West Donegal Township is now in the midst of a five-year permit cycle with the PA Department of Environmental Protection and has become an official ‘MS4”. MS4 stands for “Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System” (M for Municipal and S4 for the 4 “S” words that follow). We were required to apply for this permit as a result of the population density within our urbanized area (Rheems, other housing developments and the Conewago Industrial Park). This permit allows the Township to discharge stormwater from our urbanized area (UA) into local streams and water courses (also known as “Waters of the Commonwealth”) which ultimately empty into the Chesapeake Bay.

Click here to view a copy of the Townships's MS4 Permit

Part of our responsibility under this permit is to reduce the Township’s levels of sediment and nutrient (nitrogen & phosphorus) load which enter our streams from stormwater runoff. This aspect of the permit is called a Pollution Reduction Plan (PRP). Our plan includes several stream bank restoration projects, one of which must be completed during this five-year permit cycle to remain in compliance. In addition to completing this project, we are also required to make regular reports and do water quality testing on selected stormwater outlets that discharge stormwater from our UA, directly into local streams.


Identifying and correcting illicit discharges from your property is a good first step. Illicit discharges include things like septic tank drainage, laundry wash water, paint, oil, grease, gasoline and other chemicals and petroleum products. All these items should never be allowed to enter the storm sewer system or any other waterway. You can also help by making sure grass clippings from your yard do not end up in the storm sewer system. Mulch your grass clippings whenever possible and never blow them into the street or on to the sidewalk. Grass clippings from the street clog our underground stormwater piping system and release excess nitrogen and phosphorous into stormwater and streams as the clippings decompose.

If your property contains a detention basin or a drainage swale, you are responsible to properly maintain these stormwater control facilities. Click here for a guide to basin maintenance and here for some illustrated basin do's and don'ts. Please contact the township office if you are not sure that the basin or swale near your house is part of your property.