Storm Water management is essential to protect water quality and prevent negative impacts to the human and natural environment. Because storm water is not treated; anything that reaches storm water or the storm drain system outfalls directly to surface water. The Port of Alaska’s storm water system is permitted and regulated as a Phase I Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) by the Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (APDES) program. The main objectives of the APDES regulations are to reduce or eliminate discharges and illicit connections and to minimize pollutant contact with storm water and storm water conveyance systems. The Port accomplishes these objectives via a Storm Water Management Program (SWMP) Plan. The SWMP Plan is designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants to the MS4 to the maximum extent practical to protect the water quality of receiving waters. Under the Plan, the Port systematically monitors and addresses potential sources of storm water pollution, and implements and evaluates the effectiveness of best management practices (BMPs). The Port updates the SWMP Plan annually.
The Port’s SWMP is implemented by the Storm Water Pollution Prevention (SWPP) Team. Quarterly SWPP Team meetings are mandated by the APDES permit. These meetings are generally scheduled to occur on the third Thursday of the following months: February, May, August, and November. Meeting minutes will be posted on this webpage as they become available.
Storm water is the surface runoff that results from precipitation events and snow melt.
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) originated under Section 402 of the Clean Water Act requires that pollutant discharges to surface water be authorized by permit. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) administered the program in Alaska until permitting authority was transferred to the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (ADEC) Alaska Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (APDES) beginning in 2008. The phased transfer of authority was completed in October 2012.
The Port’s storm water system is designated as a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4), which is defined as a conveyance or system of conveyances (including roads with drainage systems, municipal streets, catch basins, curbs, gutters, ditches, manmade channels, or storm drains) that is:
The original MS4 permit was issued to the Port by the EPA in 1995. In 2011, the ADEC assumed responsibility of regulating storm water in Alaska. The ADEC reissued the MS4 permit with new conditions effective as of August 1, 2015. Regulated storm water discharges associated with industrial operations and/or construction activities are authorized to discharge through the Port, but only when those discharges are separately permitted under the appropriate APDES permit. The type of APDES permit required for each tenant is determined by the type of discharge. For example, industrial storm water discharges from industrial facilities require authorization under the Multi-Sector General Permit (MSGP), whereas discharges from construction activities disturbing one or more acres are subject to the requirements of the APDES Construction General Permit (CGP). Based on their specific operations and activities, each tenant obtains an appropriate APDES permit for those discharges. The remaining discharges through the MS4, such as urban runoff, drainage and runoff from the Port’s parking areas, storage areas, and/or structural storm water runoff management controls, etc. are authorized under the MS4 permit.
Currently, there are six MS4 permits in the state: Fort Wainwright, MOA and State Department of Transportation (DOT), Port of Alaska, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Fairbanks North Star Borough stormwater system, and the City of Fairbanks stormwater system. Operating an MS4 requires permit authorization under the APDES. An APDES Permit limits the types and amounts of substances that can be discharged and sets monitoring and reporting requirements and other provisions to ensure that the discharge does not harm water quality or human health. The Port’s APDES Permit number is AKS-052426 and is valid until July 31, 2025. To review a copy of the permit and find out more about APDES, you can visit the ADEC website here:
Illicit Discharge means any discharge to the Port’s MS4 that is not composed entirely of storm water. Illicit discharges of liquid or solid waste into any storm drain inlet including, but not limited to, ditches, surface water bodies, floor drains, sinks, catch basins, manholes, sheet flow runoff, or other storm drain inlets, are prohibited and considered illicit discharges.
Non-storm water discharges are defined as discharges that do not originate from storm events. These can include, but are not limited to, discharges of process water, non-contact cooling water, vehicle wash water, watering for dust control, sanitary wastes, concrete washout water, irrigation water, etc. Refer to the individual permit to determine which of the above mentioned non-storm water discharges are allowed or prohibited.
Best Management Practices, or BMPs, are schedules of activities, prohibitions of practices, maintenance procedures, and other structural and operational management practices to prevent or reduce the discharge of pollutants to surface waters. BMPs also include treatment requirements, operating procedures, and practice to control plant site runoff, spillage or leaks, sludge or waste disposal, or drainage from raw material storage.
Please visit the following links to view the 2017 Annual Report and associated plans, to learn more about the MS4 permit and the Storm Water Management Program team, and to view the quarterly meeting minutes. Should you have any questions or concerns regarding storm water management at the Port, please email us at email@example.com.
SWPP Team Meeting Minutes:
Quarterly SWPP Team meetings are mandated by the APDES permit. These meetings are currently scheduled to occur on the third Thursday of the following months: February, May, August, and November. Meeting minutes furnished upon request.