What is stormwater runoff?

In undeveloped open areas, the water from rain and melting snow either evaporates, gets absorbed into the ground, or flows into nearby streams.  In built-up areas, however, pavement and buildings prevent normal ground absorption, so man-made drainage systems are used to capture and safely direct the water into streams, ponds or lakes.  The water flowing into these systems is called runoff.

Cranberry Township is doing all it can to successfully manage stormwater - but we can't do it alone.

Stormwater pollution from point sources and nonpoint sources is a challenging water quality problem. Unlike pollution from industry or sewage treatment facilities, which is caused by a discrete number of sources, stormwater pollution is caused by the daily activities of people everywhere.

Rainwater and snowmelt runoff streets, lawns, farms, and construction and industrial sites and pick up fertilizers, dirt, pesticides, oil and grease, and many other pollutants on the way to our rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. Stormwater runoff is our most common cause of water pollution.

Stormwater Runoff
More about our Storm Sewer system

Stormwater Management and MS4

A growing awareness of just how vulnerable Pennsylvania’s waterways have become to damage from stormwater runoff has resulted in legislation requiring municipalities like Cranberry to obtain permits before discharging stormwater runoff into waterways like Brush Creek.  

Under federal regulations, certain municipalities within urbanized areas, including Cranberry, are required to apply for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System permits, a.k.a. MS4.  Permit-holding municipalities are required to create and implement plans reducing the level of pollutants, including silt, that enters their waterways. Part of Cranberry’s program is designed to reduce soil erosion.

The Township has a permit from the state of Pennsylvania to operate the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4). These permits, valid for five years, require communities to put stormwater management programs in place that reduce the discharge of pollutants, educate the public, and protect local water quality.

Cranberry Township is also required to develop and implement a Pollution Reduction Plan (PRP) under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit For Stormwater Discharges From Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4).

Public Education

Community involvement in storm water programs is part of Cranberry Township’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permit requirements through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

As part of Cranberry Township's ongoing public educational outreach on stormwater management, Haine Middle School Purpose students were invited to share their knowledge and research with the Board of Supervisors.

Keeping our storm drains clean and clear!

Thanks to Haine Middle School Purpose students, Teachers, Parents for making this stencil program a success! Community involvement in storm water programs is part of Cranberry Township’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) permit requirements through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).

Pictured: (top) 5th Graders; (below) 6th Graders

EPA Resources

Public Education and Outreach - an informed community is crucial to the success of a stormwater management program - to assure greater support and greater compliance.

Public Participation/Involvement - The public can provide valuable input and assistance to a municipal stormwater management program.

Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination - Discharges into the storm sewers often include wastes and wastewater from non-stormwater sources. Cranberry has a plan to address illegal discharges.

Construction Site Runoff Control - Contractors needs to be aware of requirements and how to satisfy them.

Post–Construction Runoff Control - Post-construction stormwater management in areas undergoing new development or redevelopment is necessary because runoff from these areas has been shown to significantly affect receiving waterbodies.

Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping - This is a key element for MS4 stormwater management programs.

It’s our good fortune to partner with Allison Stebbins, John Schmidt and the Haine Middle School Purpose Students to raise awareness of the importance keeping trash out of the storm drains through our stencil program.  

This year the Township was pleased to work with the 5th grade Purpose Students and stencil storm sewer basins in the Creekwood Commons and Creekwood neighborhoods in the morning session.  

During the afternoon session we partnered with the 6th grade Purpose Students to stencil storm sewer basins within the Bellevue Park neighborhood.