Maintaining and improving the cleanliness
of the many beautiful streams, rivers, lakes and ponds in our
surroundings is the responsibility of every citizen. You may not
think about it often, but waste material, both liquid and solid,
left on the ground can be washed away with rain water into our
network of storm sewers and ultimately be deposited in nearby
natural bodies of water. This network of rivers, streams and ponds
are a dynamic, interconnected system and materials can end up
a long way from where they were first discarded. When these liquid
and solid waste materials are deposited untreated in natural waterways,
they can have a profound affect on the aquatic life and add to
sediment buildup thus eroding our waterways over time.
Even seemingly small quantities of products we use everyday that
cause no direct harm can become a problem. Environmental problems
tend to evolve slowly over time and cause damage before we realize
anything is wrong. Small amounts of contaminants can pollute a
large amount of water. For example, one quart of oil can contaminate
up to two million gallons of water.
This webpage has been developed by the Hudson Valley Community
College Stormwater Committee to increase the awareness of students,
staff, faculty and external users of our campus about the impacts
that their activities can have on surface runoff to the stormwater
system. We hope that it will give you a better understanding of
how the campus stormwater system works, the specific activities
that impact the quality of our natural waterways, and what the
environmental laws require.
- About Stormwater
- What You Can Do
- Sanitary and Stormwater system
- If a Spill Occurs
- Information and Resources
- Guide for Food Service Workers
- Annual Reports
- Construction Site Stormwater Management
- Policy to Prohibit Illicit Discharges, Activities and Connections
- HVCC Stormwater Management Plan
Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that doesn't
soak into the ground but runs off into waterways. It flows from
rooftops, over paved areas and bare soil, and through sloped lawns
while picking up a variety of materials on its way. As it flows,
stormwater runoff collects and transports soil, animal waste,
salt, pesticides, fertilizers, oil and grease, debris and other
potential pollutants. The quality of runoff is affected by a variety
of factors and depends on the season, local meteorology, geography
and upon activities which lie in the path of the flow.
Some of the effects that uncontrolled stormwater can have are:
- Nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen picked
up from soils can promote the overgrowth of algae, deplete
oxygen in the waterway and be harmful to other aquatic life.
- Toxic chemicals from automobiles, sediment from
construction activities and careless application of pesticides,
herbicides and fertilizers threaten the health of the receiving
waterway and can kill fish and other aquatic life.
- Bacteria from animal wastes and illicit connections
to sewerage systems can make nearby lakes and bays unsafe for
wading, swimming and the propagation of edible shellfish.
- According to an inventory conducted by the United
States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), half of the impaired
waterways are affected by urban/suburban and construction sources
of stormwater runoff.
What You Can Do
Here are some ways that you
can contribute to pollution prevention and good housekeeping around
- Take note of nearby storm drains and take precautions
to prevent any liquid or loose material from entering them.
If necessary, plug or berm drains to prevent entry of contaminants.
- If your activity uses water, divert the runoff
to a green or vegetated area.
- Sweep the area and pick up any loose material when
your activity is completed, and don't wash anything down the
- Prevent sediment from entering the drain by use
of a fabric bag filter. Contact the Physical Plant Department
ahead of time if you think you may need the drain protected
in some way.
- Never pour any liquids down outside drains, including
beverages, liquid food wastes, grease, wash water or any other
seemingly non-harmful liquid - remember, these are not natural
to our waterways.
Dumpsters are a common source of pollutants, especially if they
contain any liquid or semi-liquid wastes. Never place liquids
into the regular trash or directly into a Dumpster! Instead,
follow these guidelines for disposal of liquid waste:
- Liquids that will not have an adverse affect on the county
water treatment plant, such as: liquid food waste, sewage, boiler
blow downs, sump pump drainage, should be discharged to drains
- Chemicals and other liquid products that can be toxic should
be collected and containerized for proper disposal. Call the
Physical Plant at ext. 7356 for a pick up if you have
chemical waste products.
Preventing and Cleaning Up Spills
Spills of chemical materials should be prevented outside of buildings
as well as inside buildings. Follow these precautions when handling
- Keep the container closed tightly except when
- Use a funnel to pour liquids from one container
- Place trays under open containers
- Prevent dripping as liquids are poured
- Remain in attendance whenever using liquid materials
- If a spill does occur, respond immediately to clean
it up, follow your department guidelines. If you need assistance,
such as for spillage of vehicle fluid, call the Physical Plant
Department immediately. If after hours, call the Public Safety
- Never wash spilled materials down a storm drain,
sanitary sewer, or allow them to evaporate. If you observe improper
dumping or discharge on campus property, immediately notify
the Office of Environmental Health and Safety and/or the Public
Sanitary Sewer and Stormwater Drainage Systems
In municipalities, there are three types of systems that handle
sewage and stormwater: sanitary sewers, stormwater drainage systems,
and combined sewer systems. A sanitary sewer system is designed
to transport wastewater from homes, offices, restaurants, and
shops to the wastewater treatment plant (WWTP), where it is treated
before being discharged to surface water bodies. Stormwater drainage
systems are designed to transport surface runoff from rainstorms
and snow melts into lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds. Water that
enters the stormwater drainage system is not treated before being discharged
into surface waters. The third type of water system, the combined sewer
system, is a combination of both the sanitary and stormwater systems.
A combined sewer carries sanitary sewage and stormwater to be
treated together at the WWTP. The combined sewer has the ability
to treat stormwater runoff, however, during wet weather when stormwater
flows are high, the combination of storm water and wastewater
may overwhelm the treatment plant. In this case, untreated sewage
may be discharged directly into a surface water body.
The Rensselaer County Sewer District (RCSD)
The sanitary sewer collects wastewater from residential, commercial, industrial,
and campus facilities. Wastewater that reaches the RCSD is treated in a number
of ways before being discharged. Dirt and debris, bacteria, organic material,
and nutrients that have potential to cause adverse environmental and human
health effects are all removed from wastewater before it is released.
The citizens of Rensselaer County rely on the RCSD to help maintain
the integrity of the Hudson River. The RCSD analyzes the influent
and effluent of the plant daily, to ensure the effectiveness of
its treatment processes and their compliance with federal and
Hudson Valley Community College operates its own stormwater
drainage system under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination
System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) Permit.
Hudson Valley Community College Storm Drainage System
the past year, a review of the campus drainage system was conducted
to identify all stormwater outfall points and all of the contributing
sources of drainage to each outfall. There are a total of 12 outfalls
around the campus where stormwater is discharged off college property.
Click here to view a map of the storm drain outfall system.
An illicit discharge occurs
when something other than rain, snow or ice melt is discharged
to the stormwater system. For example, it is not uncommon to find
a sanitary sewer line that has been mistakenly cross connected
to a storm sewer, thus allowing raw sewage or other contaminated
water to enter the storm water system directly with no treatment.
Another common mistake in building design is drainage from roof
cooling towers or other mechanical equipment to storm drains.
Although not heavily contaminated, pollutants can be carried off
this type of equipment.
In order to determine if any illicit discharges were present
in campus buildings, the Physical Plant department undertook a
review of the building drainage system to check all connections
for sanitary, roof, sink and floor drains. Suspect areas were
investigated further. As a result of this review, the following
potential problems were identified:
- Amstuz Hall – an acid waste line will need further
investigation to confirm that is discharges to the sanitary
- Lang Building– former automotive shop floor drains
must be checked to ensure they have been sealed.
- Cogan Hall – the oil/water separator in the Automotive
shop discharges to storm system instead of the sanitary system
and will be corrected by connecting to the sanitary system.
- Fitzgibbons Health Technologies Center - the floor drain in
the lower level chemical storage area discharges to an underground
containment tank. Testing will be conducted to ensure the integrity
of the tank.
- Siek Campus Center – the cooling tower mechanical room
floor drain may potentially overflow to a nearby storm sewer
grate. The drain will be enlarged or another added to prevent
- Guenther Enrollment Services Center – an evaporative
condenser discharges to the roof drain which ties into the storm
- Brahan Hall – the evaporative condenser discharges
directly to soil
- McDonough Sports Complex – the cooling tower discharges
water directly to soil
- Cogeneneration Plant – the cooling tower discharges
to the roof drain which ties into the storm system.
A program to correct all illicit discharges was developed in 2004, and all work completed by September, 2005. The corrective actions included:
- Item: Amstuz Hall acid waste line: An outside environmental consultant performed dye testing in the chemistry lab sinks and observed dye at sanitary sewer manholes, confirming discharge is to sanitary. No further action needed.
- Item: Lang Hall: An outside environmental consultant performed dye testing, which were inconclusive. Further evaluation was completed using a backhoe to expose the area where the drywell was suspected. The results of the investigation revealed no evidence of a drywell. No further action is needed.
- Item: Cogan Hall oil water separator: the piping at the oil water separator was modified to make room for a sump pit and a pump installed to move the discharge along the wall to the sanitary waste line at the sink. The pump was fitted with an overflow alarm in case of power outage.
- Item: Fitzgibbons Health Technologies Center chemical storage area: The floor drain was sealed. This chemical storage area is equipped with a 4 inch sill to contain any liquids spilled inside the room. Further evaluation of the tank in the fall of 2004 found that the tank was full; samples were collected and analytical testing indicated that it is ground water. No further action is needed.
- Item: Campus Center cooling tower mechanical room floor drain: Further evaluation verified the drain discharges to sanitary and would only present a potential problem if an overflow spills onto the floor and out of the room, which is unlikely. No further action is needed.
- Item: Guenther Hall evaporative condenser: A drain was installed on the evaporative condenser that routes the water to the sanitary system.
- Item: Cogen Plant cooling tower: The roof drain was connected to the sanitary system by running sixty feet of 3-inch piping to sanitary vent.
- Item: Brahan Hall evaporative condenser: A new sump pump, pit and piping from tower to pit was installed.
- Item: McDonough cooling tower: drain was connected to sanitary by running 25 feet of 3-inch cast iron pipe to existing sump pit.
The Clean Water Act
Under the Clean Water Act, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency was given
authority to establish national programs for the prevention, reduction and
elimination of pollution in national navigable waters and ground waters.
It also set standards and introduced required permits for the discharge and
treatment of wastewater from industries and municipalities. The CWA has brought
about significant progress in cleaning up industrial wastewater and municipal
sewage - specifically, single origins of pollution known as point sources.
With the reduction of point source pollution, it became evident
that pollution from different sources over a wide, non-specific
area, also known as non-point sources, was a major cause of water
pollution. This is the type of pollution associated with storm
water runoff. According to the Environmental Protection Agency,
urban runoff is a major source of pollution for lakes and rivers.
In 1987, amendments to the CWA created provisions to address this
The State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES)
In an effort to reduce non-point source urban runoff pollution, the NPDES Stormwater
Program was developed under the Federal Water Quality Act of 1987. To implement
the law, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has
issued two general permits, one for MS4s in urbanized areas and one for construction
activities. The permits are part of the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination
System (SPDES). Operators of Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s)
in urbanized areas and for construction activities disturbing one or more
acres were required to apply for permit coverage by March 10, 2003.
In addition to the permitting requirement, SPDES specifies monitoring
and reporting requirements. Each permittee is required to develop
and implement a Stormwater Management Program (SWMP), a set of
plans and procedures intended to reduce pollutants to the "maximum
extent practicable." With the SWMP, a permittee is required
- Identify system outfalls and pollutant loadings
- Detect and eliminate non-stormwater discharges
- Reduce runoff pollutants
- Control stormwater discharges from development
and redevelopment areas
And implement these measures:
- Public education, outreach and participation
- Illicit discharge detection and elimination
- Construction site runoff control
- Post-construction runoff control
- Pollution prevention/good housekeeping measures
Hudson Valley Community
College Stormwater Permit
In 2003, Hudson Valley Community College applied for and was issued a SPDES
MS4 permit by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. Under this
permit, the college is developing a SWMP, in compliance with the regulation.
Our program must be fully implemented by January 8, 2008. Annual reports on
completion of stated goals must be submitted to the state by June 1 of each
year of the permit, starting in 2004.
Information and Resources
The Physical Plant Department has been designated as the
Stormwater Hotline. To report a concern
regarding a discharge to the campus stormwater system, for
assistance in cleaning up spills, or for a pick up of chemical
waste, call (518) 629-7356 or file a Work
For questions or comments regarding the Hudson Valley Community
College Stormwater Management Program, contact Laurie Vivekanand, coordinator
of environmental health and safety
For more information about Stormwater, visit these websites:
Guide for Food Service Workers
Stormwater Pollution Prevention Guidelines
Faculty Student Association and Chartwells
It might not seem obvious, but stormwater runoff is our most common cause of water pollution. Stormwater pollution is caused by the daily activities of people everywhere and can lead to significant pollution of nearby lakes, streams and rivers. Rainwater and snowmelt runoff from parking lots, dock areas, roads and walkways can pick up fertilizers, dirt, pesticides, oil and grease, and other pollutants on the way to our rivers, lakes, and coastal waters.
Hudson Valley Community College has initiated a Stormwater Management Program to minimize pollutants entering the campus stormwater system. This information sheet was developed especially for Chartwells food service workers, to let you know what you can do in your daily work activities to minimize pollutants from entering the storm drains around campus.
Please read and familiarize yourself with these guidelines.
Work guidelines for food service activities:
Food grease must be collected into a closed container and taken to the food grease tank outside the rear of the Campus Center. The grease must be CAREFULLY POURED into the tank to PREVENT SPILLS. Close the tank opening after each addition of grease to prevent rain water from getting in the tank. Be certain the grate opening on the tank is not frozen and that the grease will pour through freely before you begin to pour grease. If grease drips or spills outside the container, it can become a pollutant by running into the storm drain. Therefore all spills and drips of grease must be cleaned up promptly.
If grease is spilled outside the building, take immediate steps to clean it up and prevent it from reaching the storm drain grates near the loading dock. Grease spill clean up supplies are kept in a box labeled, “Spill Clean up Materials. Use this material to soak up or contain the spill. If additional supplies or assistance is needed, contact the Hudson Valley Community College stormwater hotline at 629-7356.
Spill clean up materials can be replenished by calling Environmental Health and Safety at 629-7163.
Liquid Wastes Other than Grease
Other liquid food wastes can be poured down drains inside the building where the drains are connected to the sanitary sewer system. Never pour liquids into a storm drain outside a building, or onto the ground or grass or into a dumpster. These liquids will mix with rain water and add to the pollution level in nearby lakes, streams and rivers.
Solid Food Wastes
To keep building drains clear, do not pour solid food into the drain. Liquids should be drained from the food as much as possible and then the solid waste disposed in the regular trash.
Catering and Concessions
Food, wash water, liquid food wastes, cooking water and grease must not be poured into nearby drains, pavement or ground outside any campus building. Grease must be collected in a covered container and transported back to the Campus Center grease collection tank. Other liquid and solid food wastes must be disposed as described in the above sections.
If there is a spill of oil, grease or other foreign substance to the storm drains, report this immediately to Environmental Health and Safety at 629-7163 or during off hours, to Public Safety, 629-7210.
Thanks for doing your part to keep our lakes and rivers clean!
Construction Site Stormwater Management
Soil and erosion control from construction activity is managed through policies and procedures developed by the college and incorporated by reference into contractor specifications. In addition, all construction projects that will disturb one or more acres of land must have in place a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), specific to that construction project. The SWPPP must meet the requirements of the college’s Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Phase II Permit and the stormwater management requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System regulations, administered by New York State through the State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System regulations.
Click here to review the Hudson Valley Community College General Contractor Specifications Policy.
The Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans for construction projects on College property are posted for review and comment by the college community. Click on the project listed to review the SWPPP:
- Administration Building
- LaPan Services Building
- Main Academic Quad
- Marvin Quad Landscape
- Science Center
- South Drive Improvements
Hudson Valley Community College Policy to Prohibit Illicit Discharges, Activities and Connections
The college has implemented an enforcement policy to control the introduction of pollutants and hazardous wastes into the colleges municipal storm sewer system.
Click here to review the policy.