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Working to improve and protect water quality

Iowa cities and towns and the three regent universities (Click Here for a Map) have a responsibility to do all they can to improve and protect streams, rivers and lakes located within their jurisdictional boundaries.  There are many decisions community leaders make on a day to day basis that protects or harms our water resources.  Community leaders include elected official, appointed officials and staff.

The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permt program provides guidance to communities, whether the Iowa Department of Natural Resources have issued a permit or not.  The guiding principals are found in the NPDES MS4 Permit Program’s Six Minimum Control Measures:

  • Public Education and Outreach – includes distribution of educational materials to the community or conducting equivalent outreach activities which address the impacts of stormwater discharges on water bodies and the steps the public can take to reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff.
  • Public Participation and Involvement – solicit public comment and recommendations regarding the BMPs and measurable goals utilized by the permittee to comply with the permit.
  • Construction Site Runoff Control – develop, implement, and enforce a program to reduce pollutants in any stormwater runoff to the MS4 from construction activities that result in a land disturbance of greater than or equal to one acre.
  • Post-Construction Runoff Control – develop, implement, and enforce a program to address post-construction stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopment projects.
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination – develop, implement and enforce a program to detect and eliminate illicit discharges into the MS4.
  • Pollution Prevention and Good Housekeeping – develop and implement an operation and maintenance program that includes employee training to prevent and reduce stormwater pollution from municipal operations activities such as park and open space maintenance, fleet and building maintenance, new construction and land disturbances, and stormwater system maintenance.

Local Ordinance & Policy Guidance

The Iowa Stormwater Management Manual (ISWMM) includes a section that serves as a guidance document for local jurisdictions seeking to adopt post-construction stormwater management policies.

ISWMM Chapter 3.01-7
Guidance Language (pgs 38-39)

Model Ordinances

ISWEP has developed model ordinances related to stormwater management for communities to use when drafting or revising their language. We’ve also compiled adopted ordinances from across the state in both MS4 and non-MS4 communities. Please contact ISWEP if your community has an ordinance that should be listed below.

Post Construction
Model Ordinance

Stormwater Utilities
Model Ordinance

Illicit Discharge
Model Ordinance

Construction Site Runoff Control
Model Ordinance

Example Stormwater Practice Maintenance Agreement

Wetland Detention Basin

Other Ordinances Relevant to Stormwater in Iowa

  1. Iowa City Conservation Development Ordinance
  2. Johnson County Conservation Subdivision Ordinance
  3. City of Pleasant Hill Stream Buffer Ordinance
  4. Polk County Stream Buffer Ordinance
  5. Cedar Falls Floodplain and Floodway Ordinance