DEP strongly supports joint or collaborative efforts for BMP projects and to satisfy other MS4 permit obligations. While MS4 permittees are not required to work together, collaborative efforts assist permittees in achieving compliance with permit obligations and often result in cost savings. Collaboration can be any form of joint effort to satisfy MS4 responsibilities, such as:
- Working together to fund, install, certify and verify performance, and maintain BMP projects through intermunicipal joint project agreements. As long as BMPs are implemented in MS4 planning area(s) and address the pollutant(s) of concern, the pollutant reductions afforded by the BMPs may be shared between the collaborating MS4s.
- Collaborating to develop and implement PRPs through an intermunicipal agreement or a memorandum of understanding (MOU).
- Working together to develop educational materials, training, public meetings, and joint watershed events; share equipment; and/or achieve other elements of the required MCMs.
- Becoming a joint permittee with neighboring municipality(ies) and accomplishing all permit responsibilities together.
In addition to working with other municipalities, MS4 permittees are encouraged to reach out to local watershed organizations and environmental groups. These organizations may be helpful in providing resources, expertise, and local knowledge that can assist you in meeting permit requirements and water quality goals.
For a collaborative effort to be effective, it is recommended that one entity be appointed to lead the effort. Any party can serve a leadership role in coordinating a combined effort. County Planning Commissions, County Conservation Districts, and larger municipalities are commonly selected by permittees.
When joint PRP and/or TMDL Plans are developed it is not necessary for the participating permittees to be joint permittees, but when they are not, there should be a written agreement among the participants to ensure the plan will be implemented. Here are the recommended contents of a written agreement:
- Scope of the Agreement – Complete PRP or TMDL Plan implementation (or individual BMP implementation).
- Roles and Responsibilities – How projects will be selected, selection of engineering and other contracted services, long-term O&M, adaptive management of the PRP (or the individual BMPs) over the permit period, and commitment to using the Plan (or to implementing the individual BMPs).
- Allocations of cost and pollutant reduction – Methodology for sharing the cost and methodology for distributing the pollutant reductions.
- Timeline for implementation – Schedule of milestones to complete and implement the plan (or the individual BMPs).
- York County Stormwater Consortium (YCSWC) is a partnership of 46 municipalities working together, through an Intergovernmental Cooperation Agreement, to implement the York County Regional CBPRP.
- Wyoming Valley Sanitary Authority (WVSA) serves as the MS4 Administrator of a joint PRP and is responsible for the regional stormwater management of 31 municipalities.
- Blair County Intergovernmental Stormwater Committee (ISC) consists of 11 municipalities working collectively to achieve their individual and group goals to address federal and state stormwater regulations.
- Berks County MS4 Steering Committee brings together municipal permittees with educational partners to meet education and outreach requirements through the implementation of the Berks County Cooperative Education Program.
- Lancaster Clean Water Partners is a countywide, collaborative partnership of partner organizations – local leaders in business, municipal public service, higher education, conservation planning, and non-profit management – that come together to work towards a common goal of improving the health and viability of local streams.