MS4 Program Aims to
Minimize Pollutants in Storm Sewers
When it rains, street inlets collect surface water runoff and convey these flows through storm sewer pipes directly to the river and streams without treatment. Pollutants are picked up as runoff enters the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) and can cause serious water quality issues. The MS4 Program, which is required by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), is designed to minimize the discharge of pollutants to the storm sewer system by implementing best management practices and minimum control measures as approved in the City’s Storm Water Quality Management Plan (SWQMP). Elements of the SWQMP include: Public Education, Outreach, Participation & Involvement, Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination (IDDE), Construction & Post-Construction Site Stormwater Runoff, and Municipal Operations Pollution Prevention & Good Housekeeping.
To report a stormwater quality issue, contact the Engineering Department.
Erosion/Sediment Control & Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP)
One element of the MS4 Program is to manage the pollutants associated with Construction & Post Construction Site Stormwater Runoff. Land disturbing activities in the City of Mishawaka shall adhere to the requirements of the City’s Erosion Control Ordinance and IDEM’s Construction Stormwater General Permit (CSGP), including the approval of an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan, now referred as a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP). To initiate the review of a SWPPP, please submit a complete plan in duplicate to the Planning Department along with an Erosion Control Application.
When preparing a SWPPP, please reference and use the IDEM SWPPP Development Guidance Document. Other helpful IDEM stormwater permitting links include Construction Plan Submittal and Review, Construction / Land Disturbance Permitting and Step by Step Process for Compliance with the CSGP.
In addition to the SWPPP, a Notice of Intent (NOI) must be filed with IDEM via the IDEM Regulatory ePortal. Guidance on the ePortal use can be found at Regulatory ePortal Guidance for Construction Stormwater Online. To complete the NOI submittal process, the applicant shall attach the SWPPP Technical Review and Comment Form provided by the City of Mishawaka Engineering Department after review and approval.
For questions regarding any of the above information, contact the Engineering Department.
Sign Campaign to Raise Awareness
In conjunction with the Michiana Stormwater Partnership (MSP), the City of Mishawaka placed street signs near all major river and stream crossings within the city limits. The signs include the water body’s name, and the slogan “A Resource Worth Protecting.” The signs are intended to alert travelers of the abundant surface water bodies in the area and serve as a reminder to keep these vulnerable resources clean and free of pollutants. An example of the signs is shown to the right.
Protection under the Clean Water Act
The Clean Water Act of 1972, administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was implemented to protect our nation’s water supply. As part of this effort, the EPA established the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System Program, known as MS4. Both the City of Mishawaka and Bethel University have been designated as MS4 entities and must comply with the MS4 program requirements. Mishawaka and Bethel have partnered as co-permittees under the MS4 program, sharing responsibilities for program implementation.
Water Quality and the St. Joseph River
The St. Joseph River is a major waterway, with its course winding for more than 200 miles in northern Indiana and southern Michigan before emptying into Lake Michigan. Polluted runoff from urbanized areas, agriculture, and construction causes physical changes to the river’s channel. This can harm fish and wildlife populations, kill native vegetation, produce foul drinking water supplies and impair recreational uses. The MS4 Program is in place to help minimize this and improve water quality of the St. Joseph River and contributing tributary streams.