    • Water only when necessary-Respect the City's water bans.
    • Keep grass clippings and leaves from getting onto impervious surfaces-Doing this will prevent the material from getting carried into storm sewer systems and eventually polluting waterways.
    • If you use fertilizers on your lawn, follow directions on the label and use phosphorus-free fertilizer-Fertilizers containing phosphorus cannot be used on lawns, unless you are establishing a new lawn or a soil test indicates that it is needed. Excessive amounts of fertilizer may run off and pollute our waterways. Phosphorus, especially in high quantities, is a pollutant to waterways. It causes algae blooms, which decreases water quality by lowering the dissolved oxygen content.
    • Avoid leaving soils exposed-Exposed soils have the greatest potential for wind and water erosion.
    • Plant native trees, shrubs, grasses and wildflowers-Having a "golf course" appearance lawn tends to be very inefficient, high maintenance and unproductive. Native plantings are multi-beneficial; some include soil stabilization, less runoff, food, cover, and habitat for wildlife, aesthetics and restoration.
  • Don't litter. Pick up litter when you see it and properly dispose of it.
  • Avoid washing your car in your driveway
    • Take it to a contained car wash facility-Soap, car greases, oils, sediments and other toxic discharges could end up flowing into the storm sewer system.
  • Keep the gutter and street free of soil and debris
    • Sweep up the area in front of your property if debris is present. 
  • If you live along a river, lake, stream or other water body, leave a vegetative buffer along the edge
    • Doing this will help with water quality because vegetation will absorb runoff.
  • If you have a pet, pick up waste while on a walk or in your yard.
  • Keep your vehicle well-tuned
    • Don't allow fluid leaks to get into the storm sewer system. Use an absorbent if you notice a leak, and properly dispose.
  • During recreational activities, respect natural, undisturbed lands and wildlife
    • While using All-terrain vehicles (ATV's), stay on the designated trails-Going "off-roading" can cause multiple environmental problems such as erosion, wildlife habitat loss, and can kill vegetation such as trees and shrubs.
  • Use lead-free sinkers, lures, etc. while fishing if possible
    • Lead is a toxin, and lead sinkers are very harmful to common loons, ducks, geese and even eagles, that mistake them for food.
Additional Information
To request a copy of the City of Andover's SWPPP, MPCA General Permit or if you need any other information or have comments or questions, please call the Natural Resources Technician at 763-767-5137.

Also, please report any cases of illicit discharges to the Engineering Department at 763-755-5100 and erosion violations or similar issues to the Natural Resources Technician at 763-767-5137.  The following links have more information on storm water quality: