whatIsMs4WHAT IS MS4?


MS4 and the United States

Under the 1987 Clean Water Act Amendments, the U.S. EPA developed new regulations to address storm water that might impact water quality. These new "Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System" (MS4) regulations were set up in two Phases dependent upon population and are enforced by the U.S. EPA, and more specifically in Indiana, through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM).

MS4 and Indiana

Within Indiana, Phase I dealt with areas serving an urban population of greater than 100,000 people and in Indiana affected only Indianapolis. Phase II has also been implemented and affects nearly 200 MS4 entities within the state.

MS4 designation includes cities, towns, universities, colleges, correctional facilities, hospitals, conservancy districts, homeowner's associations and military bases located within mapped urbanized areas, as delineated by the U.S. Census Bureau, or, for those MS4 areas outside of urbanized areas, serving an urban population greater than 7,000 people. In addition to these generalized criteria, designation of MS4 entities is potentially determined by other factors, including population growth and documentation which indicates water quality impairments.

MS4 Requirements

To meet the new requirements each designated MS4 entity was required to obtain a permit from IDEM. The initial permit period runs for five (5) years. The permit application required the development of a Storm Water Quality Management Plan (SWQMP) which is basically an action plan for the MS4 entity to institute six requirements, or minimum control measures (MCM):

  1. Public Education and Outreach
  2. Public Involvement and Participation
  3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
  4. Construction Site Storm Water Runoff Control
  5. Post-Construction Storm Water Management in New Development and Redevelopment
  6. Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations Maintenance.