Stormwater Coalition

What is the Western New York Stormwater Coalition?
What is stormwater?
What is stormwater pollution?
What is the difference between a sanitary sewer and a storm sewer?
What pollutants are found in storm drains?
What is being done?

Erie County, New York Western New York Stormwater Coalition

A partnership to protect water quality

A number of communities in Western New York have joined together to develop a stormwater management program to protect our waterways and enhance our quality of life. The goal of the Western New York Stormwater Coalition (WNYSC) is to utilize regional collaboration to identify existing resources and develop programs to reduce the negative impacts of stormwater pollution. The purpose of this web site is to enhance public knowledge and awareness of stormwater pollution and provide information to individuals and households to prevent stormwater pollution and protect water quality.

To download public education materials or to obtain additional information concerning stormwater pollution prevention, visit: http://www.erie.gov/environment/compliance/pollution_sw2.asp

What is stormwater?

Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that does not soak into the ground. It flows from rooftops, over paved areas, bare soil, and sloped lawns. As it flows, stormwater runoff collects and transports soil, animal waste, salt, pesticides, fertilizers, oil and grease, debris and other potential pollutants.

What's the problem?

Rain and snowmelt wash pollutants from streets, construction sites, and land into storm sewers and ditches. Eventually, the storm sewers and ditches empty the polluted stormwater directly into streams and rivers with no treatment. This is known as stormwater pollution.

Polluted stormwater runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals, and people.

  • Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow. Sediment also can destroy aquatic habitats.
  • Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms. When algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic organisms can not exist in water with low dissolved oxygen levels.
  • Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often making beach closures necessary.
  • Debris - plastic bags, six-pack rings, bottles, and cigarette butts - washed into waterways can choke, suffocate, or disable aquatic life such as ducks, fish, turtles, and birds.
  • Household wastes such as insecticides, pesticides, paint solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life. Land animals and people can become sick or die from deating diseased fish and shellfish or from ingesting polluted water.

A sanitary sewer system and a storm sewer system are not the same.

Water that goes down a sink or other inside drain flows to either a wastewater treatment plant or to a septic system for treatment. Storm sewer flows are not treated. Water that flows down driveways, streets, and outside areas and into a storm sewer or ditch flows directly to the nearest creek, fish and wildlife habitats, downstream recreational areas, and drinking water supplies.

There are many types of pollutants that find their way into storm drains.

Some common pollutants found in storm sewers and creeks include:

  • Litter
  • Motor oil
  • Animal waste
  • Yard clippings
  • Soapy car wash water
  • Fertilizers and pesticides
  • Eroded sediment from construction projects

It's important to remember that any type of surface water runoff, not just rainfall, can run into the storm sewer and collect in the stormwater management system. For example, when you wash your car on the driveway, that water ends up in the system. That's why we need to be careful with what we put into the storm sewers, traces of all this material can end up in the stormwater system.

To learn more about preventing stormwater pollution, contact the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning at (716) 858-6370 or download the Household Guide to Preventing Stormwater Pollution.

What is being done?

Town of West Seneca Stormwater Management Program
Under the Phase II Stormwater Regulations, the United States Environmental Protection Agency established a municipal stormwater management program to improve our Nation's waters by reducing the quantities of pollutants that stormwater picks up and carries into storm sewer systems during a storm event. The Town of West Seneca has been identified as an owner and operator of a Municipal Seperate Storm Sewer System (MS4) and is subject to the Phase II Stormwater Regulations.

The Town of West Seneca, in partnership with the Western New York Stormwater Coalition (WNYSC), has developed a Stormwater Management Plan which is essentially a guidance document to address six minimum control measures that are required under the stormwater regulations. The Stormwater Management Plan includes Best Management Practices for each minimum control measure as well as specific tasks to achieve and maintain compliance.

The six Minimum control measures are as follows:

  1. Public Education and Outreach on Stormwater Impacts
  2. Public Involvement/Participation
  3. Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination
  4. Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control
  5. Post-Construction Stormwater Management
  6. Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations

Portions of the work are provided through the collective efforts of the Western New York Stormwater Coalition members. The remaining work is the responsibility of the Town of West Seneca. For specific information on the Town of West Seneca's Stormwater Management Program, please contact David Johnson at 716-558-3220 or email: DHJohnson@ClarkPatterson.com

The Western New York Stormwater Coalition has developed nine educational brochures to assist target businesses with preventing stormwater pollution. To view a brochure in PDF format, click on the title listed below:

  1. Automotive & Related Industries
  2. Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control
  3. Concrete & Mortar Operations
  4. Roadwork & Paving Concrete & Mortar Operations
  5. Food & Restaurant Industries
  6. Pools, Fountains & Spas
  7. Mobile Cleaners: Carpet, Upholstery Cleaners, Janitorial Service Providers
  8. Hospitals, Medical Treatment Centers & Healthcare Facilities
  9. Pesticide Application, Lawn Care and Landscaping

View Stormwater Management Plan

View annual report

For more information:
Visit Erie County Environment and Planning