Water Quality & Stormwater Management

Precipitation from rain or melting snow that flows over the ground creates stormwater runoff. Surfaces like streets, driveways, and sidewalks prevent runoff from being absorbed into the ground. Stormwater runoff flows into storm drains or directly into bodies of water. Stormwater runoff can pick up chemicals, debris, dirt and other pollutants that will contaminate our water. It is a common misconception that stormwater is treated before it reaches the waterways. This is not true - everything picked up by the runoff empties into our natural waterways, affecting water quality.


YCPC is involved in water quality & stormwater planning in a variety of ways:

  • Stormwater Authority Feasibility Study (PDF): To prepare for growing responsibilities and to continue assisting municipalities with their water resource challenges, YCPC conducted the York County Stormwater Authority Feasibility Study. This Study assesses the feasibility of a regional stormwater authority to make regulatory compliance more efficient. The goal of this study was to engage the public and municipalities in a process to answer the question of whether a regional stormwater authority is feasible, and if so, what would be the scope, scale, and funding source of the authority. While the Feasibility Study examined the technical feasibility of an authority, its primary focus is on whether an authority is feasible through gauging potential support by the public and municipalities
  • Stormwater Authority Implementation Plan: The York County Stormwater Authority Feasibility Study was completed in January 2016. The County Board of Commissioners voted to accept the findings of the Study and charged YCPC to develop an Implementation Plan. The purpose of the Plan is to determine the most effective way to clean up the County's polluted streams and reduce flooding, as well as protect healthy streams.
  • York County Clean Water Action Plan (WIP3) (PDF):  This Plan, often referred to as the Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP3), is a countywide action plan for clean water. The York County Planning Commission and Conservation District staff developed the Plan, in collaboration with the York County Coalition for Clean Waters (YCC4CW). It sets forth four (4) key strategies that relate to: (1) programmatic changes needed at the State level to achieve water quality improvement and enable the success of countywide water quality efforts, (2) policy and funding actions for the County and/or municipalities to undertake in order to improve water quality, (3) implementation of urban and agricultural BMPs to reduce pollutants, and (4) water quality actions achievable through funding programs administered by the Conservation District.
  • MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems) information and administration. The YCPC administered the County’s 2013 Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Permit. This permit is required of all municipalities/counties that operate/own a storm sewer system that is located in an urbanized area and discharges to waters of the Commonwealth. However, the County received a permit waiver for the 2018-2023 permit cycle. 
    • Regional Chesapeake Bay Pollutant Reduction Plan (CBPRP) (PDF): A CBPRP is a required document for municipalities who have an MS4 permit.  York County has taken an innovative approach and developed one regional plan for participating MS4 municipalities in the County. Although the County has received an MS4 permit waiver, it continues to participate in the regional CBPRP. 
    • Illicit Discharges
      • Illicit discharges are defined as storm drains that, during dry weather, have measurable flow that contains pollutants and/or pathogens.
      • What do I do if I suspect an Illicit Discharge? Report it!
        • If the discharge is located at a County Park, contact the County Parks Dept. at 717-840-7230.
        • If the discharge is located at any other County-owned property, contact Scott Cassel at 717-771-4388.
        • If the discharge is located on a property not owned by the County, contact the municipality in which it is located.
  • Act 167 Stormwater Management Plan and Model Ordinance. YCPC has an important role in developing and promoting York County's ongoing water quality & stormwater management planning under the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Act 167 Program. The Integrated Water Resources Plan (PDF), a component of the York County Comprehensive Plan, contains the County's Stormwater Management Plan.  A Model Ordinance (PDF) that contains standards and criteria consistent with these plans is available for use by local municipalities.