Assessing Municipal Operations as a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Management Strategy

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Across the United States, federal and state policy on surface water quality is actively expanding to require local governments to address non-point source pollution from stormwater runoff into impaired streams. Many local governments have recently initiated their local comprehensive stormwater programs in order to meet minimum measures of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater program for Phase I and Phase II communities. Water quality regulations require local governments, at minimum, to act as good stewards of the environment as urban areas age, undergo repairs or revitalization, or add new development. While the adage of ―setting a good example‖ is simple in concept, local governments and communities struggle with the process of developing their own effective and comprehensive pollution prevention/good housekeeping program to address local water quality problems and meet watershed restoration objectives. As a Phase II NPDES (or MS4) community, the City of Durham, North Carolina is responsible for complying with their state permit that allows the release of runoff into waterways from the City stormwater system. In order to foster a comprehensive and long-term commitment to preventing pollution by the City‘s municipal operations, the Stormwater Services Division (SSD) in Durham‘s Public Works Department identified the need to outreach to other city departments that undertake municipal maintenance activities.

Through document and media review combined with email, phone or in-person interviews with stormwater professionals, this project first examines existing concerns, attitudes, approaches and resources available for local governments to utilize when self-evaluating their own municipal pollution prevention/good housekeeping practices. Towards the second part of this project, a municipal operations survey was developed in consultation and on the behalf of SSD staff, targeted for the staff of the Landscape Maintenance Division of Durham‘s General Services Department. This initial internal survey serves as a step in needs assessment, a documentation process whereby SSD staff can gather baseline information on current municipal maintenance activities and practices that stand to impact water quality. By identifying current practices and possible information gaps, the SSD staff will be better equipped to develop and customize targeted training sessions on pollution prevention for all City employees.





Mohammad, Basma A. (2009). Assessing Municipal Operations as a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Management Strategy. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

Dukes student scholarship is made available to the public using a Creative Commons Attribution / Non-commercial / No derivative (CC-BY-NC-ND) license.