Stormwater runoff is the water that flows over land when it rains. In urban areas like Newport News, this rainwater flows over yards, sidewalks, and streets, picking up pollutants like litter, animal wastes, oil, fertilizers and pesticides. The pollution carried by stormwater runoff flows directly into the storm drain system, which is untreated and enters our local waterways. Yard waste debris and litter can cause clogs in the system which lead to flooding during heavy rain events.
Stormwater management refers to the development of programs and policies to protect against water pollution, erosion issues, and flooding caused by stormwater runoff. The City of Newport News has a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), which is the technical name for the network of storm drains, pipes, ditches, outfalls, and other facilities that convey and treat stormwater. The City is regulated through its “MS4 Permit” by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). This permit requires the City to prevent stormwater pollution through a variety of programs, including the implementation of a MS4 Program Plan and Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Action Plans. The City is also required to submit annual reports to DEQ.
- City of Newport News MS4 Permit
- MS4 Program Plan
- Fiscal Year 2017 MS4 Annual Report to DEQ
- Fiscal Year 2018 MS4 Annual Report to DEQ
- Newport News Back Warwick River TMDL Action Plan
- Newport News Chesapeake Bay TMDL Action Plan
As a resident of Newport News, you can help protect water quality by improving the quality of stormwater runoff from your property. Use pesticides and herbicides sparingly. Fertilizers should only be used after testing your soil. Pick up after pets; dog waste is not a natural fertilizer! Seed bare spots on your lawn to prevent erosion, and properly dispose of yard waste so it doesn't clog the storm sewer system. Remember: only rain down the storm drain!
Outreach programs and ways to become involved:
- Become a Bay Star Home or Bay Star Business to show your neighbors and customers you are taking steps to protect the environment and water quality.
- Apply for a free pet waste station for your neighborhood or apartment complex.
- Mark storm drains with the "No Dumping: Drains to Waterway" Storm Drain Medallion Program – fun for kids and adults alike!
- Consider joining the Lake Enhancement Program if you are a lakefront property owner.
- Participate in the Adopt-A-Spot Program.
- Understand what constitutes illegal dumping (or "illicit discharges"), and, when safe to do so, report possible sources of stormwater pollution to the City's 311 Contact Center.
- Learn about the City's Stormwater Management Service Charge and how to save money on your annual fee by participating in the Household Hazardous Waste & E-Cycling Program (for residents) or the Stormwater Management Service Charge Adjustment/Waiver (for businesses).
Related Links to External Agencies and Resources
- askHRgreen.org – Public awareness campaign of the 17 member localities of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission (including Newport News) to encourage environmental stewardship of all Hampton Roads residents
- Newport News Wetlands Board – Board of volunteer citizens that make decisions regarding the use, alteration, and development of tidal wetlands
- Virginia Department of Environmental Quality – State agency that oversees air quality, water quality, water supply, and land protection
- Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation – State agency that oversees state parks, natural heritage programs, soil and water conservation, land conservation, and dam safety/floodplains management
- Virginia Marine Resources Commission – State agency that oversees saltwater recreational/commercial fisheries and encroachments into state-owned subaqueous bottom; administers Joint Permit Application process
- US Army Corps of Engineers Norfolk District – Local district of federal agency that oversees impacts to Waters of the US and provides floodplain management services
- National Flood Insurance Program – National, federally-backed program available to homeowners, renters, and business owners in communities who adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinance (including Newport News)