NPDES MS4 Program

In addition to the ongoing Stormwater Management programs, other stormwater programs will be added in the future in response to the recent EPA regulations. Pursuant to the Clean Water Act, EPA has developed a number of water quality regulations. Among them is a system that permits discharges to the waters of the United States. This system, known as the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), has historically regulated point source discharges such as Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP), or industrial processes. The City currently maintains an NPDES permit for its WWTP. New regulations now require some cities to obtain NPDES permits for stormwater discharges.

The Stormwater NPDES program has been implemented in two phases. Phase I was designed for medium and large Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) and industry and Phase II is designed to focus on stormwater discharges from small MS4s. Locally, the DOE facilities fell under the Phase I requirements and currently maintain a single NPDES permit which includes stormwater discharges.

Operators of MS4s include municipalities, local sewer districts, state and federal departments of transportation, universities, hospitals, military bases, and correctional facilities. Medium and large MS4s are defined as systems that serve or are located in an incorporated place or county with a population greater than 100,000. Small MS4s are any MS4 that is not covered by the existing Phase I of the NPDES Stormwater Program as a medium or larger MS4.

Phase I, promulgated on November 16, 1990, required large, medium, and specific other MS4s to obtain NPDES stormwater discharge permits. The Phase II Final Rule was signed by the EPA Administrator on October 29, 1999, and published in the Federal Register on December 8, 1999: The Phase II Final Rule requires Regulated Small MS4s to obtain NPDES stormwater discharge permits.

How the NPDES Program Affects Oak Ridge

The City of Oak Ridge has been officially designated as a Regulated Small MS4 and is committed to effective Stormwater Management. The following are options being developed or considered in our current Stormwater Management Program:

1. Public Involvement and Education - (this website is an example)
2. Regulation Update - Oak Ridge will evaluate an update to current regulations and/or through an ordinance or other regulatory mechanism to address requirements in the Phase II MS4 program.
3. Emphasize the need to consider potential water quality impacts.
4. Have standard procedures for site inspection and enforcement of control measures
5. Establish procedures for enforcement of control measures.
6. Develop and implement strategies, which include a combination of structural and/or non-structural Best Management Practices.
7. Ensure our municipal operations are managing stormwater quality properly.

Report Pollution

If you have information about pollution being spilled, dumped, or discharged into the storm drainage system, which includes storm drains, ditches, swales, creeks, lakes, ponds, streets, or directly into a waterway, please call 865-425-1875 or email stormwater management.

When contacting us, leave as much information as possible:

  • Date of Incident
  • Time of Incident
  • Location, see note
  • Source and Type of Pollution (if known)
  • Responsible Party (if known)
  • Your Contact Info, see note
  • Photos of the event would also be helpful if available.

Note: We cannot take reports for violations that occur outside the City limits. It is helpful to have your contact information in case we need to get more information or follow up with you about the report. We understand confidentiality and will handle your information in that manner.

Examples of What You Can Report

  • Foam, bubbles, or a milky appearance in a ditch or waterway
  • A strange odor coming from a storm drain
  • Spilled or dumped auto fluids (motor oil, antifreeze, brake fluid, etc) or chemicals (paint, cleaners, etc) on the street or into a storm drain
  • Wastewater piped to a creek or ditch (i.e. from a washing machine, floor drain)
  • Washing equipment outdoors using chemicals
  • Sediment flowing off a construction site