Under the 1987 Clean Water Act Amendments, the U.S. EPA developed new stormwater regulations to address storm water that might impact water quality. These new regulations were set up in two Phases depending upon population. Phase I, which affected municipalities with 100,000 or more in population that did not have combined sewers included Allentown and Philadelphia. Phase II of the regulation affected about 1,000 additional municipalities in Pennsylvania. Those municipalities that are located within and “urbanized area” as defined by the 1990 Census and the 2000 Census were required to apply for a National Pollutant Discharge Eliminations System (NPDES) permit to discharge stormwater from their municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). Many municipalities in Berks County are included in this Phase II NPDES Permitting.
The Berks County MS4 Steering Committee was formed prior to the end of the previous NPDES permit cycle to address the permit requirements on a regional level. The BC MS4 Steering Committee was developed at the beginning of the Phase II permitting process in 2003. The committee was formalized in 2012 prior to the current permit renewal.
The Steering Committee, member municipalities, along with the educational partners (Berks County Planning Commission, Berks County Conservation District, Berks County Conservancy) provide the Berks County Cooperative Education Program. This program was developed to meet the education and outreach permit requirements for the NPDES program. The cooperative education program focuses on portions of the 6 minimum control measures related to education and outreach.