Drainage - Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4)
The Department of Drainage works alongside the Department of Road Yard to maintain and manage the Parish wide Drainage and Flood Control System. St. Bernard Parish has approximately:
- 8860 drainage structures
- 17500 drainage mains (culverts)
- 18 local pump stations (SBPG)
- 8 large pump stations (LBBLD)
The Department of Public Works must not only manage the amount of storm water runoff that goes into our drainage system but also ensure that it is clean when it reaches our waterways as per federal and state regulations. To learn more about our best management practices and storm water management requirements, please view our documents below.
What is an MS4 and what is St. Bernard‘s Stormwater Management Program?
The 1994 National Water Quality Inventory indicated that one of the major causes of water quality impairment in the United States is discharges from separate storm sewer systems. Because of this, in February of 2000, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated that municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4’s) serving communities with fewer than 100,000 people develop a Stormwater Management Program. St. Bernard falls within this mandate because we are a community of fewer than 100,000 people and our storm sewer system is separate from our solid waste sewer system.
St. Bernard’s solid waste sewer system treats the waste from the toilets and sinks in our homes and businesses before it is released into our waterways, but our stormwater is not. The rain water that flows into our separate stormwater sewer system contains the chemicals and solid pollutants from our roadways, along with household chemicals, paints, anti-freeze, pet waste, fertilizes, herbicides, grass clippings, garbage, litter, and anything else that might be on or near the storm drains. This flows from our storm drains in the street, into our canals, and it is then pumped into our marshes untreated.
This untreated stormwater has had a harmful effect on our marsh area around St. Bernard. Our marsh areas are an integral part of life here in St. Bernard. Our marshes protect us from hurricanes, act as estuaries for fish and other wildlife, and are some of the most beautiful parts of our parish.
As part of the EPA’s mandate, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) administers permits to local governments under the Louisiana Pollutants Discharge System (LPDES). These permits identify six minimum control measures to help significantly reduce pollutants in stormwater. These control measures include the following:
- Public education and outreach on the impact of stormwater
- Public involvement and participation
- Illicit discharge detection and elimination
- Construction site stormwater runoff control
- Post-construction stormwater management in new development and redevelopment
- Pollution prevention/good housekeeping for municipal operations
Each minimum control measure of our plan includes best management practices which identify selected management practices and activities that the Parish will implement and measurable goals for each management practice.