Stormwater / MS4

Fall Outreach

Be a leaf hero! View these educational flyers to learn how to best manage leaves in the fall:

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Stormwater Management Regulations

In order to comply with the requirements of the EPA's MS4 General Permits, and protect the water quality of our surface and groundwaters, the Town of Eastham adopted Stormwater Management Regulations (PDF) in May of 2020. These regulations are in alignment with the Massachusetts Stormwater Handbook, and its Stormwater Standards, and apply to runoff created by industrial, commercial, institutional, office, residential and transportation project activities. Please take the time to review them and contact us with any questions:


In an attempt to regulate the discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States, the National Pollution Discharge Elimination Program (NPDES) was created as part of the Clean Water Act. The program gives the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the authority to regulate discharges into the nation's waters by setting limits on the effluent that can be introduced into a body of water from an operating and permitted facility.

Starting in 1990, the EPA began requiring certain Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) operators to obtain discharge permits under Phase I of the NPDES program as a means to regulate discharges from municipal sources. These municipal sources are made up of the Stormwater Network (Catch Basins, Drainage Manholes, Pipes, Outfalls, etc.) used to collect and dispose of stormwater by municipalities. The original MS4s were large cities and counties with populations of 100,000 or more but soon after, the EPA also started requiring small MS4s, such as the Town of Eastham MS4 Regulation Map (PDF), to obtain a discharge permit under Phase II of the NPDES Program.

MS4 Program

Stormwater runoff collects many types of substances including oils, fertilizers, chemicals, waste, sand and grit, containing hazards that may discharge directly into our local bodies of water or infiltrate into the ground and pollute our groundwater supply. Unlike wastewater, stormwater usually gets minimal treatment before it is discharged. This has a negative effect on the general water quality of our natural resources to the detriment of recreational activities, fisheries and aquaculture, wildlife and our water supply.

The NPDES Phase II Stormwater Permit requires owners/operators of Small MS4s to "develop, implement and enforce a Stormwater Management Program (SWMP)" that addresses discharges from their system by focusing on the following areas, which they refer to as the six "minimum control measures":

  • Construction Site Runoff Control
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE)
  • Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping (for Municipal Operations)
  • Post-Construction Control Runoff
  • Public Education and Outreach
  • Public Involvement and Participation

Objectives & Activities

The EPA, as the regulatory agency for Massachusetts MS4s, has established a multi-year approach for owners/operators to achieve the requirements of the NPDES Phase II Permit. The Town of Eastham filed a Notice of Intent (NOI) with the EPA for coverage under the Small MS4 General Permit issued for Massachusetts and was granted authorization to discharge in accordance to the conditions of said permit.

The next steps will involve the development and implementation of a variety of policies and activities, related to the six minimum control measures, to enhance and protect the water quality of our Town.

Transparency Documents & Reports

In this area, we will upload documents related to our efforts as we continue to work on meeting the deadlines set by the permit:

Year 3 Report

What Can I Do to Help?

As a resident of Eastham, we need your assistance and commitment to improving our water quality. Some of the things you could do to help are:

Lawn and garden tips to help curb stormwater pollution