Stormwater Management

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.

  1. About Stormwater
  2. What You Can Do
  3. Regulations
  4. Sanitary and Stormwater system
  5. If a Spill Occurs
  6. Information and Resources
  7. Guide for Food Service Workers
  8. Annual Reports
  9. Construction Site Stormwater Management
  10. Policy to Prohibit Illicit Discharges, Activities and Connections
  11. HVCC Stormwater Management Plan

About Stormwater

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 campus:

Outdoor activities

  • 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 drain.
  • 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.

Trash Disposal

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 inside buildings.
  • 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 liquid chemicals:

  • Keep the container closed tightly except when in use
  • Use a funnel to pour liquids from one container to another
  • Place trays under open containers
  • Prevent dripping as liquids are poured
  • Remain in attendance whenever using liquid materials outdoors
  • 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 Office.
  • 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 Safety Office.

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 state regulations.

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
During 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. View a map of the storm drain outfall system.

Illicit Discharges
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:

  1. Amstuz Hall – an acid waste line will need further investigation to confirm that is discharges to the sanitary drain.
  2. Lang Building– former automotive shop floor drains must be checked to ensure they have been sealed.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 overflow.
  6. Guenther Enrollment Services Center – an evaporative condenser discharges to the roof drain which ties into the storm system
  7. Brahan Hall – the evaporative condenser discharges directly to soil
  8. McDonough Sports Complex – the cooling tower discharges water directly to soil
  9. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Item: Guenther Hall evaporative condenser: A drain was installed on the evaporative condenser that routes the water to the sanitary system.
  7. 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.
  8. Item: Brahan Hall evaporative condenser: A new sump pump, pit and piping from tower to pit was installed.
  9. 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 issue.

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 to:

  • 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 Order.

For questions or comments regarding the Hudson Valley Community College Stormwater Management Program, contact the Office 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

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.

Grease Spills

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 (518) 629-7356.

Spill clean up materials can be replenished by calling Environmental Health and Safety at (518) 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.

Reporting Spills

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 (518) 629-7163 or during off hours, to Public Safety, (518) 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.

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.

Review the SWPPP by project:

  1. Administration Building
  2. LaPan Services Building
  3. Main Academic Quad
  4. Marvin Quad Landscape
  5. Science Center
  6. South Drive Improvements
  7. Outdoor Athletic Complex 2016
  8. Parking Lot Improvements 2016
  9. Gene F. Haas Center for Advanced Manufacturing Skills

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.

Review the policy.

Get in Touch

Environmental Health and Safety
LaPan Services Building

Paul Swieton
Director of Environmental Health & Safety
(518) 629-7163

Maxine Ortiz
Environmental Health & Safety Specialist
(518) 629-7787