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 stormwater & water quality planning in a variety of ways.

Stormwater Planning

  • Stormwater Authority Feasibility Study (PDF): To prepare for growing responsibilities and to better assist municipalities, YCPC conducted the York County Stormwater Authority Feasibility Study. This Study was completed in January 2016 and looks at the feasibility of a regional stormwater authority to make regulatory compliance more efficient. It also examined options for potential scope, scale, and funding source of an authority. While technical concerns were considered, the primary focus was on gauging potential support by engaging with the public and municipalities
  • Stormwater Authority Implementation PlanAfter accepting the findings of the Feasibility Study, the County Board of Commissioners asked YCPC to develop an Implementation Plan (SWAIP). The SWAIP analyzes a variety of options in search of the most effective way to clean up the County’s polluted streams and reduce flooding, as well as protect healthy streams. The SWAIP process is concluding now, with YCPC working on an array of options to present to the County Commissioners in spring of 2019.
  • 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 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 that contains standards and criteria consistent with these plans is available for use by local municipalities.

Water Quality Planning

  • MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems) administration. YCPC administered the County’s 2013 Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit. This permit is required of all municipalities/counties that operate/own a storm sewer system located in an urbanized area that discharges to waters of the Commonwealth. The County received a permit waiver for the 2018-2023 permit cycle. 
  • Regional Chesapeake Bay Pollutant Reduction Plan (CBPRP) (PDF): A CBPRP is required for municipalities with 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.
  • York Countywide Action Plan for Clean Water (CAP) (PDF):  This Plan is a component of PA DEPs Chesapeake Bay Phase 3 Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP3). YCPC and County Conservation District staff worked with the York County Coalition for Clean Waters (YCC4CW) to develop the CAP, which includes four strategies to improve water quality. These strategies relate to: (1) legislative programmatic changes needed at the State level to enable the success of countywide water quality efforts, (2) policy and funding actions for the County and/or municipalities, (3) implementation of urban and agricultural BMPs to reduce pollutants, and (4) water quality actions achievable through the Conservation District’s funding programs. Visit York Countywide Action Plan for Clean Water for more information.