NPDES Storm Water Program

The National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program is a Federal (EPA) and State (MPCA) mandated program with the goal of working toward cleaner water resources. The MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems) program is focused on stormwater discharge from cities and other government and agency owners of storm sewer systems.

Reducing Non-Point Source Pollution
Non-point source pollution is contamination that comes from general wide-area sources, such as municipal storm sewer systems, rural farms or other non-specific sources. Non-point pollution is generally carried to our water resources during rain storms. In urban areas, pollutants, such as oil and grease from roadways, pesticides from lawns, sediment from construction sites, and carelessly discarded trash, flow untreated through storm sewers into our surface waters. These pollutants accumulate over time and can degrade the quality of our lakes, rivers, stream, and wetlands. The end result may be impaired recreational use, contaminated drinking water supplies, and/or loss of habitat, fish, and wildlife. To improve water quality throughout the country the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established a storm water management program to guide local governments. 

The City of St. Joseph is committed to the following objectives for improving water quality in accordance with the EPA's storm water management program:

  • Public Education 
  • Public Participation & Involvement
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
  • Construction Site Runoff Control
  • Post-Construction Runoff Control
  • Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping

Stormwater Best Managment Practices

  • Keep litter, leaves, grass clippings, and fertilizer off hard surfaces and away from nearby water bodies. These items are easily washed into nearby lakes and ponds through the storm drain system and can be harmful to bodies of water
  • Only fertilize as needed. Most lawns only need to be fertilized once or twice a year. Use low (3% or less) or zero phosphorus fertilizer.
  • Establish a natural buffer zones (20 feet or more) adjacent to ponds and lakes. These buffers help keep nutrients from entering water resources
  • Maintain a healthy lawn. Mow grass to a height of 2-3 inches, seed in the spring, aerate and de-thatch in the fall
  • Use lawn chemicals sparingly. They add harmful bacteria and parasites to runoff water
  • Never dispose of oil, paints, solvents, or other household chemicals in the streets or storm drains. The Household Hazardous Waste Facility in Waite Park will accept these items free of charge. Visit their website for additional information. Stearns County Household Hazardous Waste Facility Website