In response to the 1987 Water Quality Amendments to the Clean Water Act, EPA published the rules for Phase I of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) storm water program in 1990. The Phase I program requires municipalities with populations of 100,000 or greater to implement a stormwater management program as a means to control discharges from the “Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System” (MS4). The NPDES stormwater program is a permit based program that established requirements that municipalities must meet to discharge storm water from MS4s to the nation's surface waters. The City of Omaha is operating under a Phase I permit issued October 1, 2003.
In March 2003, EPA initiated the Phase II program, which required smaller MS4s located in urbanized areas to implement a storm water management program. Douglas County, Sarpy County, Elkhorn, La Vista, Ralston, Bellevue, Papillion, Girls and Boys Town of Omaha are operating under a Phase II permit issued August 1, 2004.
Storm water management programs for both Phase I and Phase II, require that communities reduce the discharge of pollutants to the “maximum extent practicable”. The regulations require that the management program address (at a minimum) six elements, that when implemented are expected to result in significant water quality benefits. Review the six elements below: