Newspaper Page Text
When It Rains, It Drains.
What is storm water?
Storm water is surface runoff in any area
due to precipitation or meteorological
events such as snow melt. Runoff gen
erally occurs as the result of overland
flow from impervious areas, during ex
tremely heavy precipitation, or from
major snowmelt or rain on frozen
The construction of new roads, build
ings, and other structures can also
change an area's ability to absorb water.
Poorly controlled storm water runoff has
the potential to significantly affect the
quantity and quality of both surface and
Penn State's participation in the MS4
program helps ensure storm water runoff
is treated to the highest degree possible.
What can you do?
Pick up trash: If you see trash on the
campus grounds that you can safely pick
up, put it in the nearest garbage can or
recycling bin to keep it from entering the
storm drain system. It's that simple.
Volunteer: Volunteering for events such
as Earth Day or watershed cleanups is a
great way to help the environment. To
take part in an existing event or develop
a new one, contact Ann Quinn at
abql @psu.ecg: ""
Never dump down drains: Storm inlets
should never be treated as garbage re
ceptacles. If left untreated, pollutants
from storm drainage systems can kill fish
and other aquatic life in our streams and
Educate others: When you hear inter
esting facts that help our environment,
spread the word. Knowledge is conta
Use care where your car is con
cerned: Make sure your vehicle isn't
leaking fluids; dispose of any old fluids at
a designated recycling point. Wash your
car on grass or gravel areas instead of
pavement areas where the runoff goes
right to a storm drain inlet.
Conserve water: Enough said!
1. True. Storm drainage systems include more than inlets and underground pipes,
even ditches or swales that convey runoff to a water body.
2. False. A fire hydrant is part of the potable water system. By law, water that comes
out of the hydrant is allowed to enter the storm water system.
3. True. A roadway inlet is an entry point for runoff to enter underground storm
4. True. A puddle is an integral part of the storm water system. Puddles allow water
to infiltrate the ground or evaporate instead of traveling directly to a body of water.
5. True. A roof gutter is an entry point for runoff to enter underground storm drain
age pipes. At Penn State, some roof leaders are directed into dry wells where the
water enters the soil or groundwater instead of going directly to a body of water.
Campus is your home away from home.
Help keep it clean and protect our water resources.
Erie The Behrend
I 6 ) College
As you're walking around the Penn State Behrend
campus in rainy weather, have you ever wondered
where the runoff from storm water goes? Just as in
the neighborhoods where many of you grew up,
the answer is that it travels to ditches, sometimes
called swales, as well as to storm drain inlets.
From these places, it moves to storm water deten
tion ponds or to wetlands where water quality is
The runoff from Penn State Behrend ultimately
travels to Four Mile Creek and in turn to Lake Erie.
You can probably see then that anything thrown
into an inlet or swale on campus could very well
end up in our Great Lake. That's why it's so impor
tant to improve the quality of storm water runoff
here at Penn State Behrend, and we need your
help to do that.
6. True. A culvert outlet is the point where runoff enters a ditch or other body of water
7. False. A toilet is part of the wastewater system, not the storm drainage system.
8. True. A green roof is one of many best management practices (BMP) that the Uni
versity uses to control storm water quality and quantity.
9. False. A septic tank is part of the wastewater system, not the storm drainage system.
Properties outside of a wastewater service area use septic systems to manage waste
water on-site; if improperly maintained, a septic tank can leak and contribute pollut
ants to a storm drainage system and bodies of water.
10. False. A basement floor drain is part of the wastewater system, not the storm drain
age system. In some older buildings, floor drains may be cross-connected into the
storm drainage system, so no pollutants should ever be placed down them.
What is the MS4 program?
MS4 is an acronym for "small municipal
separate storm sewer system," as defined by
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Under Phase II of the EPA's NPDES program,
small MS4s such as Penn State are required
to get a permit for their storm water man
agement systems. The MS4 program has six
major components: public education, public
involvement/participation, illicit discharge
detection and elimination, construction site
runoff control, post-construction storm
water management, pollution prevention,
and good housekeeping practices.
The University holds dozens of water quality
permits including small MS4 permits for its
locations throughout the Commonwealth,
including Penn State Behrend. As a partici
pant in the program, the University is install
ing these medallions on storm drain inlets:
Test your storm
Answer true or false: Which of the following
are part of a storm drainage system?
1. A ditch or swale
2. A fire hydrant
3. A roadway inlet
4. A puddle
5. A roof gutter
6. A culvert outlet
7. A toilet
8. A green roof
9. A septic tank
10. A basement floor drain
To learn more...
About Penn State's storm water man-
agement policies or MS4 program, con
tact: Larry Fennessey at (814) 863-8743
or lafB@psu.edu, or Paul Ruskin at (814)
863-9620 or email@example.com.
About Penn State Behrend's storm water
management practices, contact: John
Ream at jorl .psu.edu
About the Pennsylvania Department of
Environmental Protection's storm water
programs, visit www.dep.state.pa.us.