Stormwater Management

Stormwater Management & Clean Water Resources

Polluted Runoff: Nonpoint Source PollutionEPA WatershedsFigureforwebsiteThis webpage is offered to educate residents about stormwater regulations, potential water pollution or flooding as a result of our local activities in the watershed. Solebury Township operates a Municipal Stormwater System (MSS) that is permitted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP). This Permit requires that the Township:

  • Continue public education and outreach activities
  • Notify and solicit public input and involvement regarding management of the stormwater system
  • Monitor, test and eliminate illicit discharges from outfalls (stormwater exiting  pipes into the waterways) in the system
  • Control construction site stormwater runoff through enforcement of ordinances
  • Ensure that all post-construction stormwater improvements in new or re-developed areas are built as designed and are operated and maintained properly
  • Implement a pollution prevention program for municipal operations

Nearly all of our Township newsletters have included an article about stormwater in the last five years or more as part of the PA DEP MSS Permit "public education" process.  Township and development construction activities (land developments and subdivisions) are monitored by the Township Engineer. 

In 2003, most municipalities in Pennsylvania were required to obtain a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to discharge storm runoff from the municipality owned storm   sewer system (known as MS4. - Click here to view the MS-4 Homepage and MS-4 Fact Sheet). Solebury Township received their NPDES-MS4 permit in 2004. Since that time, Solebury has complied with the requirements of the permit, which include tasks such as:

  • Enact a new Stormwater Management Ordinance (Ordinance No, 2011-06)
  • Inspect every stormwater outfall that discharges to the local streams and creeks for signs of pollution
  • Encourage the public to participate in stormwater related activities
  • Provide educational materials to the public and business owners
  • Review construction plans and permits for stormwater related concerns
  • File an annual report with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PADEP) documenting the permit related activities that occurred during the year.

This past fall, most Pennsylvania municipalities were required to submit applications for a new NPDES-MS4 permit. Solebury’s application is currently under review by the PADEP. When approved, the new permit will be similar to the current permit with the exception of new permit conditions regarding pollution limits. When the new permit is issued, Solebury Township maybe required to reduce specific pollutants in stormwater runoff. These pollutants include sediment (soil) and nutrients (fertilizer).

For additional information, visit the EPA Water Homepage  and the EPA Stormwater Homepage.  Another valuable resource is the The Bucks County Conservation District website.

What is Stormwater and Why Is It So Important?

Stormwater runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snow melt events flow over land and impervious surfaces and does not infiltrate into the ground.  The runoff from streets, lawns, farms and construction and industrial sites picks up fertilizers, dirt, chemicals, pesticides, oil, grease and many other pollutants and discharges it into our streams and rivers. This untreated discharge is detrimental to our water quality as it can adversely affect our drinking water supply and the environment. In Solebury Township, polluted stormwater could contaminate the Aquetong, Cuttalossa, Paucussing Creek or Primrose Creek Watersheds.

Many Best Management Practices (BMPs), such as detention or infiltration basins, are already in place to help keep our waters clean. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website is a good place to visit for stormwater information and regulations:

What Does the Township Do to Regulate Stormwater?

The Township enforces Stormwater Ordinance No. 2011-06. Contact the Township to review a copy of this Ordinance.

Solebury Township regulates stormwater management through a permit that is obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) ( through the National Pollution and Discharge Elimination System Phase II (NPDES)/Municipals Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). This is a federal requirement from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) that is administered by the PA DEP.

The Township also requires a Stormwater Management Plan Review if the stormwater management project is not part of a formal Land Development. 

How Can Residents Help?

There are many ways you can help the Township with its stormwater program and participate in activities and programs that will keep pollutants, chemicals, trash, and other waste products out of our waterways.  Please read Solution to Pollution from the EPA.

Residents can help by watching for:

  • Sediment leaving a construction site via stormwater runoff
  • Spills (chemical, gas, oil)
  • Illegal dumping activity into streams or storm sewers (PLEASE CALL 911 FIRST)
  • Dry weather flows from outfall pipes into streams (at least 72 hours after a rain storm)

Residents may be the first to recognize "illicit" discharges dumping into storm sewers or coming out of from storm sewer outfalls. If you see an "illicit" discharge please report it by calling the Township office at 215-297-5656 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays, or email us at: Call 911 during non-business hours. Also, take photos if possible.

For more information regarding residential stormwater, please review The Homeowner's Guide to Stormwater pamphlet and an accompanying webinar, titled "A Homeowner's Guide to Stormwater" provided courtesy of Penn State.

Things You and Your Community Can Do to Protect Water Resources

  • viewed hereMaintain open, forested floodplains - Filling floodplains shortchanges the filtering power of natural areas and increases flooding elsewhere. It is also illegal.
  • Plant trees and maintain streamside buffers - Streamside trees and native vegetation help filter stormwater run-off and help hold streambank soils in place.  The DEP recently enacted a 75' buffer along streams to enhance water quality and reduce stormwater runoff.  Delaware
  • Maintain a naturally vegetated edge between creeks and pastures or cultivated fields - A naturally vegetated stream buffer will filter out excess fertilizers and pesticides from adjacent farm fields.
  • Promote clustering where new development is likely - Clustered developments require less pavement for roads and sidewalks and and retain more of the overall parcel as open space.
  • Disconnect your downspout from the street drain and Plant a Rain Garden - Rainwater from your roof is just as damaging to creeks and streams as runoff from a parking lot. Let your yard help filter out impurities and infiltrate stormwater back into your aquifer. If you don't have street drains, be certain stormwater coming through your downspouts is directed onto your own property and not into the road, road ditch, or a neighbor's property.  Consider disconnecting your downspouts and installing rain barrels instead. They can provide water for your gardens. Please stop by the township building for ideas or consult the Rain Garden publications and visit the rain garden blog at the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy site: The Bucks County Conservation District supports the construction of rain gardens and puts out this BCCD Rain Garden Pamphlet.
  • Reduce your use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides - Follow directions for weed killers and pesticides very carefully, or consider discontinuing their use. Much of the chemicals and fertilizers you apply in the spring flow directly into the local creeks and seep into ground waters because the grass is not ready to absorb it.  Set your mower height at 3 inches and use a mulching mower to create a healthy, organic lawn. Fertilize only in the fall. Consider Grasscycling.
  • Never, ever, dump household substances or used oil into a storm drain - Bring used oil to certified recyclers. 
  • Convert large yards or public spaces from mown grass to meadows - The typical suburban lawn is nearly as impervious as a parking lot! Native meadow grasses infiltrate stormwater better and provide critical habitat for grassland birds. Consider converting a portion of your lawn into a meadows with paths through it to observe the wildlife.
  • Pick up after your pets and keep livestock out of steams - Pet and animal wastes carry many harmful bacteria and possible diseases.  They make creeks less amenable to native critters and require expensive water treatment for human use. Studies by the Center for Watershed Protection have found that a significant portion of fecal coliform bacteria in residential stormwater originates from canine waste.
  • Keep paved surfaces to a minimum - Reduce impervious surfaces. Patios and parking spaces can be created with attractive pervious materials that allow stormwater infiltration to the soils below.
  • Maintain Your Swimming Pool

Clean Water and the Business Community

Solebury Township encourages our business community to practice Best Management Practices (BMPs).  The National Menu of Stormwater Best Management Practices can be viewed here.  The documents below provide valuable information for our business community:

Contractors, please be sure you are in compliance with State mandated stormwater regulations by reading these publications:

Please read and download the educational information provided in the Stormwater Management documentation.

FEMA Floodplain and Other Information

The Township adopted Ordinance 2014-010 Floodplain Ordinance requiring all persons, partnerships, business, and corporations to obtain a permit for any construction or development with a floodplain; providing for the issuance of such permits; setting forth certain minimum requirements for construction and development with areas of Solebury Township which are subject to flooding; and establishing penalties for any persons who fail, or refuses to comply with the requirements of this Ordinance.  Also, Ordinance 2014-011 Amending Article 14, floodplain conservation district of Solebury Township Zoning Ordinance for consistency with Floodplain regulations required by FEMA and adopted as the Solebury Township Floodplain Ordinance.

Contact the Township to review these Ordinances.

Click the links below to view the floodplain maps or visit the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) website for additional information:

A Notice to Recreational Vehicle Owners:

Recreational vehicles located within a floodplain must either be:

  1. Elevated or anchored; or
  2. On the site for fewer than 180 consecutive days; or
  3. fully licensed and ready for highway use.

Related Links:

PA Department of Environmental Protection
DEP Southeast Regional Office
EPA Outreach Materials / Educational Opportunities

Center for Watershed Protection