MS4 Permits and Public Engagement

Posted on Wednesday, October 28th, 2015 by
In Stormwater, tagged in Tags: ,

Last month, I attended the annual Missouri Water Environment Association Stormwater Conference in Columbia, Missouri. The Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit was a theme among many presentations. It regulates permit holders’ stormwater discharges and requires a variety of tasks, which are grouped into six minimum control measures (MCM). Permit holders are responsible for implementing all of them.

I found the public engagement sessions to be particularly interesting, specifically those discussing education and outreach (MCM 1) and public involvement and participation (MCM 2). Currently, there is a lack of understanding within the general public about stormwater, and these MCMs provide an important opportunity for MS4s to engage the public regularly. There were some great presentations on how MS4s are fulfilling MCMs 1 and 2. Some of the ideas presented included:

  • Pilot, neighborhood stormwater projects, featuring educational signage explaining the benefits.
  • In-school curriculum designed to educate elementary school children about stormwater management and water quality.
  • Watershed tours that explore the history and current characteristics of a particular waterbody.
  • The use of industry professionals to educate, train, and assist middle school students in performing water sampling.
  • Social media usage.

These strategies are effective, because they create public buy-in by localizing water quality impacts. Focusing on a local water resource and tying actions to their effects helps the public understand how daily decisions affect water quality.

At Affinis, we have experience assisting MS4’s with the implementation of quality public engagement that fulfills MCMs 1 and 2. While these efforts can vary widely in their complexity and scope, we understand the challenges of limited time and budget. We can develop a public engagement plan that is designed to maximize your project’s strengths, while making life easier for your team.

Discover more ways our water resources team delivers for our clients here.

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