Biggest Little City

About the Program

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The Truckee Meadows Regional Stormwater Quality Management Program is a comprehensive program comprised of efforts by the governments of Reno, Sparks and Washoe County, together with private citizens, to reduce the pollution associated with urban runoff in the Truckee Meadows. This program is required by the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued jointly to the Cities of Reno and Sparks and Washoe County on May 29, 2010. The Truckee Meadows Interlocal Stormwater Committee developed the program through a series of public workshops. The program includes the following required program elements:

Intergovernmental Coordination
The goal of this program element is to establish clear roles and responsibilities among the local jurisdictions for program development and implementation and to establish the relationship of the local program to the state program. The City of Reno, City of Sparks, and Washoe County entered into a formal agreement for program development and implementation.

Public Outreach
Storm drain stenciling is being implemented in our community to help people understand the message that storm water flows directly to our waterways.  This program is volunteer-based and the University of Nevada, Reno and Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful (KTMB) have been coordinating efforts to ensure a sizable group is involved.

Municipal Operations
The Municipal Operations Program has improved maintenance activities to better protect water quality, and includes new policies, procedures, guidance documents, design criteria, training, a database and a study of street sweeper technologies and practices in other communities.

The primary purpose of the Washoe County Board of Health's involvement is to improve air quality in the Truckee Meadows during the winter months. A conversion to higher efficiency street sweepers also helps to ensure stormwater quality improvements. Existing programs for catch basin cleaning, ditch cleaning, storm drain line cleaning and street sweeping will be continued and policies and procedures will be developed to enhance the effectiveness of these maintenance activities. Agencies have built in the use of brine as an abrasive in the winter weather, and continue to refine practices.

Stormwater Discharge Monitoring
This program implements monitoring stations for collection of stormwater runoff samples. Samples are tested in a state approved analytical laboratory and estimates of the pollutant loadings associated with the general types of land uses in the area are calculated and reported in the annual report. Program components include an interagency agreement, written policies and procedures, a technical sampling manual, staff training, where feasible, public education and special studies such as an effectiveness assessment of best management practices (BMPs) and the impacts of urban runoff on the Truckee River. 

Construction Site Discharge
This program integrates stormwater management into the existing regulatory program for grading permit plan review, Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs), inspection and enforcement mechanisms. Program components are written policies and procedures, ordinance revisions, current Construction Activities BMP Handbook, training for staff, site designers and operators, a database, complaints reporting and web site information. Local governmental departments and organizations such as the Community Development Departments for the Cities of Reno and Sparks and Washoe County are directly involved in this program. 

Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
The IDDE program formalizes an inspection and enforcement program for detecting and eliminating illicit discharges and connections. The program includes ordinance revisions, adoption of new policies, procedures and a technical manual, staff training, storm drain mapping, complaints reporting, posting information on the web site, public outreach and development of a free household hazardous waste (HHW) disposal program. Among other activities, outfalls along the Truckee River will be physically surveyed twice annually as well as periodically sampled. Illicit discharges detected from outfall monitoring will be traced to determine and eliminate sources. Local governmental departments such as the Environmental Control Sections for the Cities of Reno and Sparks are directly involved in this program.  Through interlocal agreement, the cities provide IDDE program support to the county.

"An illegal discharge is defined as any disposal into the storm drain system for which a person or business does not have a permit." It is also defined as "any discharge to the storm drain system that is prohibited under local, state or federal statutes, ordinances, codes or regulations."

Federal and State laws, and City of Reno, City of Sparks and Washoe County codes and ordinances, currently prohibit the discharge of certain waters to the storm drain system. The purpose of these regulations is to protect the quality of the nation's surface water resources by minimizing the contamination associated with urban activities.

The following information is designed to assist you in recognizing potential illegal/illicit discharges into the storm drain system, and to provide a method for reporting observations to the appropriate local authorities.

Prohibited Discharges

  • Industrial process water
  • Commercial car wash wastewater
  • Sanitary sewer flows
  • Wash-down of loading areas
  • Wastewater treatment plant effluent
  • Dumping of liquid waste
  • Chlorinated pool water
  • Water softener brine backwash
  • Reclaimed or recycled water

Permissible Discharges

  • Lawn, garden and landscape irrigation (not including reclaimed or recycled water)
  • Diverted stream flows
  • Rising ground waters and springs
  • Uncontaminated pumped ground water
  • Foundation drains
  • Air conditioning condensation
  • Water from crawl space pumps
  • Footing drains
  • Flows from riparian habitats and wetlands
  • Dechlorinated swimming pool discharges
  • Water utility line flushing
  • Runoff from firefighting
  • Discharges from potable water sources
  • Dechlorinated pool water
  • Street wash water from cleaning/maintenance
  • Residential and fund raising car washing

Industrial Program
The industrial discharge regulation program builds on the wastewater pretreatment program, utilizing existing staff to implement stormwater management. The program involves written policies and procedures, ordinance revision, database tracking, an industrial BMP handbook, training for inspectors, complaints reporting and posting information on the web site. Local governmental departments such as the Environmental Control Sections for the Cities of Reno and Sparks are directly involved in this program.  Through an interlocal agreement, the cities manage the industrial program for Washoe County.

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