Ongoing compliance with MS4 permits is among the most critical aspects of maintaining clean stormwater systems within your community.
The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires municipalities that are MS4 permit holders to conduct ongoing monitoring and reporting.
There are six minimum control measures expected under MS4 permits:
Fehr Graham experts are versed in best practices and available to help municipalities with all stages of monitoring and reporting. Our team has provided this service for years to the City of Aurora, Illinois.
In Aurora, we identified six sites – three along the city's portion of the Fox River and three along Indian Creek – for quarterly sampling. We collect water samples from those locations and submit them for analysis, looking for specific nutrients and chemical properties that indicate whether stormwater regulations are being followed.
In addition to quarterly samples, we also conduct sampling within 24 hours of rainfall of a quarter inch or more. That gives us insight into potential runoff problems. We collect those samples from two additional locations on the Fox River, one on Blackberry Creek and three along Waubonsee Creek.
We provide a report to the City of Aurora, which submits the data to the Illinois EPA in compliance with its MS4 permit. If any problems become evident through the testing, Fehr Graham works with City officials to identify the source of contamination and rectify it.
Once a year, Fehr Graham completes a physical inspection of 40 locations along Aurora waterways, looking for pipes leading water into its creeks and rivers. We inventory any pipes we see to make sure they are permitted. Because we began this process by creating an initial map of all outfalls, it is easy to identify if one has been added – with or without the City's consent.
As we conduct the physical inspection, we look at each outfall for odor, condition, and whether water is flowing out or the pipe is dry. We're also looking for anything out of the ordinary, such as evidence that dirty laundry water or construction debris is making its way into the waterway. We take the time to trace any areas of concern back to the source and stop inappropriate water disposal.
Each of these steps is critical to maintaining clean, fresh water for the public and wildlife to enjoy throughout our communities. It can require some extra effort, but being good stewards of our natural resources is the way we will maintain a healthy environment for our children and grandchildren in the years to come.