Stormwater pollution can be a challenging water quality issue. Rainwater and snowmelt run off of land surfaces and pick up fertilizers, dirt, pesticides, oil, grease, and many other pollutants. This runoff carries pollution into storm drains that directly connect to streams and lakes.
Stormwater runoff is the most common cause of water pollution. Because stormwater pollution comes from many different activities on the land, traditional regulatory controls do not always work. Instead, education and outreach are key activities to reduce stormwater pollution. Everyone can take actions to reduce stormwater pollution, either by reducing the potential for pollution or by slowing or stopping the flow of rainwater or snowmelt.
The MACC received a grant in December 2016 from the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area (CFHZ) to support the development of a green stormwater vision for the Macatawa Watershed. A draft of the vision was submitted to the CFHZ on December 1 with the final grant report. The document includes information about the various types of green stormwater infrastructure, relationships to water quality and transportation, a brief discussion of economics, and a strategy to implement the vision. The document will likely be updated after review and input from community stakeholders, but the draft version of the vision can be viewed here. Click here for Appendix C, draft conceptual designs.
In late 2014, the Macatawa Watershed Project worked with a local designer to develop a Stormwater Guidebook for the Macatawa Watershed. The Guidebook was based on one developed by the Rogue River Watershed, located north of Grand Rapids, that was designed as a resource for Township Planning Commissions to provide information about ways to incorporate storm water friendly practices into local planning, zoning and ordinances. The Guidebook was made available to the Townships in the Macatawa Watershed both in hard copy and digital formats. The digital guidebook can be viewed here.
In response to the growing need for stormwater quality protection, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a phased stormwater control program: Phase I targeting large Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) operators and Phase II targeting approximately 5,000 small to medium-sized MS4 operators and as many as 200,000 construction sites (1 to 5 acres). Several communities within the Macatawa Watershed are designated as a small to medium-sized MS4 and must complete the Stormwater Phase II NPDES requirements to comply with the Stormwater Phase II EPA Final Rule. These size designations were based on the 2000 Census Urbanized Area Map.
The EPA controls stormwater and sewer overflow discharges through its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). The NPDES provides guidance to municipalities and state and federal permitting authorities on how to meet stormwater pollution control goals as flexibly and cost-effectively as possible. In Michigan, the state permitting authority is the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality.
In March 2003, regulated MS4 operators in the Lake Macatawa watershed were required to obtain authorization to discharge storm water under the Stormwater Watershed Based General Permit MIG619000, Stormwater Discharges from MS4s subject to Watershed Plan Requirements. This permit, valid for 5 years, expired April 1, 2008. The 2003 permit was extended through the 2013 permit cycle, which is currently in process. The 2013 permit is being gradually rolled out on a watershed basis over a number of years. The Macatawa Watershed MS4 communities will applied for 2013 permit coverage in 2017 and are currently awaiting permit approval.
Communities with Phase II Storm Water Permit Coverage:
In response to the EPA regulations, these communities began developing a plan for compliance in 2000 by creating a Stormwater Committee that was comprised of representatives of all communities in the watershed. Together, this committee worked on developing the application and associated plans required for submittal to the MDEQ in March 2003. In November of 2003, the above communities became Permittees after their applications were approved and they received their Certificates of Coverage for discharging stormwater under NPDES General Permit MIG619000.
The Macatawa Watershed Project has been a member of this committee representing the goals of the watershed for water quality issues, in addition to assisting with public education and participation.
Some general requirements of the General Permit include:
For more detailed information about municipal storm water permitting go to the MDEQ Stormwater Website