Did You Know?

What is MS4?

MS4 stands for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System. These drains are not combined sewer systems and are not connected to the wastewater treatment plant. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management Agency (IDEM) defines MS4s as conveyances owned by a state, city, town, or other public entity that discharge to waters of the United States and are designed or used for collecting or conveying storm water. Regulated conveyance systems include roads with drains, municipal streets, catch basins, curbs, gutters, storm drains, piping, channels, ditches, tunnels, and conduits.

MS4 conveyances with in urbanized areas have one of the greatest potentials for polluted stormwater runoff. The Federal Register Final Rule explains the reason as: “urbanization alters the natural infiltration capacity of the land and generates…pollutants…causing an increase in stormwater runoff volumes and pollutant loadings.” Because of the increased population and proportionally higher pollutant sources, urbanization results “in greater concentration of pollutants that can be mobilized by, or disposed into, stormwater discharges.”

Did You Know…

The behavior of individuals contributes MORE to water pollution than business, industry, and large public enterprise.

Who is Regulated

The federal Clean Water Act requires stormwater discharges from certain types of urbanized areas to be permitted under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. The Clean Water Coalition of the Wabash Valley includes the City of Terre Haute, Vigo County, West Terre Haute, Seelyville, the Honey Creek-Vigo Conservancy District, ISU, Rose-Hulman, and Ivy Tech. We operate under IDEM Permit #INR040092 and work together with a common goal of reducing polluted stormwater runoff from our urbanized areas

Did You Know…

A typical city block generates more than 5 times more runoff than a wooded area of the same size.

Helping the Wabash River

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), IDEM and local governments are currently addressing these challenges by focusing on some of the major sources of water pollution such as urban streets, parking lots, farms and septic tanks. They are implementing best management practices to reduce polluted runoff as well as launching new initiatives to educate people and motivate them to change their own personal behaviors to help in the effort.
This problem is so widespread that it will require the efforts of individuals and communities nationwide to fight polluted runoff. Many people don’t realize that many of the things that they do every day at their homes and businesses contribute to polluted runoff. It is these behaviors that we are striving to bring to their attention and encourage them to change in order to help improve the situation in Vigo County.
The Clean Water Coalition of the Wabash Valley is currently working to educate local students, homeowners, and businesses on how small adjustments to their current practices can make an immense difference in the amount of pollution they contribute to our waterways. Public education and awareness is the first step to major progress in this battle against pollution.

What Can You Do to Help?

The City of Terre Haute would like to incorporate the help of its citizens in preventing illegal dumping and illicit discharges from being deposited into our storm drainage system.
Illicit discharges are generally any discharge that is not composed entirely of clean, pollutant-free water into a storm drain, stream, river, or other bodies of water. Illicit discharges can be in the form of fertilizers, pesticides, sediment, vehicle fluids (motor oil, gasoline, and antifreeze), paints, solvents, soaps and detergents, trash, grease, sewage, and pet waste. Illicit discharges are a problem because, unlike wastewater that flows to a wastewater treatment plant, stormwater generally flows from the storm drains to the waterways without any additional treatment. These pollutants can significantly degrade the water quality of our rivers and streams and threaten aquatic species, wildlife, and human health.

Take Action

Public input is an important component of our program. We rely on our concerned citizens and visitors in our City to take the time to help our community prevent and eliminate stormwater pollution problems. We will investigate all incidences of stormwater pollution that are brought to our attention.


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