Stormwater Runoff

Citizens can help report violations or problems they notice in their local streams before they cause more damage and pollution. You may be the first to recognize “illicit”, nonpermitted discharges – typically any flows other than rainwater – being directed into storm sewers or out of pipes into streams. “Dry weather flows”, defined as flows from stormwater outfall pipes after a 48 hour period without rain, should also be reported to your municipality for further investigation.

New stormwater regulations from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) require that your municipality investigate more thoroughly potentially illicit discharges into our streams. You can help by promptly reporting the following events to the authorities listed below.

  • Sediment leaving a constru tion site during rain events and other violations
  • Observed pollution event or pollutants in stream
  • Clogged or leaking sewer lines
  • Inadequately treated discharges from sewage treatment plants
  • Dumping, spills or other directed discharges (other than rainwater) into storm sewers or streams
  • Dry weather flows from outfall pipes into streams
  • Fish kills
  • Water main breaks

What is Stormwater Runoff?

Stormwater runoff is precipitation from rain or snowmelt that flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces such as streets, sidewalks, and driveways prevent stormwater from soaking into the ground. As stormwater flows over the ground, it can pick up chemicals, debris, dirt, and other pollutants that enter the storm sewer system.

Why is it a concern?

Once pollutants from stormwater enter the storm sewer system, they are discharged untreated into local streams and waterways. These are the same bodies of water that we use for drinking, fishing, and recreation.

What are the effects of Stormwater Runoff?

  • Polluted stormwater can lead to an overall decline in stream health that results in a negative impact to fish, wildlife, and recreation.
  • Increased volumes of stormwater entering streams due to impervious surfaces, preventing infiltration and increasing runoff, can lead to erosion of stream and lake banks. This in turn results in large amounts of sediments entering our waterways. Higher volumes of water entering our waterbodies also leads to flooding.
  • Sediments cloud water, makes it difficult for aquatic plants and animals to survive.
  • Excess nutrients, often a result of fertilizer runoff from our lawns, causes algal blossoms. When algae dies and decompose, the process removes oxygen from the water. Fish and aquatic organisms cannot live in water with low oxygen levels.
  • Bacteria, often from dog waste left on the ground, can wash into local streams and create a health hazard.
  • Debris and trash that is left on streets, sidewalks, and parking lots is washed into our waterbodies degrading them aesthetically and harming wildlife that use the water as a home.
  • Pollution from stormwater degrades streams and waterways used for drinking water. This can affect public health and lead to increased costs to treat the water.

Contact Numbers and Information

Water Quality Hotline

(484) 250-5900

Water Quality Complaints

(484) 250-5901

Chester Water Authority

Broken Water Mains

(610) 876-8181

Southern Delco Sewer Authority

Clogged or leaking sanitary sewer lines; sewage smell in creek; illegal discharges into creeks or storm drains.

(610) 485-6789

PA Fish and Boat Commission

Fish Kills

(717) 626-0228