Richland Soil and Water

Stormwater Non Point Discharge System (NPDES) in Richland County

In addition to requirements Richland County landowners follow for earthmoving activities through the Richland County Stormwater and Erosion Control Program, communities that have 1000 or more people per square mile must follow the Stormwater Non Point Discharge System (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) (NPDES) General Permit for Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) to further effectively manage water pollution. The Richland County Commissioners are mandated by Ohio EPA to create and manage this added accountability for stormwater runoff. The NPDES (MS4) communities in Richland County are:  City of Mansfield, City of Ontario, Village of Lexington, Madison Township, Mifflin Township, Springfield Township and Washington Township.

NPDES/MS4 Areas Map

Stormwater runoff is generated when rain and snowmelt events flows over land or impervious surfaces and does not percolate into the ground. As the runoff flows over the land or impervious surfaces (paved streets, parking lots, and building rooftops), it accumulates debris, chemicals, sediment or other pollutants that could adversely affect water quality if the runoff is discharged untreated. The primary method to control stormwater discharges is the use of best management practices (BMPs). In addition, most stormwater discharges are considered point sources and require coverage under an NPDES/MS4 permit. 

Water pollution degrades surface waters making them unsafe for drinking, fishing, swimming, and other activities. Authorized by the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program for MS4 controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes or man-made ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES/MS4 permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters. In most cases, the NPDES/MS4 permit program is administered Ohio EPA. Since its introduction in 1972, the NPDES permit program is responsible for significant improvements to our Nation's water quality. These regulations require designated communities to develop and implement a storm water management plan. This is accomplished by implementing six minimum control measures. 

  1. Public Education — BMPs for MS4s to inform individuals and households about ways to reduce stormwater pollution.
  2. Public Involvement — BMPs for MS4s to involve the public in the development, implementation, and review of an MS4's stormwater management program.
  3. Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination — BMPs for identifying and eliminating illicit discharges and spills to storm drain systems. Learn more about how to test for an IDDE.
  4. Construction — BMPs for MS4s and construction site operators to address stormwater runoff from active construction sites.
  5. Post-construction — BMPs for MS4s, developers, and property owners to address stormwater runoff after construction activities have completed. 
  6. Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping — BMPs for MS4s to address stormwater runoff from their own facilities and activities. 

In general terms if there is land disturbance within our NPDES/MS4 communities, the owner must come into our office with approved engineered plans illustrating how this change to the land will not violate federal laws. Our office can provide detailed steps of how a land use change can while still being in compliance and how to work with EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) directly.

Richland Soil and Water Conservation District assists communities with a variety of public education, outreach, involvement and participation programs to help meet the requirements of the local MS4 management plan. These programs include electronic newsletters, social media platforms, website updates and workshops.

2022 Stormwater Theme: Trees-Reduce & Clean Stormwater

This year we will be sharing with you how trees help manage stormwater and other benefits trees provide. Did you know, trees are the most productive filters on the planet, starting from their canopy down to their roots? They help improve water quality in streams, rivers, and lakes by reducing flooding and minimizing chemical/ sediment runoff. The tree’s canopy acts as a large umbrella capturing rainwater as it falls. This reduces the speed and amount of precipitation that reaches the ground and becomes stormwater runoff. A tree’s root system takes in various pollutants and reduces the effects of erosion. An average tree can catch and hold onto 700 to 1000 gallons of rainwater a year. (Multiple Sources)
To find out an estimate of what the tree outside your window may be doing for you and the environment go to My Tree. This estimator tool will give you information such as carbon dioxide sequestered, stormwater runoff avoided, air pollution removed each year and a valuation of the carbon Dioxide stored to date.
Riparian forest buffers filter sediments from streams during storm events, remove nitrogen and phosphorus leached from adjacent lands, provide stability to stream banks, shade and modify stream temperatures, provide aquatic and wildlife habitat for many species, reduce stream velocity, and reduce downstream flooding.
Protected riparian buffer widths vary from 10 feet to provide some bank stability to 250 feet plus to provide flood mitigation, wildlife habitat, and recreation. While riparian areas continue to be preserved and restored across the state, mature wooded buffers are destroyed during new construction or by misguided landowners.
It's time we understand and talk about the role trees, forests, and healthy soils play in keeping our waters clean and reducing stormwater runoff and flooding instead of just mentioning how trees beautify a community. The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has recently included urban tree planting as one of the control measures that MS4 (Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems communities can use to meet the TMDL (total maximum daily load) requirements that have been established to meet their water quality improvement goals. Source: Penn State University Extension 
The benefits of trees are numerous, but here are a few related to stormwater.
Runoff from urban stormwater (non-point source pollution) washes chemicals (oil, gasoline, road salts, fertilizers, and other lawn chemicals) from hard surfaces such as roadways and parking lots into streams, wetlands, rivers and oceans. Drinking water, aquatic life and the health of our entire ecosystem can be adversely affected by this process.
Trees act as mini reservoirs, controlling runoff at the source. Trees help to reduce runoff by:
·        Intercepting and holding rain on leaves, branches, and bark.
·        Increasing infiltration and storage of rainwater through the tree’s root system.
·        Reducing soil erosion by slowing rainfall before it strikes the soil.
·        Tree roots hold the soil in place and prevent sediments, (another major component of non-point source pollution) from entering lakes and streams. Source:  Tree City Bulletin no. 55, Tree City Bulletin no. 57 
To find out more about Trees - Reduce and Clean Stormwater and the MS4 program, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 419-747-8077.

Only Rain Down the Drain Introduction Video

Only Rain Down the Drain Demonstration Video

Learn about the Water Cycle Runoff and more in this interactive video from The Eastern Washington Stormwater Outreach project 

Learn about Rain Barrels

Learn about Impervious Areas

Stormwater Themes