The City’s Stormwater Management Program is committed to protecting the health and safety of its citizens and the quality of the surface waters of Maine. Because urban stormwater runoff is a major cause of water quality impairment, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has required Maine Department of Environmental Protection (MDEP) to create stormwater regulations and to issue stormwater discharge permits to 28 communities in Maine, including Brewer. There are six other communities in the greater Bangor area that have to have permits to discharge stormwater, including Brewer, Bangor, Hampden, Orono, Old Town, Milford and Veazie. The seven communities created the Bangor Area Stormwater Group as a way to help each other comply with the new regulations. The group meets monthly to discuss what the communities can do together to reduce costs of stormwater management compliance to taxpayers in the seven member group. Find the monthly meeting agenda for the Thursday, May 9th, 2013, meeting here. The meeting minutes from the March 14th meeting can be found here.
The Maine Department of Environmental Protection has discovered through surveys and focus groups that there is a lack of awareness in Maine that the most significant sources of water quality problems are the result of polluted stormwater runoff from vehicles, driveways, parking lots, pets, lawn care practices, fertilizer and pesticide use, eroding soil and other common residential, commercial and industrial activities.
Under the EPA and MDEP rules, the City of Brewer is responsible for reducing the amount of pollutants washed into local rivers, streams, brooks and wetlands. When it rains, contaminants from residential, commercial, City and industrial properties are collected by the stormwater runoff and flows into the City stormwater collections system. From there, it is conveyed directly to the Penobscot River and discharged without treatment (except for some grit removal in the City’s 1,400 catch basins). As a result, MDEP has required the City to develop, implement and enforce a Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) implementing six minimum controls measures which are designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants to the greatest extent practicable, to protect water quality, and to satisfy the appropriate water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act.
The six minimum control measures included in the SWMP are as follows:
- Public education and outreach on stormwater impacts
- Public involvement and participation
- Illicit discharge detection and elimination
- Construction site stormwater runoff control
- Post-construction stormwater management in new development and redevelopment
- Pollution prevention/good housekeeping for municipal operations
To learn more about the City’s Stormwater Management Plan, contact the Water Pollution Control Facility at 207.989.5417.