MS4 Permit Reminder – for Phosphorus and Nitrogen Impaired Waters

There is an additional public education & outreach message that needs to be issued, and for the Summer, the messages should be tailored around Pet Waste and proper disposal.   


If you haven’t already completed this messaging we have some examples provided here for downloading, and they can be posted to your Town’s Stormwater Website, and/or through your Social Media accounts. 


The Central MA Stormwater Coalition, Neponset River Watershed Association and North & South Rivers Watershed Association also actively post on their Facebook pages.

Check them out, and see if you’d like to share what they have!

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Stormwater Management Regulations

In order to comply with the requirements of the EPA's MS4 General Permits, and protect the water quality of our surface and groundwaters, the Town of Rockland adopted Stormwater Management Regulations in of 2020. These regulations are in alignment with the Massachusetts Stormwater Handbook, and its Stormwater Standards, and apply to runoff created by industrial, commercial, institutional, office, residential and transportation project activities. Please take the time to review them and contact us with any questions.

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection - Stormwater Handbook & Standards


In an attempt to regulate the discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States, the National Pollution Discharge Elimination Program (NPDES) was created as part of the Clean Water Act. The program gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate discharges into the nation's waters by setting limits on the effluent that can be introduced into a body of water from an operating and permitted facility.

Starting in 1990, the EPA began requiring certain Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) operators to obtain discharge permits under Phase I of the NPDES Program as a means to regulate discharges from municipal sources. These municipal sources are made up of the Stormwater Network (Catch Basins, Drainage Manholes, Pipes, Outfalls, etc.) used to collect and dispose of stormwater by municipalities. The original MS4s were large cities and counties with populations of 100,000 or more but soon after, the EPA also started requiring small MS4s, such as the Town of Rockland, to obtain a discharge permit under Phase II of the NPDES Program.

MS4 Program Information

Stormwater runoff collects many types of substances including oils, fertilizers, chemicals, waste, sand & grit, containing hazards that may discharge directly into our local bodies of water or infiltrate into the ground and pollute our groundwater supply. Unlike wastewater, stormwater usually gets minimal treatment before it is discharged. This has a negative effect on the general water quality of our natural resources to the detriment of recreational activities, fisheries & aquaculture, wildlife and our water supply.

The NPDES Phase II Stormwater Permit requires owners/operators of Small MS4s to “develop, implement and enforce a Stormwater Management Program (SWMP)” that addresses discharges from their system by focusing on the following areas, which they refer to as the six “minimum control measures”:


Construction Site Runoff Control

Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE)

Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping (for Municipal Operations)

Post-Construction Control Runoff

Public Education and Outreach

Public Involvement and Participation

Related Documents

In this area, we will upload documents related to our efforts as we continue to work on meeting the deadlines set by the permit:

Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP - Updated September 2020)

Appendix H: Current Stormwater Regulations

Appendix K: Year 2 Updates

Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) Plan

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) - DPW Facility

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) - Transfer Station

Operations & Maintenance (O&M) Plan

O&M Plan Attachment #1 - Stormwater Maps (1 of 2)

O&M Plan Attachment #1 - Stormwater Maps (2 of 2)

Objectives and Activities

The EPA, as the regulatory agency for Massachusetts MS4s, has established a multi-year approach for owners/operators to achieve the requirements of the NPDES Phase II Permit. The Town of Rockland filed a Notice of Intent (NOI) with the EPA for coverage under the Small MS4 General Permit issued for Massachusetts and were granted authorization to discharge in accordance to the conditions of said permit.

The next steps will involve the development and implementation of a variety of policies and activities, related to the six minimum control measures, to enhance and protect the water quality of our Town.

What can I do to help?

As a resident of Rockland, we need your assistance and commitment to improve our water quality. Some of the things you could do to help are:

ThinkBlue Massachusetts

North South River Watershed Association

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