Note: A link to the updated SWPPP requirements is now available under Related Documents.
What is Stormwater
Stormwater is precipitation (rain or snow) that travels across:
- Parking lots
What is carried by Stormwater?
Stormwater can pick up:
- Pet Waste
Where Does Stormwater Go?
Stormwater moves across impermeable and semi-impermeable surfaces; resulting in polluted runoff. Eventually this runoff makes its way into our lakes, rivers, streams and estuaries, and since it is often contaminated with pollutants, stormwater is one of the major contributors to water pollution in the United States, and of special concern to waters such as the Long Island Sound and the South Shore Estuary Reserve which surround the Town of Brookhaven.
Results of Runoff
Polluted stormwater runoff, also known as non-point source pollution, often results in:
- Declining shoreline aesthetics
- Degraded wetlands and wildlife habitats
- Impaired recreational opportunities
- Poor water quality
- Reduced navigability
- Restricted bathing beach access
- Shellfish bed closures
The Clean Water Act
In 1972, the Federal Clean Water Act was adopted to improve the quality of our Nation’s waters. The Act sought to accomplish this by minimizing and eliminating what are commonly referred to as “point sources” of pollution, sources of pollution that originate from a pipe or other specific points of discharge. Though there were significant improvements in water quality since the inception of this Act, water pollution remained a problem in our local waterways.
The Clean Water Act was subsequently amended to address non-point sources of pollution, and beginning in 1990, any municipality with a population greater than 100,000 was required to implement programs and practices targeted at reducing non-point sources of pollution. This was referred to as Phase I. In 2003 Phase II was implemented which required all municipalities, including the Town of Brookhaven, to implement programs and practices which combat non-point source pollution.
In 2003, Phase II was implemented which required all municipalities, including the Town of Brookhaven, to implement programs and practices which combat non-point source pollution. The goal of the Phase II program is to reduce the impacts of stormwater runoff thereby improving water quality, enhancing recreational enjoyment of our waterways, preventing beach closures, and ensuring that seafood is safe for human consumption.
In New York, the Phase II program requires all regulated municipalities to maintain a permit from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) for the discharge of stormwater runoff into surface waters. This permit is commonly referred to as the SPDES (State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s). The Town of Brookhaven operates under SPDES permit # NYR20A411. As a condition of this permit, the Town of Brookhaven must develop and implement a comprehensive stormwater management program that includes mandated programs and practices in the following six categories:
- Public Education and Outreach (MCM1)
- Public Involvement / Participation (MCM2)
- Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (MCM 3)
- Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control (MCM 4)
- Post-construction Stormwater Management (MCM 5)
- Pollution Prevention / Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations (MCM 6)
Annual Stormwater Report & Public Input
The Town of Brookhaven continues to make great strides towards implementing its Stormwater Management Program and improving the stormwater infrastructure within the town. One of the requirements of the Town’s SPDES General Permit is the annual reporting of programs and accomplishments designed to address non-point source pollution. The Annual Stormwater Report, which has a reporting period ending March 9th annually, describes actions and activities undertaken by the Town to combat polluted stormwater runoff. The public has an opportunity to review and comment on the draft report every May, prior to filing the final report with NYSDEC.
All prior year’s Annual Stormwater Reports are available for review.
The draft 2023 Annual Stormwater Report is now available for review and comment.
What is a SWPPP?
SWPPP is a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan; a plan for controlling stormwater runoff and pollutants from a site during and after construction activities. SWPPPs must be prepared by a qualified professional in the field of engineering, sediment and erosion control, or landscape architect. All land development activities disturbing one acre or greater of soil require the preparation and approval of a SWPPP. This includes redevelopment projects, and actions on previously disturbed soils.
Which Town Codes apply to SWPPP?
Chapter 86 – Stormwater Management and Erosion Control. §86A-5.A. states that stormwater runoff, natural drainage, or any means of stormwater conveyance shall not be diverted to other private or public real property, unless previously approved by an authorized body. Therefore, all new land development or redevelopment projects must be designed to contain stormwater on site.
How do I know which type of SWPPP application to submit for review?
There are three categories of SWPPP submissions in the Town of Brookhaven: Standard SWPPP; SWPPP Standard Conditional Release; and SWPPP Conditional Release Self-Certification.
Standard SWPPP – Documentation that demonstrates project’s ability to contain stormwater runoff on site utilizing NYS-approved designs and methodologies.
SWPPP Standard Conditional Release – Documentation that supports the theory that runoff from the project site cannot, by any means, discharge to waters of the State. A Conditional Release is generally for those sites in which there is a lack of surface waters, including but not limited to, ponds, lakes, and streams, in the surrounding area. Conditional releases contain a preparer’s certification statement and are reviewed for concurrence by a third-party engineering firm.
SWPPP Conditional Release Self-Certification – Documentation that supports the theory that runoff from the project site cannot, by any means, discharge to waters of the State. Conditional Release Self-Certifications contain a certification statement and are stamped by a license professional. The professional stamp indicates the professional’s assurances that the project will apply the principles and practices of SWPPP measures, as applicable.
Why does the Town conduct site inspections for SWPPP?
Inspections performed by the Town are third party inspections required of all municipalities with a SWPPP program. The purpose of the inspection is to ensure that the site complies with the project's SWPPP and that the qualified inspections are occurring as required. Qualified inspections are the responsibility of the site operator. The Town does not conduct qualified inspections as defined by the NYSDEC SPDES permit.
- In 2008, the Town of Brookhaven Town Board Adopted Chapter 86 of the Town Code: Stormwater Management and Erosion Control and Chapter 86A: Prohibition of Illicit Discharges and Connections to the Town of Brookhaven Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System
- The Town has developed Watershed Management Plans for every major watershed region in the Town of Brookhaven and seeks to implement high priority recommendations identified in these plans.
- The Town has mapped all of its stormwater infrastructure in GIS, and continuously updates stormwater infrastructure data, including catch basins stormwater pipes, natural retention areas, and outfalls to surface water.
- The Highway Department continues to install numerous retrofit projects throughout the Town to intercept stormwater and prevent it from discharging to surface water.
- The Town offers public education programs and programs for school-aged children on non-point source pollution through literature and environmental education offerings.
Looking for a community project for your group or event? For more information, contact the Town’s Stormwater Management Program Office.
Storm Drain Marking
Storm drains are not waste drains! Storm drain marking is an excellent way to educate your fellow neighbors on the connections between our neighborhoods and surface waters. The Town will provide your group with a map and a series of storm drain medallions to adhere to select drains in your neighborhood with a direct connection to surface water. This is an excellent community service project for scout groups or environmental clubs.
Pooch Bag Distribution
Pet waste is a significant contributor to water pollution. Encourage your neighborhood dog walkers to clean up after their pets by offering them tools to make the job easier. The Town will provide your group with a box of pooch bags and brochures for distribution at your community event or community center. This is an excellent community awareness project for civic groups or other community organizers.