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Stormwater Information Technology Program

Stormwater and MS4s

Map of regulated MS4s in New York State
Regulated MS4s in New York State.
See DEC's Stormwater Interactive Map for a full-size version.

When it rains, or when snow melts, where does the water go? In urban areas it is likely that this water, called stormwater, flows through a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) to a nearby waterbody. An MS4 is a network of storm drains, pipes and ditches that collect and move stormwater. MS4s are not part of a combined sewer system and the water does not go to a sewage treatment plant before discharging to local waterbodies.

In New York, urban stormwater runoff has been identified as one of the top ten water quality issues by the DEC Water Quality Assessment Program. Because of their impact on water quality, urban areas with MS4s need a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) permit for their stormwater discharges. The SPDES permit requires the city or town to develop a Stormwater Management Program to help keep harmful pollutants from entering the sewer system and flowing to a local waterbody. Two important pieces of the Stormwater Management Program are outreach to local stakeholders and mapping of storm sewer features and sewersheds.

Snap shot from a Digital Towpath Stormwater Module web page
The Digital Towpath Stormwater Module
can help communities with MS4s meet
Stormwater Management Program requirements.

Project Overview

In 2009, the Herkimer-Oneida Counties Comprehensive Planning Program (HOCCPP) received a $95,000 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA or Stimulus) grant from DEC to: coordinate the statewide release of a web content management system for stormwater management programs; develop standardized procedures for mapping stormwater systems and sewersheds (storm sewer drainage areas); and develop a regional storm sewer system mapping and information management system. This project will help communities with MS4s meet requirements of the Stormwater Management Program.

Project Status

A man with GPS unit standing on a lawn near an open manhole.
Using a GPS unit to record storm sewer
system data.

Photo courtesy of HOCCPP.

HOCCPP finished work on this project in November, 2011. The project consisted of three main parts:

  1. HOCCPP coordinated the statewide release of a stormwater module using the Digital Towpath web content management system. The stormwater module can help communities with MS4s develop, organize, and post stormwater management information online as a way to complete the Stormwater Management Program requirement of the SPDES permit. HOCCPP notified all MS4 communities statewide that the stormwater module is available, held five statewide workshops to demonstrate the module, and provided training and support to users.
  2. HOCCPP developed a standardized set of procedures for field data collection and mapping of storm sewer features, including outfalls, catch basins and conveyances. Using the procedures, HOCCPP assisted three regional MS4 communities with storm sewer system data collection and mapping, and also provided training to the MS4 communities on a computer-based information management system used for tracking and updating stormwater management activities.
  3. HOCCPP developed a standardized set of procedures to create maps of storm sewersheds in regulated cities, villages and towns in Herkimer and Oneida counties. HOCCPP helped interested regional MS4 communities use the procedures and map their storm sewersheds.

Final Progress Report

When each ARRA 604(b) project is complete, DEC requires a final report summarizing the entire project to be submitted. The report includes a description of the project's goals, work accomplished, and final project outcomes.

To view the final progress report for this project, click the following link:

Phase II Stormwater - Information Technology (IT) Program - Final Report (PDF) (117 KB)

Regional Demographic Information

Covering 2,625 square miles and approximately 300,000 people, the HOCCPP planning region is comprised of the counties of Herkimer and Oneida. This region includes 78 cities, villages and towns, including the cities of Rome, Utica and Little Falls.

Contact Information


321 Main Street, Utica, NY 13501