Phase II Storm Water Regulations
Since the Clean Water Act (CWA) was passed in 1972, the quality of our nation’s waters has improved dramatically. Despite this progress, however, degraded water bodies still exist. The U.S. EPA estimates that 40 percent of our nation’s waterways remain polluted, and storm water runoff is a leading cause. To protect and improve the nation’s waterways, the U.S. EPA has issued storm water regulations for urbanized areas that require communities to reduce pollutants affecting water quality through storm water runoff.
Phase I regulations of the U.S. EPA’s storm water program were established in 1990 under the CWA. Phase I regulations apply to “medium” and “large” separate storm sewer systems serving populations of 100,000 or greater. Phase I regulations included cities like Lexington and Louisville in Kentucky. Phase II Storm Water Regulations went into effect in 1999, requiring smaller cities and towns not already covered by the Phase I regulations to reduce pollutants in storm water runoff. Over 30 cities and portions of unincorporated Boone, Campbell and Kenton counties in Northern Kentucky were designated as Phase II communities.
, to download a map of SD1's storm water service area.
Phase II Storm Water Permit Compliance
The Northern Kentucky Regional Storm Water Management Program was developed to comply with Phase II Storm Water Regulations. SD1, with assistance from local city and county leadership, manages these regulations on behalf of Northern Kentucky. All Northern Kentucky communities designated as Phase II communities are co-permittees of SD1’s Phase II Storm Water Permit, with the exception of the City of Florence and the City of Cold Spring, which have been issued separate Phase II Storm Water Permits by the Kentucky Division of Water. Though SD1 and the City of Florence are under separate permits, both utilities regularly partner on common storm water initiatives, especially those with regional impacts.
There are six compliance pieces, referred to as minimum control measures (MCMs), in the Phase II Storm Water Regulations. These include:
- MCM 1: Public Education and Outreach
SD1 has developed a strong public education program, targeting schools, community leaders and residents of Northern Kentucky through a variety of outreach activities.
SD1 has worked with local teachers and curriculum coordinators to develop storm water curriculum that is taught in over 50 Northern Kentucky elementary schools. Additionally, SD1 conducts field trips to Public Service Park for students who complete the five-lesson Environmental Unit, which provides an interactive opportunity for students to learn the importance of protecting water quality.
SD1 regularly communicates with community leaders through e-newsletters, presentations and other publications to raise awareness of storm water-related issues.
To educate residents of Northern Kentucky on the importance of storm water management, SD1 produces a number of publications, such as bill inserts and brochures that focus on water quality and the Regional Storm Water Management Program. Additionally, SD1’s website provides important information on storm water and water quality-related topics.
- MCM 2: Public Participation
SD1 strives to engage residents of Northern Kentucky and provide opportunities for participation in storm water management activities. SD1 has formed a Storm Water Advisory Committee to provide feedback on the implementation of the Regional Storm Water Management Program. Additionally, SD1 is a member of the Northern Kentucky Household Hazardous Waste Action Coalition, which hosts annual collection events for household waste such as paint, oil and electronics, all of which have the potential to negatively impact water quality. SD1 also sponsors creek and river cleanups, such as the Ohio River Sweep, on a regular basis to encourage Northern Kentucky residents to actively protect regional water quality.
- MCM 3: Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
SD1 has developed an Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Program to identify, investigate and enforce correction on illegal discharges of pollutants to the storm sewer system. Illegal discharges include the dumping or disposal of spills and residential, commercial or industrial wastes into the storm sewer system. To learn more about illicit discharges and SD1’s Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Program, click here.
- MCM 4: Construction Site Storm Water Runoff Control
Regulations are in place for development projects to ensure that soil disturbed during construction is not washed into the storm sewer system or local waterways. Soil and sediment are major waterway pollutants because too much can make the water cloudy, degrading water quality and harming wildlife. Controls such as silt fence and rock check dams are utilized to prevent sediment from entering local waterways.
- MCM 5: Post-Construction Storm Water Management in New Development and Redevelopment
Regulations are in place for development projects to ensure that water quality is addressed once construction is completed. Natural controls like vegetated swales and rain gardens manage storm water runoff by soaking up and filtering runoff from parking lots and rooftops, protecting water quality.
- MCM 6: Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations
Northern Kentucky cities and counties work with SD1 to ensure that municipal facilities and roadways do not contribute to storm water runoff pollution. To protect water quality, SD1 and Northern Kentucky cities perform operations such as street sweeping and covering materials stored outdoors, minimizing the potential for contaminating storm water runoff with pollutants associated with municipal operations.
SD1 and the Northern Kentucky cities and counties have entered into Interlocal Agreements to establish the roles and responsibilities of each party in regards to Phase II regulations. These roles and responsibilities are further defined in Northern Kentucky’s Storm Water Management Plan
, which outlines how Northern Kentucky will comply with the Phase II Storm Water Regulations. The management plan contains task lists for each MCM and delegates responsibility to SD1 or the cities and counties. The management plan is updated as Phase II regulations are updated.
Cities and counties that are a part of the regional program include Alexandria, Bellevue, Bromley, Covington, Crescent Springs, Crestview, Crestview Hills, Dayton, Edgewood, Elsmere, Erlanger, Fort Mitchell, Fort Thomas, Fort Wright, Highland Heights, Independence, Kenton Vale, Lakeside Park, Ludlow, Melbourne, Newport, Park Hills, Silver Grove, Southgate, Taylor Mill, Union, Villa Hills, Wilder, Woodlawn and portions of unincorporated Boone, Campbell and Kenton Counties.
As each Phase II Permit is issued, SD1 must compose several reports to show compliance with the permit regulations. Each time the permit is reissued, SD1 must update Northern Kentucky’s Storm Water Management Plan to outline how SD1 and co-permittees will comply with the regulations for the duration of the permit. Additionally, SD1 must prepare and submit an annual report to Kentucky Division of Water (KDOW) to document what activities, regulations and policies SD1 and co-permittees have developed to meet the requirements of the Phase II Permit each year. The "Year in Review" summary documents found below highlight a variety of the storm water related activities documented in the annual report sent to KDOW. To view full copies of the annual reports, click here.
For more information on Northern Kentucky’s Regional Storm Water Management Program, call SD1’s main office at 859-578-7450.
For more information on the U.S. EPA Phase II Storm Water Regulations, click here
to view links to a series of fact sheets. For specific information about the Storm Water Phase II Rule's six minimum control measures, click here