The City of Martinsburg is a Phase II MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) community. Martinsburg’s Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) was submitted to WVDEP on March 8, 2004 and amended on April 18, 2005.
The SWMP document outlines the City’s program to develop, implement and enforce a stormwater management program designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants to the maximum extent practicable, to protect water quality, and to satisfy the appropriate requirements of the Clean Water Act in accordance with the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Phase II Program.
The SWMP addresses the six minimum control measures as required by state regulations.
The City has legal authority to fully implement its SWMP.
The City currently uses monies from the general fund to fund the operation and maintenance of the stormwater system and to perform capital improvements. The City currently has limited financial resources to develop, implement and enforce the six minimum control measures.
The WVDEP NPDES Permit coverage area is intended for the City corporate limits.
The six minimum controls are:
1. Public Education/Outreach
2. Public Participation/Involvement
3. Illicit Discharge Detection/Elimination
4. Construction Site Runoff Control
5. Post Construction Runoff Control
6. Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping
Stormwater Collection & Conveyance
The City of Martinsburg’s stormwater collection and conveyance system consists of various curb gutters, drop inlets, and over 50 miles of gravity storm sewer mains that convey the storm water to outlets along Tuscarora Creek, or in the case of the combined segment, to the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Since stormwater is collected and conveyed, in both separate and combined storm sewer systems, the City of Martinsburg is classified by the US EPA as a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System and a Combined Sewer System.
Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System
During precipitation events water that falls upon impervious areas such as roof tops, streets, sidewalks, and parking lots will transport pollutants from these surfaces to the Tuscarora Creek. To reduce this pollutant loading to the stream, the City of Martinsburg has adopted various best management practices such as routine street/curb cleaning, rain garden construction, and rain barrel workshops.
Combined Sanitary/Stormwater System
During precipitation events water that falls upon impervious areas such as roof tops, streets, sidewalks, and parking lots will transport pollutants from these surfaces to the city’s wastewater treatment plant. To address this additional loading at the treatment facility, the City of Martinsburg maintains a Stormwater Management Plan that constantly addresses the pollution entering the collection system while maximizing the capacity of both conveyance and treatment systems during storm events.
Stormwater runoff involves water not absorbed by the ground when it rains. Due to urban expansion, this has become a growing concern as manmade impervious surfaces, such as rooftops, parking lots, and roads increase stormwater runoff. This is now considered one of the leading causes of water pollution.
In an effort to protect life, property and the water environment from loss, injury and damage caused by storm and surface water, the EPA has designated Martinsburg, like many other cities and counties across the state, as a “Phase II” stormwater community. According to the Clean Water Act, a Phase II designation requires cities to actively manage stormwater to the new EPA standards or face significant penalties.
Ordinance 2010-17: Article 937 of the Codified Ordinance relating to Stormwater Management and Surface Discharge Control
Ordinance 2013-17: The Stormwater Management Ordinance of the City of Martinsburg
Martinsburg’s stormwater management plans include a program to improve and expand drainage systems in the urban watershed, construction site runoff control and post-construction stormwater runoff management from new developments located in the watershed. The new program will also meet all of the new federal requirements, including the following:
- Control illicit discharges to storm drain systems.
- Reduce pollutants in stormwater discharges.
- Control stormwater runoff by providing design, construction and maintenance criteria for permanent and temporary stormwater facilities.
- Maintain and improve the stormwater collection system in order to protect and improve water quality in the receiving streams and to reduce or eliminate local flooding resulting from stormwater accumulation.
- Promote public education and outreach on stormwater pollution and prevention methods.
What You Can Do to Help
Some of the most common household activities can have an unhealthy impact on our water quality, from washing the car to killing weeds. Each time it rains, stormwater, or water not absorbed by the ground, carries pollutants into our waters. Here are some tips to help keep our waters clean.
Agriculture & Lawn Care
- Manage animal waste to minimize contamination or surface water and ground water, and obey local animal waste laws.
- Keep leaves, grass clippings and other debris away from storm drains, gutters and waterways. These outlets drain directly into lakes, streams and rivers and can contribute to harmful algae blooms and fish kills.
- Run your mower with the vent closed. Clippings left on the lawn can dramatically reduce the need for additional nitrogen (from fertilizers).
- Choose plants, trees and other landscaping elements that will do well in your area with little watering.
- Start a compost pile of leaves and grass clippings to serve as a naturally rich fertilizer and mulch. Otherwise, bag leaves and grass and set out for pick-up.
- Whenever possible, protect drinking water by using less pesticides and fertilizers.
- Dispose of pesticides, containers and tanks according to directions on containers.
- If you spill an engine degreaser, oil, brake fluid, tire cleaner or anti-freeze, do not hose it off. It will then eventually reach local streams and lakes. Instead, sprinkle sawdust, cornmeal, cat litter or a commercial absorbent over the spill. Let soak and sweep up.
- Consider taking your car to a car wash or washing it on the grass, where the ground can absorb water and pollutants can be filtered.
- Fix any car leaks to avoid contaminating our watershed with oil. One quart of motor oil can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of water.
- Dispose of oil, antifreeze, paints and other household chemicals properly and according to instructions on containers.
Conservation & Prevention
- Save hundreds of gallons of water with ease by putting a spray nozzle on your hose and turning off the hose between rinses.
- Ask carpet cleaners, painters and contractors how they keep pollutants from entering the groundwater system.
- Before draining swimming pool, let the water stand until it no longer contains chlorine and other pool cleaners.
- Clean and maintain boats away from water. Use a drop cloth and vacuum paint chips and dust.
- Fuel up cars and boats carefully.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens when it rains?
Rainwater runs across impervious surfaces (parking lots, roofs, streets, etc.) and collects in the City’s storm sewers. Most of this water then travels directly into our streams and rivers. Occasionally, excess rainwater overwhelms the storm sewers, or these facilities fail to function as designed. The water then floods into our homes, businesses and streets. In some locations (depending on the age and design of the storm and sanitary sewers) rainwater may overflow out of the storm sewer system and into an adjacent sanitary sewer system. These excess flows are sometimes discharged directly into the watershed.
What are we required to do with the stormwater?
The Federal EPA has designated Martinsburg as a “Phase II” stormwater community. This means that the City must actively manage stormwater to the new EPA standards. Martinsburg is subject to significant penalties if we fail to comply with the Federal requirements.
What are the benefits of stormwater management?
By enacting stormwater management, we will comply with Federal and State requirements. This also means that we will improve the water quality in our urban watershed. Other benefits may include flood control, a significant reduction in pollution caused by surcharged sanitary sewers, improved watershed planning, public education and the improved maintenance, repair and expansion of our stormwater collection system.
Isn’t this service paid for out of my taxes?
Historically, stormwater management has been funded out of the City’s general revenue fund. Compliance with the new Federal standard requires considerable additional funding. Additionally, to support new construction in our city, we must provide for new stormwater management oversight and facilities. Without additional efforts toward stormwater management, urban development in and around Martinsburg will degrade the quality of our water, and thus our quality of life. To date, the City of Martinsburg has and will continue to rely on funds from the general revenue fund for stormwater management. However, in the future, the City may consider utilizing state legislation which authorizes cities to establish a stormwater utility, whereby separate fees may be collected to fund and operate stormwater activities, such as administration and capital improvements.