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Water: Urban

National Management Measures to Control Nonpoint Source Pollution from Urban Areas

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The full Guidance document is a very large file that may take a long time to download. The individual parts (chapters and other divisions) of the full document are much smaller files that will open quicker. Opening the smaller files is the recommended viewing method.

Publication Number EPA 841-B-05-004, November 2005

This guidance helps citizens and municipalities in urban areas protect bodies of water from polluted runoff that can result from everyday activities. These scientifically sound techniques are the best practices known today. The guidance will also help states to implement their nonpoint source control programs and municipalities to implement their Phase II Storm Water Permit Programs.

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How can the Urban Management Measures Help Improve Water Quality in Your Watershed?


What YOU can do!

Why is EPA concerned about water quality in urban areas?

The National Water Quality Inventory: 2000 Report to Congress identified urban runoff as one of the leading sources of water quality impairment in surface waters. Urban sources can also contaminate ground water.

What are the urban sources and pollutants of concern?

People and their actions are the most significant sources and causes of urban runoff and pollution.

Uncontrolled or treated runoff from the urban environment and from construction activities can run off the landscape into surface waters. This runoff can include such pollutants as sediments, pathogens, fertilizers/nutrients, hydrocarbons, and metals. Pavement and compacted areas, roofs, and reduced tree canopy and open space increase runoff volumes that rapidly flow into our waters. This increase in volume and velocity of runoff often causes stream bank erosion, channel incision and sediment deposition in stream channels. In addition, runoff from these developed areas can increase stream temperatures that along with the increase in flow rate and pollutant loads negatively affect water quality and aquatic life.

Other common sources of urban pollution include improperly sited, designed and maintained onsite wastewater treatment (septic) systems, pet wastes, lawn and garden fertilizers and pesticides, household chemicals that are improperly disposed of, automobile fluids, road deicing/anti-icing chemicals, and vehicle emissions.

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What is EPA doing about urban nonpoint source pollution?

Providing resources such as this guidance that provide a systematic, watershed approach for identifying and reducing pollution from urban activities, and working with state, local, and tribal governments, as well as industry and environmental groups, to reduce nonpoint source pollution.

How does this guidance relate to the NPDES Storm Water Permit Program?

This guidance is intended to provide information for all urban and urbanizing areas, including those covered by the NPDES Storm Water Permit Program. Specific comparisons of the nonpoint source management measures described in this guidance to the six minimum control measures to be addressed for the NPDES Phase II Permit Program are described in the introduction.

Does the information in this guidance represent regulatory requirements?

No. Use of the management measures and practices in the guidance is strictly voluntary. Many of the practices identified, however, could be used by municipalities to develop and implement their NPDES Storm Water Management Plans.

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What YOU Can Do!
What can I do about urban nonpoint source pollution?

Read and encourage the use of the guidance and the techniques it describes. You can also learn more at the following sites:

How do I know whether the guidance will be helpful to me?

Check the table of contents and the overview, and skim a few chapters. Because the guidance is free, there's no cost for you to look at it. If you're in an urban or urbanizing municipality, whether or not you're regulated under an NPDES Storm Water Permit, you'll find many useful management practices and techniques to help control pollutants in runoff.

Where can I get a copy of the guidance?

You can receive a free copy of this guidance by contacting the National Service Center for Environmental Publications via phone at 1-800-490-9198 or via the Web site and requesting Publication # EPA 841-B-05-004. Hard copies of this guidance are expected to be available in January 2006; requests prior to its release will be added to a wait list and automatically sent out when available.You can also download the document using the links below.

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The Guidance

Note:The full Guidance document is a very large file that may take a long time to download. The individual parts (chapters and other divisions) of the full document are much smaller files that will open quicker. Opening the smaller files is the recommended viewing method.


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