The Clean Water Act has led to improvements in water quality with regard to point source discharges, such as industrial and wastewater treatment plant outfalls, through NPDES (National Permit Discharge Elimination System) permits. However, non-point source discharges, such as stormwater runoff, have become the leading cause of degradation, resulting in many waters of the state falling short of meeting their designated uses. These uses include swimming, fishing, contact recreation, aquatic life, and drinking water sources. In Kingsport and other urban areas, contaminated runoff originates from parking lots, residential/commercial/industrial developments, and redevelopment areas. The primary pollutants are sediment, oil, grease, and bacteria. The passage of federal and state stormwater regulations for small and medium-sized cities led to the City of Kingsport obtaining a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) NPDES Phase II permit in 2003.
The requirements of the MS4 permit are carried out by the City’s Stormwater Manager, along with the Stormwater Engineers, the Stormwater Quality Control Technician and the Maintenance Foreman. This team is responsible for achieving and maintaining compliance. With a proven track record of sustainable success, the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) accepted Kingsport’s application to become a Qualifying Local Program (QLP) in 2016. This designation allows Kingsport to issue stormwater construction permits for non-governmental projects and provides a more streamlined process.
Kingsport develops, implements, and enforces a Stormwater Management Program to protect water quality in our streams. The elements of the program are documented in a Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP), which is reviewed periodically to ensure compliance with current state and federal regulations.
The ultimate goal of Kingsport’s Stormwater Management Program is to improve water quality. Stormwater Control Measures such as detention, retention, treatment, or a combination of these, help to achieve this goal. Some examples are shown below. The City of Kingsport’s Stormwater Management Manual describes stormwater management in more detail.