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Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit

Information about Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit.

Protection of the Rio Grande and improving our storm water quality is of paramount importance to the City of Albuquerque and a priority for the citizens that we serve. As a result the City has applied for and received a Phase I Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit.

The City of Albuquerque and its three co-permittees (the Albuquerque Metropolitan Arroyo Flood Control Authority [AMAFCA], the University of New Mexico [UNM], and the NM Department of Transportation [NMDOT]) are currently regulated by Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) National Pollutant Discharge and Elimination System (NPDES) through the Phase I MS4 Permit. The City and its co-permitees received their first permit in 2003. The first five-year permit expired at the end of November 2008 and the second MS4 permit was issued in March 2012.

The EPA is currently working on a Draft Watershed Based Pilot (WBP) MS4 permit that could be issued later this year. This permit will be one (1) of three (3) pilot WSB in the United States. Under the new permit there could be as many as twenty (20) co-permitees. The EPA believes that a WBP permit approach will be more beneficial when it comes to enhancing the water quality in the Middle Rio Grande Watershed.

Minimum-Control Measures

The City's MS4 permit has requirements that fall within six (6) Minimum Control Measures (MCMs) that must be described and implemented in a Stormwater Management Program (SWMP). These are:

  1. Public Education and Outreach on Storm Water Impacts: Intended to educate the public of the potential for pollution and the benefits of improving the water quality in the Rio Grande.
  2. Public Involvement/Participation: Intended to identify various opportunities for the public to get involved in improving the water quality in the Rio Grande.
  3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination: Program to find and eliminate non-storm water discharges that are sources of pollution that are harmful to the Rio Grande habitat.
  4. Construction Site Storm Water Runoff Control/ Industrial & High Risk Runoff Management: Monitor and minimize the release of pollutants, sediment, trash, and debris from construction sites during construction activities.
  5. Post-Construction Storm Water Management in New Development and Redevelopment including the implementation of Low Impact Development (LID) practices: Implement LID practices in an effort to reduce the amount of storm water runoff that can leave a site and enter the City's storm drainage system.
  6. Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations: Program to ensure that City facilities storm water controls/Best Management Practices (BMPs) are maintained and inspected on a regular basis. In addition, this program provides training to City employees on the best practices for daily maintenance and operations activities to minimize the introduction of various pollutants into the City's storm drain system.

Citizens Blue Ribbon Committee

In an effort to receive public input and share information about the City's MS4 permit a Citizen Blue Ribbon Committee was formed through the Mid-region Council of Governments (MRCOG). The Purpose of Committee was to discuss issues regarding compliance with the permit under the federal Clean Water Act, and to formulate recommendations for consideration by the MS4 co-permittees in order to effectively implement the Albuquerque stormwater management program in conformance with the EPA's six minimum measures.

Storm Water Management Section also provides guidance and training to local engineers, planners and contractors in the planning and implementation of storm water quality control measures for construction projects installed within the City of Albuquerque.

MS4 Publications

For more information on the City's MS4 permit please reference the following documentation:

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