Municipal Small Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s)
Over the past decade, the Northwest Arkansas Regional Planning Commission has partnered with the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Cooperative Extension Service (UACES) to assist communities, counties and the University of Arkansas in Washington and Benton Counties to meet EPA’s Phase II stormwater regulations. In urbanized areas, stormwater picks up pollutants and flows, untreated, through Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), into local creeks, streams and lakes. To prevent harmful pollutants from being washed or dumped into a storm drain system, the USEPA requires that jurisdictions obtain permits to properly manage and discharge stormwater. On August 1, 2015, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality issued the third consecutive five-year MS4 Stormwater General Permit which mandates that each of 21 regulated jurisdictions in Northwest Arkansas develop and implements their own stormwater management program to reduce the contamination of stormwater runoff and prohibit illicit discharges.
Northwest Arkansas MS4s:
- Bella Vista
- Benton County
- Bethel Heights
- Cave Springs
- Elm Springs
- Little Flock
- Pea Ridge
- Prairie Grove
- University of Arkansas
- Washington County
Northwest Arkansas MS4 Stormwater Compliance Group
A key role of the NWARPC is coordinating regular meetings of the MS4 Stormwater Compliance Group (SCG). Composed of local MS4 representatives, NWARPC staff and the UACES, the SCG meets monthly to discuss permit compliance challenges, local stormwater education program needs and accomplishments, and regional coordination of stormwater protection efforts.
The MS4 Stormwater Compliance Group continues to be a model for other MS4s in Arkansas. The NWARPC will continue with the work of assisting the NWA MS4s, as well as others, in the development of their stormwater management programs and meeting the EPA Phase II requirements.
Regional Stormwater Education Program
The NWARPC and the individual MS4 jurisdictions sign a new Memorandum of Understanding each year in order to receive programming of the UACES for the Northwest Arkansas Regional Stormwater Education Program. A 23-member Stormwater Education Steering Committee meets annually to guide and direct the UACES’s regional urban stormwater education and involvement programs. The focus topic for 2015 was Yard Waste and Debris.
UACES programming is increasing public awareness and understanding of stormwater runoff, through the development and distribution of print and electronic educational materials, displays, mass media promotion, youth and adult education programs, and public engagement events including creek and lake clean ups. UACES staff provides Quarterly Reports and Annual Reports for the MS4s and conducts annual municipal employee trainings.