WithersRavenel helps Newton obtain first NPDES Phase II MS4 permit issued under new era of stormwater program audits

WithersRavenel helps Newton obtain first NPDES Phase II MS4 permit issued under new era of stormwater program audits

With the help of WithersRavenel, the City of Newton, North Carolina, became the first Phase II municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) operator to provide a sufficient draft Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality. An SWMP is a key component of the MS4 permit application, and the success of this document has enabled the City to receive the first and only NPDES Phase II MS4 permit issued in the State of North Carolina since the implementation of the new audit cycle.

What is an MS4?
An MS4 is system of structures that convey stormwater runoff into local water bodies. An MS4 may consist of roads with drainage systems, municipal streets, catch basins, curbs, gutters, ditches, manmade channels, storm drains, or any combination of these, so long as it designed or used for collecting or conveying stormwater.

“This by far was the least stressful stormwater application submission that I have ever been a part of,” said the City of Newton’s Assistant Planning Director and stormwater administrator, Alex Fulbright. “We always had everything from WithersRavenel that we needed in advance of any deadlines, often before we realized we needed it.”

The application for an MS4 permit has several requirements, including developing an SWMP. The SWMP must address six Minimum Control Measures, which include the following:

  1. Public education and outreach
  2. Public participation and involvement
  3. Illicit discharge detection & elimination
  4. Construction site runoff controls
  5. Post-construction runoff controls
  6. Pollution prevention/good housekeeping
Why do some MS4s require permits?
In communities with MS4s, stormwater discharges directly into water bodies. In order to prevent pollutants that can be picked up by runoff from reaching water bodies, the Federal government requires some MS4 operators to obtain permits for their systems.

“The WithersRavenel team worked hard to make sure our permit met the State requirements,” Fulbright went on to say. “WithersRavenel reached out the State’s stormwater association to ensure that our permit did not place any unjustified burden on the City’s abilities to meet the permit requirements.”

The WithersRavenel Stormwater Team was able to help the City of Newton achieve success through extensive experience in stormwater master planning and design across the State and frequent communication between the City and the WithersRavenel team. By staying in close contact throughout the life of the project, our engineers were able to anticipate and fulfill the City’s needs.

NPDES Phase II MS4 permits must be renewed every 5 years, and permit compliance audits are a regular part of the permit renewal process. Each MS4 is audited at least once per permit term, typically around the time the permit expiration approaches. WithersRavenel looks forward to the opportunity of partnering with the City of Newton during the next audit cycle to deliver another high-quality permit application and client experience.

Do you have questions about the NPDES Phase II MS4 permitting process? Would you like assistance in preparing a successful stormwater management plan? Contact Director of Stormwater Lars Hagen for more information on how to get started.