Storm Water

Reporting Illegal Discharge or Dumping

If you observe suspicious discharge or dumping of materials into any storm water system; please contact the Lehigh County Communication Center by dialing 911 or the Department of Environmental Protection’s Northeast Regional Office at 570-826-2511.

What is Storm Water Runoff

Storm water is from precipitation that flows across the ground and pavement when it rains or when snow and ice melt. This water seeps into the ground or drains into the storm sewer system. Storm water runoff becomes a problem when it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants.

The Storm Sewer System

The protection of life, land, and property from damage by excess water, whether in motion or standing, is the purpose of various flood control and drainage measures. Flooding occurs from storms that produce runoff exceeding the capacity of the normal stream channels. Long, heavy, widespread storms, or rapid melting of snow from a large area cause floods on main stem streams and rivers. As urban density increases, so do the problems of flooding from storm water runoff.

Upper Macungie Township, through the wide expanse of storm sewer inlets and underground pipes, has managed to control storm water runoff and keep damage to a minimum within the township. The storm sewer system is comprised of hundreds of inlets and manholes that drain into over 50 miles of underground pipes, which lead into detention basins located throughout the township. The purpose of these detention facilities is to store the storm water runoff and then infiltrate the water at a controlled rate so as not to adversely affect downstream property. One of the most important aspects of a storm water system is the fact that it will drain into the ground or a stream, which then becomes a source for our drinking water supply. For this reason the federal government and the State of Pennsylvania has established strict guidelines which need to be followed when dealing with or working around storm sewers.

The Pennsylvania legislature enacted the Storm Water Management Act (No. 167) in 1978 to authorize a program of comprehensive watershed storm water management, which retains local implementation, and enforcement of storm water ordinances similar to local responsibility of administration of subdivision and land development regulations. This planning effort results in the incorporation of sound engineering standards and criteria into local codes and ordinances to manage runoff from new development in a coordinated, watershed-wide approach.

Best Management Practices

Realizing that storm water run-off has a direct effect on our drinking water and environment, the federal government in the mid 1990’s began to formulate ways in which to deal with this issue. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) adopted storm water rules governing storm sewer systems for small municipalities and also rules for construction sites. The new rules require municipalities to reduce contaminant levels and storm water runoff to the maximum extent possible.

In 2000, the federal government, through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is requiring local municipalities to institute what the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency calls “Best Management Practices” for handling storm water runoff.

Some of the ways in which Upper Macungie Township has been meeting this requirement is through the following programs:

  • Providing our residents with information on storm water
  • Creating a comprehensive storm water map
  • Inspections of important storm water facilities
  • Detention Basin Maintenance
  • Street Sweeping / Leaf Removal
  • Storm Water Inlet Cleaning & Repair

Some people think it is OK to dump motor oil, antifreeze and other chemical wastes into storm sewers and may not realize that at the other end of those storm grates is the Lehigh River or one of its tributaries. Like most municipal storm water systems, the Township’s runoff flows directly into freshwater streams and does not pass through any waste treatment or water filtration plants.

Please help educate others by passing on this message to your children or anyone who you might see contributing to downstream pollution. Information on reporting illegal dumping acts is located at the top of this page.

More information on Best Management Practices (BMP’s) can be found on the DEP and EPA websites using these links: and

Water Is One of Our Most Precious Natural Resources

Keeping water clean benefits people, animals, and aquatic life. Storm drains carry rainwater and pollutants directly to streams and rivers. The pollutants lower the water quality, affect fish health, and reduce the number of beneficial plants and insects.

Someone downstream may be going to drink this water!

Simple Things You Can Do As A Homeowner:

  1. Use a mulch mower or compost grass clippings.
  2. Install a rain barrel or rain garden on your property.
  3. Recycle used motor oil and antifreeze and report any illegal dumping.
  4. Apply fertilizer and lawn chemicals according to recommended rates and schedules.
  5. Place cigarette butts and other garbage in trash cans.
  6. Collect and properly dispose of pet wastes.
  7. Wash cars on grassy areas and keep soap suds away from drain inlets.
  8. Be careful with de-icing materials during the winter months.
  9. Find out where the water from your storm drain inlets exits or flows in your community.
  10. Encourage municipal officials to label all storm drain inlets in your community.
  11. Contact a local watershed organization for more ideas on ways to protect the streams in your area.

If you would like additional information, you may download these booklets of visit these websites:

Homeowners Guide to Stormwater BMP Maintenance

The Homeowner’s Guide to Storm Water, Lancaster County Conservation District

Storm Water Program Information, Lehigh County Conservation District

Trees & Storm Water Management, Pennsylvania State University

The Solution to Storm Water Pollution, US Environmental Protection Agency

NPDES Storm Water Program Information

PA Dept. of Environmental Protection Storm Water Management Information