Project MS4

Project MS4

University MS4 Program
Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems
Penn State Stormwater Initiative

The University has joined forces with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to improve the quality of stormwater runoff from Penn State property. The DEP is requiring all designated communities and other entities, such as Penn State, that operate separate stormwater systems, to implement stormwater management programs. All members of the Penn State community can help with these stormwater improvement efforts. If faculty, staff, and students can learn to make some small behavioral changes, their individual actions can have a positive effect on the water quality of our watershed. 

Flooding on grasslands

Flooding on grasslands

Image: Penn State

Stormwater is precipitation that flows across the ground and pavement. The precipitation can be in the form of rain, or snow and ice that melts and drains into what are called storm sewers. These are the drains normally seen at street corners in local neighborhoods or low spots all over the Brandywine campus. They are connected to a series of underground pipes that outlet to local streams. It’s problematic when the stormwater picks up debris, chemicals, dirt, and other pollutants as it flows across pavement or erodes stream banks. Sometimes, pollution is not picked up by stormwater runoff but enters storm drains by illegal dumping – any substances such as antifreeze, motor oil, carpet cleaning liquid, or paint can cause pollution and contaminants if improperly disposed of. These are called illicit discharges and can simply be eliminated by choosing proper disposal techniques. 

Our stormwater program includes six minimum control measures: public education, public involvement, construction and post-construction runoff management, and illicit discharge detection and elimination. There will be a new emphasis on good housekeeping and general pollution prevention. The University’s official EV01 is available online. The Brandywine stormwater policies and programs are linked below:

MCM# 1 – Public Education and Outreach Program

MCM# 2 – Public Involvement and Participation Program

MCM# 3 – Illicit Discharges Detection and Elimination Program

MCM# 4 – Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control Standards

MCM# 5 – Post Construction Stormwater Management Standards

MCM# 6 – Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping Program

Stormwater Facility Inspection Policy

Stormwater Facility Tracking Policy

Stormwater Drain Policy

Of the 24 Penn State campuses, 15 are located in areas that have been designated as "municipal separate storm sewer systems" also known as MS4s, by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This map of Pennsylvania shows these locations.

Additional MS4 information is available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's website.

In addition, the Chester Ridley Crum Creek Association (CRC) is an organization we partner with on a regular basis for education and outreach opportunities concerning stormwater management. This organization is devoted to the protection of the water resources of the Chester, Ridley, and Crum Creek Valleys in Chester and Delaware Counties, Pennsylvania.