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MS4 Program

About the Program

Through Indiana’s Rule 13 (327 IAC 15-13) adopted in August of 2003, Lake Station was designated as a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). This designation requires the City to comply with State and Federal laws concerning storm water quality management. The City must implement six Minimum Control Measures (MCMs) to protect storm water quality within the municipal boundary. The six MCMs include public education and outreach, public participation and involvement, illicit discharge detection and elimination, construction site storm water run-off control, postconstruction storm water run-off control, and municipal operations pollution prevention and good housekeeping. Annual reporting and periodic audits of the program are administered by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). More information on the rule establishing MS4 communities and requirements of the program can be found on IDEM’s website (link provided on this page).

Public Education and Outreach/Public Participation and Involvement

The City partners with the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission (NIRPC) for implementation of these two MCMs. NIRPC produces storm water educational materials for several partner communities and participates in many community events throughout the region. More information on the MS4 Community Partnership can be found on the NIRPC website link provided on this page.

Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination

Discharges from MS4s often include wastes and wastewater from non-stormwater sources. A study conducted in 1987 in Sacramento, California, found that almost one-half of the water discharged from a local MS4 was not directly attributable to precipitation runoff. A significant portion of these dry weather flows were from illicit and/or inappropriate discharges and connections to the MS4.

Illicit discharges enter the system through either direct connections (e.g., wastewater piping either mistakenly or deliberately connected to the storm drains) or indirect connections (e.g., infiltration into the MS4 from cracked sanitary systems, spills collected by drain outlets, or paint or used oil dumped directly into a drain). The result is untreated discharges that contribute high levels of pollutants, including heavy metals, toxics, oil and grease, solvents, nutrients, viruses, and bacteria to receiving waterbodies. Pollutant levels from these illicit discharges have been shown in EPA studies to be high enough to significantly degrade receiving water quality and threaten aquatic, wildlife, and human health. We need you to help identify illicit discharges in Lake Station.  Use the link provided at the top of the page to report an illicit discharge.

Construction Site Storm Water Run-Off Control

The City Engineer performs construction site plan reviews and on-site inspections to ensure proper practices are being used to control sediment and pollutants from active work sites.  Sites that disturb one or more acres of land are subject to review and inspection.  More information on this MCM can be found in Ordinance No. 2008-02 (document provided on this page).

Post Construction Storm Water Run-Off Control

Each permitted development site must have an operations and maintenance plan for storm water facilities.  The plan must include periodic maintenance and inspections of the storm water facility.  The City maintains the right to periodically inspect and/or sample storm water management facilities on private development sites.  More information on this MCM can be found in Ordinance No. 2008-02 (document provided on this page).

Municipal Operations Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping

The City strives to protect water quality at our facilities and through municipal operations such as street sweeping, sewer cleaning, trash collection, road salt management, and hazardous waste drop off sites.  The City is required to submit annual reports documenting municipal operations and is subject to periodic inspections by IDEM.

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