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What’s an MS4, and why should I care?

By John Betsch
Last year SoutholdVOICE initiated a self-funded “Only Rain in the Drain” campaign locating drains, recording pertinent data and installing over one hundred medallions on drains leading to our creeks, wetlands and bays throughout the Town, to remind the public of the effect of storm water pollution.

This Year we have stepped up to be a Cooperating Partner with the Town in their New York State mandated MS4 Storm Water Program (officially known as NYS DEC SPDES General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Water Systems).

What Is a “Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System” (MS4)?

“Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System” is specifically defined in the federal rules and includes ditches, curbs, gutters, storm sewers, and similar means of collecting or conveying runoff that do not connect with a waste water collection system or treatment plant. To be a “Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System” (MS4), the system must be owned or operated by a public agency, for example: the Town of Southold.

The Town now has six mandated minimum control measures they must address as part of MS4, and as a Cooperating Partner, SV expects to be deeply involved in the several of the Town’s MS4 Program measures. I expect us to be involved in four of these:

Public Education and Outreach

Public Participation and Involvement

Illicit Discharge Detection and elimination

Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping

We, as waterfront property owners, should reap considerable benefits from this New York State mandated effort. As storm water problems are noted and remedied, our creeks and bays will improve in water quality to everyone’s benefit.

As waterfront property owners and marine stakeholders, we have a unique opportunity –

Waterfront property Owners can be the eyes needed in uncovering and noting issues/problems at road ends, storm drains and other areas that others overlook, and we will have the opportunity reap the benefits of increase storm water management of these problems as they affect our creeks/bays.

SoutholdVOICE has a representative on Town’s Storm Water Management Committee and can provide an avenue for every member to present their concerns with storm water issues.

It is to your benefit to be heard! Email SoutholdVOICE@gmail.com with any storm water issues that you are aware of and we will bring it to the Storm water Committee for discussion.

John Betsch

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