Mechanicsburg Borough Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4)

The goals of all MS4s programs and Mechanicsburg Borough are to reduce the discharge of pollutants from the township, to protect water quality and to satisfy requirements of the Clean Water Act. Mechanicsburg Borough would like you to remember that the water and any items that go into a storm sewer go directly into streams. This water is not cleaned in any way and does not go to the waste water treatment plant. Mechanicsburg Borough needs all of its residents to assist us in keeping our storm water and storm water sewer system clean by doing the following:

  • Dispose of water properly
  • Clean up after your pets
  • Use fertilizers properly and efficiently to prevent excess runoff
  • Store materials that could pollute storm water indoors
  • Keep grass cutting off of the street

What Residents can help watch for:

  • Sediment leaving a construction site in stormwater
  • Spills (Chemical, Gas, Oil)
  • Illegal dumping activity into streams or storm sewers (PLEASE CALL 911 FIRST)
  • Dry weather flows from outfall pipes into streams (72 hours after a rain storm)

Please monitor storm water inlets near your property. 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 contact Borough Staff at 717-691-3310.

What is an illicit discharge?

Illicit discharges into the stormwater system essentially means placing any substance into the system that may be toxic to human, animal or plant life; or something that is flammable, explosive or corrosive; or more simply, any discharge that adversely affects the water system into which the discharge flows.

Maintaining Your Vehicle

Maintain your car and always recycle used motor oil.

Never dump motor oil, antifreeze, transmission fluid or other engine fluids into road gutters, down the storm drain, or onto the ground.

Try to use drain mats to cover drains in case of a spill.

Lawn & Garden Care

Use fertilizers sparingly.

Consider using organic fertilizers; they release nutrients slower.

Keep fertilizer off of paved surfaces.

Let you grass clippings lay!

Maintain a buffer strip to trap sediment and fertilizer.

Scooping the Poop!

Bag it!

Flush the pet waste down the toilet because then it is treated at a sewage treatment plant, never put waste into storm drains.

Encourage your neighbors to provide pet waste stations for collection and disposal of waste.

De-Icing in the Winter

As snow piles up in the winter, we oftentimes turn to salt to melt snow and ice. Salt, however, causes adverse environmental impacts, especially on our streams and rivers. Excess salt can saturate and destroy a soil’s natural structure and result in more erosion to our waterways. High concentrations of salt can damage and kill vegetation. Salt poses the greatest danger to fresh water ecosystems and fish.

Washing Your Car Properly

The best action is to take your vehicle to a commercial car wash, especially if you plan to clean the engine or the bottom of the car. Most car washes reuse water several times before sending it for treatment at a sewage treatment plant.

The Clean Water Act is the federal legislation that governs stormwater management. Stormwater point discharges to waters of the U.S. are regulated using National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits. In 1999, Federal regulations extended coverage of the NPDES program to local separate storm sewer systems (MS4’s) serving populations less than 100,000. Mechanicsburg Borough is required to comply with the NPDES program as a MS4. Under the NPDES stormwater program, permittees must develop a stormwater management plan that provides the details of how the community (Mechanicsburg Borough) will comply with the requirements of the permit. Permits are based on a framework of six minimum control measures:

  • Public education and outreach
  • Public participation and involvement
  • Illicit discharge detection and elimination
  • Construction site runoff control
  • Post-construction storm water management in new development and redevelopment
  • Pollution prevention and good housekeeping for municipal operations and maintenance

More information on this program is available from the Pennsylvania DEP website.

Additional information can be found at the Environmental Protection Agency website.

Contained Planters

Planters reduce impervious cover by retaining stormwater runoff rather than allowing it to directly drain into nearby sewers and creeks. Planters offer “green” space in tightly confined urban areas by providing a soil/plant mixture suitable for stormwater capture and treatment.

Rain Garden

A rain garden uses native plants and landscaping to soak up rain water (stormwater) that flows from downspouts or simply flows over land during a rain event. The center of the rain garden holds several inches of water, allowing the stormwater to slowly seep into the ground.


Downspout Planter

A downspout planter can be created out of any type of sizable container: a wooden box, barrel, plastic bin, garbage can or watering trough.

The size of the planter can vary depending on the amount of roof runoff to be collected.

Rain Barrel

A rain barrel collects and stores stormwater runoff from rooftops. By detaining  the stormwater runoff during a rain event, you can help add capacity to the Borough’s sewer system and reduce sewer overflows to our creeks and rivers, our drinking water source. Also, the collected rain water can be reused for irrigation to water lawns, gardens, window boxes or street trees.

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