Stormwater is rainwater and snowmelt that does not infiltrate into the ground. Stormwater runoff picks up pollutants from the surface of the land and enters our lakes and streams either directly or by passing through a system of sewer pipes and ditches, often with little or no treatment. By increasing the quantity of impervious surfaces such as rooftops, streets and parking lots, urbanization leads to greater quantities of stormwater runoff and an acceleration of stormwater pollution. This fact has led to the regulation of stormwater discharges in urbanized areas by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and in New York State, by the Department of Environmental Conservation.
Albany County owns and operates a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) carrying solely stormwater, which is distinct from the sanitary sewer system; throughout most of Albany County, this stormwater runoff does not go to a sewage treatment plant. The County is required under State and Federal regulations to maintain coverage under a General Permit administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) to discharge stormwater via its MS4. The General Permit (SPDES GP-0-10-002), mandates the development and implementation of a Stormwater Management Program Plan (SWMPP) addressing six Minimum Control Measures that are identified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as components of a successful stormwater runoff control strategy:
- Public Education and Outreach
- Public Involvement and Participation
- Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
- Construction Site Runoff Control
- Post-Construction Stormwater Management
- Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping of Municipal Operations
The Albany County Department of Public Works is responsible for implementation of the County’s SWMPP. The Commissioner of Public Works is the designated Stormwater Program Coordinator for Albany County, and the Department houses a Stormwater Program Technician dedicated to tasks pertaining to all aspects of the stormwater program, including but not limited to regular inspection of the stormwater conveyance system, development of Best Management Practices for the County’s facilities to prevent stormwater pollution, development and review of Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans for construction projects affecting the County’s road system, and recordkeeping and reporting for all aspects of the County’s SWMPP. The Stormwater Public Contact is housed within the Albany County Office of Natural Resources, and provides support to the stormwater program through a number of planning, outreach, and technical assistance efforts. Click here to learn more.
Albany County is a member of the Albany County Stormwater Coalition and is host to the Coalition staff. Albany County DPW works closely with the Coalition to collaboratively implement a broader stormwater management program for the urbanized portions of Albany County. The Stormwater Coalition is a self-governing organization of 13 municipal entities regulated as MS4s, and is dedicated to efficient, cost-effective and consistent compliance with the MS4 stormwater regulations in Albany County. More information on the Stormwater Coalition, and what you can do to help reduce stormwater pollution and protect local water resources, can be found at the Coalition’s website.
The Albany County MS4 Stormwater Program Annual Report is part of the Stormwater Coalition’s annual report, available for review and comment on the Stormwater Coalition website.
- Albany County DPW Administers Local Law K of 2007 Prohibiting Discharge of Contaminants to the Stormwater Conveyance System
Questions or comments about the stormwater program can be directed to:
Robert Gunther, Stormwater Program Technician
To report an illicit discharge, spill or water quality concern on an Albany County highway, please call (518) 424-4028.