Ramapo College has established a variety of procedures to manage stormwater and protect the water quality in our streams. The College has addressed issues related to the quality of runoff in addition to the quantity. This page provides information about stormwater, describes Ramapo College initiatives and policies and procedures to protect stormwater, and provides links to stormwater resources.
Updated for 2019 – Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SPPP)
Stormwater Brochure (PDF)
Frequently Asked Questions:
What is stormwater?
Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that doesn’t soak into the ground but runs off into waterways. It flows from rooftops, over paved areas and bare soil, and through sloped lawns while picking up a variety of materials on its way. As it flows, stormwater runoff collects and transports soil, animal waste, salt, pesticides, fertilizers, oil and grease, debris and other potential pollutants. The quality of runoff is affected by a variety of factors and depends on the season, local meteorology, geography and upon activities which lie in the path of the flow.
Some of the effects that uncontrolled stormwater can have are:
- Nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen picked up from soils can promote the overgrowth of algae, deplete oxygen in the waterway and be harmful to other aquatic life.
- Toxic chemicals from automobiles, sediment from construction activities and careless application of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers threaten the health of the receiving waterway and can kill fish and other aquatic life.
- Bacteria from animal waste and illicit connections to sewerage systems can make nearby lakes and bays unsafe for wading, swimming and the propagation of edible shellfish.
- According to an inventory conducted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), half of the impaired waterways are affected by urban/suburban and construction sources of stormwater runoff.
What pollutants are of most concern at Ramapo College?
Ramapo College’s stormwater management plan has identified the following pollutants:
- Petroleum products: Runoff from streets and parking lots may contain petroleum products leaking from vehicles.
- Hazardous materials: The campus uses a variety of hazardous materials for teaching, and administrative support activities.
- Pesticides and fertilizer: The campus uses small amounts of pesticides and fertilizers for grounds maintenance activities.
- Sediment: Sediment may be present in runoff from disturbed areas. The most common sources are construction sites and paved surfaces.
- Litter: Litter may come from students, faculty, staff, or visitors. Runoff from precipitation events may cause litter to reach streams.
Where does stormwater in storm drains go?
Storm drains convey runoff to nearby streams without any treatment whatsoever. None of this water goes through the wastewater treatment plant.
What You Can Do?
Here are some ways that you can contribute to pollution prevention and good housekeeping around campus:
- Take note of nearby storm drains and take precautions to prevent any liquid or loose material from entering them.
- If your activity uses water, divert the runoff to a green or vegetated area.
- Sweep the area and pick up any loose material when your activity is completed, and don’t wash anything down the drain.
- Never pour any liquids down outside drains, including beverages, liquid food wastes, grease, wash water or any other seemingly non-harmful liquid – remember these are not natural to our waterways.
Dumpsters are a common source of pollutants, especially if they contain any liquid or semi-liquid wastes. Never place liquids into the regular trash or directly into a Dumpster! Instead, follow these guidelines for disposal of liquid waste:
- Liquids that will not have an adverse effect on the county water treatment plant, such as: liquid food waste, sewage, boiler blow downs, sump pump drainage, should be discharged to drains inside buildings.
- Chemicals and other liquid products that can be toxic should be collected and containerized for proper disposal. Call the Facilities Service Desk at ext. 7660 for a pick up if you have chemical waste products.
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What regulation deals with stormwater?
As result of the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) Phase II rules published in December 1999, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (Department) has developed the Municipal Stormwater Regulation Program. This program addresses pollutants entering our waters from certain storm drainage systems owned or operated by local, county, state, interstate, or federal government agencies. USEPA regulations refer to these systems as “municipal separate storm sewer systems” (MS4s). As a result of USEPA’s new Phase II rules, the Department’s Municipal Stormwater Regulation Program has issued New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NJPDES) permits to Public Complexes and highway agencies, as well as municipalities throughout the state. Public Complexes include certain large public colleges, universities, office complexes, prisons and other correctional facilities, hospital complexes and military bases.
What is Ramapo College doing about stormwater?
Ramapo College coordinates stormwater activities with the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP). In April of 2004, the College submitted a stormwater permit application to the NJ DEP of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). This plan formalized coordination of stormwater management activities. The College has established a variety of policies and plans which include stormwater considerations. In addition, the College has completed the below initiatives.
Ramapo College Initiatives
- Upgrade all existing catch basins are required by new construction or paving.
- Sweep all streets and paths monthly
- Provide annual training to affected employees
- Provide an annual educational event
- Label all catch basins (approximately 390 on campus)
- Monitor outfalls and investigate illicit connections
- Map all outfall pipes (there are 80 on campus)
- Road erosion control maintenance
- Annually inspect: forebays, detention basins and sand filters
- Utilize indoor de-icing material storage
- Control construction site runoff
- Follow practices for pollution prevention and good housekeeping
Ramapo College Policies and Procedures: