The Final Point
As the client manager at StormwaterGO, I spend a lot of time talking with MS4’s about the EPA, permit regulations, and training methods in regards to their Stormwater programs. Most MS4 Stormwater Managers I have talked to have three main questions: How do we stay in compliance with the permit? How do we train all our city personnel? How come the EPA requires that we train this personnel?
Since our company deals specifically with stormwater, my co-workers and I discuss these issues in great detail. In one of these discussions, I realized that our perception, and those of many MS4’s, is skewed. Those of us who work in stormwater tend to ask how: How are we going to train people? Instead of asking why: Why do we need to stay in compliance with the permit? Why do we train all our city personnel? Why does the EPA require that we train these people? And more importantly, why do we even have Stormwater Programs?
In 1972 congress passed the Clean Water Act (CWA) to combat the growing pollution of U.S. waters in the ’60s and early ’70s. Since the Clean Water Act of 1972 the nation has made some headway in preserving the physical, chemical, and biological integrity of the nation’s water bodies. However, despite this headway, a recent study by the EPA shows that 53% of U.S. water bodies are impaired. Of those impaired waters, more than 48,000 miles are caused by Urban Related Runoff/Stormwater. To put that in perspective, the circumference of the earth is 24,901 miles. Although 48,000 miles is eclipsed in comparison with other pollutant sources it is still 48,000 miles more than it should be.
Although protecting our waters from pollutants can sometimes seem a trite and overused motive it is the reason for a Stormwater Program. It is the reason we write permits to stay in compliance with, the reason we train our employees, and the reason that the EPA requires us to do so. We conduct these programs, not just for the environment’s sake, but for our sake and for the sake of those who come after. That is the ultimate goal, the final point of the Stormwater Program.