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Storm Sewer System (MS4) Department

Chambersburg is unique among Pennsylvania municipalities. We are one of the first boroughs to establish and operate a municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) utility. The MS4 utility operates just like all other utilities of the Borough in a separate fund to manage the infrastructure, rules, policies, local laws, and environmental responsibilities of the Borough's storm sewer system.

Storm Sewer System Manager: Andy Stottlemyer

By Local Law, a new Chambersburg Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Department was founded in 2015. It is committed to a fundamental objective to comply with the requirements of the MS4 permit, to improve water quality and groundwater recharge through education, coordination, development, maintenance, and best management practices (BMP).

The Storm Sewer Utility is dedicated to improving health, safety and welfare in the Borough of Chambersburg by providing for the safe and efficient capture and conveyance of stormwater runoff resulting from development by enforcing the Borough's Stormwater Management Ordinance, by maintaining compliance with the Borough's municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) permit and through construction and maintenance of the Borough's storm sewer system according to sound financial resource and capital improvements management.

The Borough owns and operates a separate system of pipes, inlets, stormwater management facilities, swales and channels. This system under State and Federal law is called a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System or MS4 and, is responsible for carrying all rainwater, runoff, ice melt, etc. through pipes and channels down to the Falling Spring Branch and the Conococheague Creek.

As complex and extensive as this is, the Borough of Chambersburg has never had a dedicated department to maintain the system or to ensure that we have funding to pay for maintenance and upgrades. Up to this point, the Borough had done whatever was possible to manage issues pertaining to our MS4. In 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) renewed the Borough's MS4 permit but established a stringent set of new rules for proper management of the system based on Federal law. To be in compliance with DEP, to ensure that the Borough is addressing the health of our environment, and to focus on the needs of our community in a timely, systematic and cost effective manner, we established a new MS4 Department. The department became operational in 2015 and is responsible for any and all issues directly related to stormwater management. New fee: When the 2015 Borough of Chambersburg budget was approved, the Borough had approximately 8,092 sanitary sewer connections. These customers are billed for their sanitary sewage. The 2015 budget approved a new fee using the sanitary sewer charges as a guide which appears on bills as STORM SEWER POLLUTION CONTROL FEE.

Staff believes it is reasonable to assume that any property with a sanitary sewer connection has been developed with impervious cover such as buildings, driveways and parking lots. So, whoever pays the sanitary sewer bill, is now also required to pay the Storm Sewer Pollution Control Fee.

The storm sewer utility was created in January 2015 and Council authorized an initial monthly Storm Sewer Pollution Control Fee of $3 per sanitary sewer connection. The fee was raised to $4 per sanitary sewer connection in 2017.  All revenue from this fee are dedicated to the storm sewer system and stormwater management. In most cases, there is one sanitary sewer connection for each developed property street address; however, there are developed properties in the Borough with multiple sanitary sewer connections. For example, a single-family dwelling has one sanitary sewer connection that would be charged $4 per month. A commercial building or shopping center may accommodate 12 separate units, each with their own sanitary sewer connection that would be charged $48 per year, for a total annual stormwater service fee of $576 for that particular building.

The Borough storm sewer system is comprised of the following:
Number of inlet structures: 2,929
Total length (feet or miles) of storm sewer pipes: 403,664 feet or 76.45 miles
Total length (feet or miles) of storm sewer open channels: 168,772 feet or 31.96 miles
Number of detention basins: 84
Number of rain gardens: 43
Number of subsurface detention areas: 127
Number of outfalls to Conococheague Creek and Falling Spring Creek: 137

Our MS4 Permit requires the Borough to operate a stormwater management program to address:

  1. 1. Public education and outreach on stormwater impacts, system rules, illicit discharges (such as blowing grass into the street) and BMP that can be installed on private property (i.e. rain gardens)
  2. 2. Public involvement and participation, such as school assemblies and public meetings
  3. 3. Illicit discharge detection and elimination through code enforcement
  4. 4. Construction site stormwater runoff control through the Franklin County Conservation District
  5. 5. Post-construction stormwater management in new development and redevelopment
  6. 6. Pollution prevention and good housekeeping
  7. 7. Evaluate storm sewer system maintenance needs and establish a capital improvements plan
  8. 8. Enforce the Chambersburg Floodplain Management Ordinance
  9. 9. Evaluate areas prone to flooding and establish corrective measures; Implement the Chesapeake Bay Pollutant Reduction Plan

In the future, the storm sewer utility rate structure will change from a flat fee to a fee not based upon sanitary sewer connections but, based upon impervious surface of each lot.  

The Borough encompasses 4,434.99 acres with approximately 2,555.47 acres (57.62%) of pervious area and approximately 1,879.52 acres (42.38%) of impervious cover. Of the impervious cover, approximately 571.67 acres (30.42%) is covered with buildings, approximately 401.62 acres (21.36%) is covered with streets (Borough, State Routes and private) and approximately 417.11 acres (22.19%) is covered with parking lots. The remaining 489.12 acres (26.03%) is covered with items such as sidewalks, concrete slabs, swimming pools and decks that were not incorporated into the previously noted categories.  

One of the first activities of the new department will be to map and survey the existing Borough, every lot, and make a detailed estimate of the exact amount of impervious surfaces in the Borough.  

Someday, the Storm Sewer Pollution Control Fee will be based upon this survey and the amount of paved or impervious surface that exists on an average lot and on your lot in particular. We estimate this survey will take a few years. In the future, a property owner may get credit from the Borough by installing BMP to reduce the amount or improve the quality of stormwater generated on their property. This will help to encourage stormwater management.  

If you have any questions about the impervious surfaces or best management practices, call Andy Stottlemyer, Storm Sewer System Manager, at 717-251-2434 or