Port Chester, N.Y., to Better Manage Its Stormwater

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ordered the village of Port Chester, N.Y. to improve the way it handles run-off from rainwater and correct violations of the Clean Water Act after EPA sampling revealed high levels of two types of bacteria in village stormwater.

Port Chester discharges stormwater into the Byram River, which empties into Long Island Sound.

On Aug. 14, EPA Acting Regional Administrator George Pavlou said, “Long Island Sound is already a stressed waterbody, and runoff is one of the bigger culprits, so it’s important that EPA remains vigilant in holding accountable anyone who doesn’t handle their stormwater properly.”

In June 2008 and April 2009, EPA sampled stormwater at several locations around Port Chester and both times found levels of the bacteria fecal and total coliform that exceeded state water quality standards. Both bacteria can lead to health problems in people and many aquatic species. Port Chester’s failure to control discharges of the polluted stormwater violated requirements of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System. The village also failed to fully implement its stormwater management plan, which New York requires of municipalities that discharge stormwater.

Under EPA’s order, Port Chester must prepare, implement and enforce a stormwater management program to identify and correct improper sources of bacteria discharges by Dec. 31, 2009. Port Chester must also monitor stormwater discharges for six months after the plan has been established to ensure bacteria discharge problems have corrected, and report its finding to EPA and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

For information on the Long Island Sound Study, a partnership of federal, state and local government agencies, private organizations, and educational institutions working together to restore and protect Long Island Sound, visit http://www.longislandsoundstudy.net/

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