Storm Water Management Program

Photo Courtesy of Cuyahoga SWCD

Photo Courtesy of Cuyahoga SWCD


What is Storm Water? 

Storm water is water that falls as rain. Due to urbanization and development, rainwater runs off paved or compacted surfaces such as driveways, streets, parking lots, farm fields or lawns and drains down into storm drains or through open ditch systems, and empties into local rivers, streams, lakes or ponds untreated

Why Is Storm Water Important? 

Water that leaves homes, businesses, and industries through the sanitary sewer system is treated and filtered before being released into water bodies. Water that enters the storm water system is never treated or filtered before entering rivers, streams or lakes. Thus, anything that is dumped down the storm drain, goes directly to your local water body.

A Shared Responsibility for Storm Water Quality

Many activities done around the home can pollute storm water. Even simple activities like washing and maintaining your car, disposing of household cleaning and painting products, caring for your lawn, and having a pet can pollute storm water. The good news is that there are things that you, as a resident, can do to keep Portage County waterways clean! Questions? Contact the Portage SWCD.

  • Rain Barrels and Rain Gardens capture water and filter it before it leaves your yard. 

  • Vehicle Maintenance will keep gasoline and other motor oils out of our water sources.

  • No mow and no spray zones around waterways will significantly reduce the amount of polluted runoff that makes it into our waterways.

  • Pick up the pet poo to keep harmful bacteria like E. Coli out of our water. 

  • Fertilize sparingly and daringly to reduce algal blooms and dead zones

  • Avoid over salting to keep it out of our soils and water

  • Less lawn = more life

NPDES Phase II Storm Water Program

What is NPDES Phase II?

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) was formulated in 1990 under the Clean Water Act. Phase I of this program was designed to address stormwater runoff from “medium” and “large” municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) serving populations of 100,000 or greater, as well as runoff from construction activity disturbing 5 acres of land or greater. Ten categories of industrial activity were also addressed. 

In 1999 the United States Environmental Protection Agency expanded the Phase I program. The NPDES Phase II regulations include operators of small MS4s in urbanized areas(UAs) and operators of small construction activities that disturb greater than one acre and less than 5 acres. 

Portage County communities affected by the NPDES Phase II regulations include: Portage County, City of Aurora, City of Kent, City of Ravenna, City of Streetsboro, Sugar Bush Knolls, Kent State University, Brimfield Township, Franklin Township, Ravenna Township, Rootstown Township, and Suffield Township. 

Why is it necessary? 

Storm water runoff occurs when precipitation from rain or snowmelt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks, and streets prevent stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground. 

Storm water can pick up debris, chemicals, unprotected soil, and other pollutants as it moves over the surface. The storm water, along with the pollutants, then flows into a storm sewer system or directly to a lake, stream, river, wetland, or coastal water. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged (untreated!) into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing and providing drinking water. 

A major objective of the NPDES program is to reduce and/or eliminate these non-point source pollutants entering our water bodies through a variety of methods public education, public involvement, water quality monitoring, and regulatory devices. The ultimate goal is increased water quality. 

What is expected of Portage County? 

Regulated communities in Portage County are required to develop a storm water management program (SWMP) that implements six minimum control measures using Best Management Practices (BMP). These measures include: Public Education and Outreach, Public Participation and Involvement, Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination, Construction Site Runoff Control, Post-Construction Runoff Control, and Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping. 

All construction occurring in Portage County will be affected by the new construction site segment of the NPDES Phase II Regulations. All sites with greater than one acre of disturbance will be regulated for erosion and sediment control. This will significantly increase the amount of sites currently regulated, and hopefully reduce the amount of sediment (a nonpoint source pollutant) entering our streams and rivers.

Storm Water Task Force

Purpose and Organization 

The Portage County Storm Water Task Force was established in 2003 to evaluate the requirements of the NPDES Phase II program and to guide the implementation of the Portage County Storm Water Management Program (SWMP). The Task Force meets quarterly to review the progress of the SWMP, to make appropriate decisions on storm water BMPs and new projects, and to share ideas on SWMP implementation. The Storm Water Task Force is comprised of 1-2 representatives from each of the regulated communities, Portage SWCD staff, Portage County Engineer's Office, Portage County Health Department, Portage County Water Resources, Portage County Regional Planning Commission, and Portage County Commissioners. Interested parties and the general public are welcome to attend - contact the Portage SWCD for upcoming meeting dates. 

Participating Regulated Communities 

Portage CountyBrimfield TownshipFranklin TownshipRavenna TownshipRootstown TownshipSuffield TownshipCity of RavennaCity of Streetsboro, Sugar Bush Knolls

Other Participating Communities and Departments 

Edinburg TownshipRandolph TownshipPortage County CommissionersPortage County EngineerPortage County Health DepartmentPortage County Regional Planning CommissionPortage County Water Resources

Storm Water Management Program (SWMP)

All counties, townships and municipalities that are regulated under EPA NPDES Phase II requirements, must develop and implement a Storm Water Management Program (SWMP). The SWMP is designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants into waterways and to protect local water quality, and it must address six minimum control measures identified by the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Minimum Control Measures:

#1 - Public Education & Outreach

#2 - Public Participation & Involvement

#3 - Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination

#4 - Construction Site Runoff Control

#5 - Post Construction Storm Water Management

#6 - Good Housekeeping & Pollution Prevention 

Resource Documents

Portage County Storm Water Management Program