November 16, 2023
Did you know November 16 is recognized as National Stormwater Day? The National Municipal Stormwater Alliance (NMSA) nationalstormwateralliance.org has established November 16 as “National Stormwater Day”. This date commemorates November 16, 1990, when the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase I Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) program was promulgated in the Federal Register. Since 1990, thousands of communities have developed MS4 programs and implemented millions of stormwater control measures collectively to address urban runoff pollution. National Stormwater Day not only recognizes the establishment of the MS4 program, but also celebrates and highlights the many efforts around the country to increase the awareness of stormwater.
What exactly is stormwater and why is it an important topic? Stormwater is water that originates from precipitation, including heavy rain and meltwater from hail and snow. Stormwater can soak into the soil and become groundwater, be stored in ponds and puddles, evaporate back into the atmosphere, or contribute to surface runoff. Most runoff is conveyed directly as surface water to nearby streams, rivers or other large water bodies (wetlands, lakes and oceans) without treatment. In natural landscapes, such as forests, soil absorbs much of the stormwater. Plants also reduce stormwater by improving infiltration, intercepting precipitation as it falls, and by taking up water through their roots.
In developed environments, such as cities, unmanaged stormwater can create two major issues: one related to the volume and timing of runoff (flooding) and the other related to potential contaminants the water is carrying (water pollution). In addition to the pollutants carried in stormwater runoff, urban runoff is being recognized as a cause of pollution in its own right. Stormwater is also an important resource as human population and demand for water grow, particularly in arid and drought-prone climates. Stormwater harvesting techniques and purification could potentially make some urban environments self-sustaining in terms of water.
A central mission of NMSA is to raise public awareness of the stormwater sector and increase the level of understanding of stormwater as a resource. NMSA is hosting a fee webinar on November 16, 2023, from 1-2:15 p.m. (Eastern Standard Time) that will feature speakers from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Water Environment Federation and the American Society of Civil Engineers. This event will reflect on stormwater quality approaches and improvements over the last three decades and the work yet to be done. Get more information and register for the free webinar at https://stormwater.day.
Source: Nationalstormwateralliance.org/stormwaterday/ and Wikipedia.org