On June 24, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it sent orders to 85 Pennsylvania municipalities requiring improvements to their stormwater programs. EPA issued the orders to augment Pennsylvania’s efforts to ensure effective stormwater management programs are in place to improve water quality in local streams and the Chesapeake Bay.

The federal Clean Water Act requires the cited municipalities to develop and implement a program to reduce contamination of stormwater runoff and prevent illegal discharges of stormwater. EPA’s orders also require the cited municipalities to correct deficiencies with their respective Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) programs and to come into compliance with their Clean Water Act stormwater discharge permits.

The orders came just prior to the passage of Pennsylvania Senate Bill 1225 in mid-July, legislation that will help local communities reduce the costs associated with urban and suburban runoff. According to a press release from the Chesapeake Bay Program, which expressed its support, the legislation encourages local municipal officials to take into account improvements made by homeowners that will lessen the damage caused by stormwater. Those improvements would then go toward decreasing the homeowner’s stormwater fees. Improvements might include practices such as rain gardens, reducing impervious surfaces, or green roofs.