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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Stormwater is the only growing source of water pollution in our nation and adding illicit discharges to the mix just doesn’t help. A big thank you to City staff and departments for helping prevents, identify and at times clean up a handful of illicit discharges over the past month. Remember,... more


Thursday, September 19, 2019

The following is a press release from the South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership: The South Bend - Elkhart Regional Partnership, in collaboration with numerous community organizations, is launching a Brand Development Project for the region. The goal of this project is to develop a brand and marketing... more


Thursday, September 19, 2019

The City will close the intersection of Jackson and 9th Street beginning Friday, Sept. 20 around noon, to install a table top intersection. This is where the trail crosses from one side to the other and the table top intersection will make this crossing more visible to the traveling public. The... more

Upcoming Events All »

Shade Tree Board meeting

Monday, September 23, 2019, 7:00pm

Board of Zoning Appeals Meeting

Tuesday, September 24, 2019, 4:00pm

Board of Public Works & Safety & Stormwater

Monday, September 30, 2019, 2:00pm

Stormwater Management

Indiana Bridge over the Elkhart River

Welcome to the Goshen Department of Stormwater Management

Stormwater flowing down the drain.

(Picture Caption:  Stormwater flowing down the drain.)

The Department of Stormwater Management is part of the Goshen Engineering Department and is located at 204 East Jefferson Street, Goshen, Indiana, which used to be the old Goshen High School.

The Goshen Department of Stormwater Management works daily to prevent polluted stormwater runoff from impacting our natural water resources by working closely with a variety of other public and private partners within the City of Goshen, Elkhart County, and the State of Indiana.

The goal for the management of stormwater is "Clean Water for Everyone". In order to get there, the Department of Stormwater Management provides education and opportunities for the public to be involved, identifies and addresses illicit discharges to the storm sewer system or our local waterways, monitors construction sites and newly developed areas for stormwater compliance, and makes sure the City conducts operations and maintains its facilities in a manner that does not introduce pollution into our own local waterways.

What is Stormwater?

Stormwater is water from snow and ice melting, as well as rainwater from storms. When rain or melting snow and ice fall or flow across natural surfaces like forests and grassy areas, most of it will soak into the soil. When it lands on streets, parking lots, and other hard surfaces, it runs off to another location like a storm drain or a local waterway.

What is Stormwater Pollution?

As stormwater flows (or snow melts), it picks up debris (such as trash, grass clippings, etc.), chemicals (such as fertilizers and pesticides), sediment, and other pollutants. This "contaminated" water then enters a storm sewer system and is eventually discharged to a local wetland, stream, or river.

Why is Stormwater Pollution a Concern? 

Within the City of Goshen and other urban areas, stormwater runoff comes from yards, roofs, driveways, parking lots, construction sites, and streets (these are all called hard surfaces except for yards), and flows into miles of storm sewers, swales, and ditches located under or next to our City streets and eventually reaches our local waterways. Stormwater picks up oil, grease, sediments, automotive fluids, trash, lawn chemicals, and other pollutants that are harmful to the environment and is often discharged/released into our local waterways untreated. Untreated stormwater affects our ability to use our local water bodies for drinking, fishing, and recreational purposes and it degrades fish and other aquatic habitats. The only way to lessen stormwater pollution is to reduce the amount of pollutants washed away by stormwater.

For more information on the origins of the Department of Stormwater Management and the Staff, click here.

Recent Stormwater News

  • EPA Repeals the 2015 Clean Water Rule, which clarified what kinds of waterways were regulated under the Clean Water Act. Now, regulated waterways are defined by the standards created in 1986 until the current EPA is able to finalize the new definition later this year. This is concerning as many water bodies and waterways are interconnected and do not follow political boundaries. (September 18, 2019)
  • "Anticipated increases in annual rainfall should signal a need for Indiana to consider whether existing stormwater systems can handle flooding." This statement and others were presented to Indiana's 14-member Stormwater Management Task Force as information is gathered for a report to be released in December detailing recommendations for stormwater needs in Indiana. (September 10, 2019)
  • When developing an area sometimes traditional surface stormwater management practices are not the best option and innovative ecological approaches to stormwater management need to be considered. Check out this development from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and the private and public partnership that was formed to meet MS4 regulatory requirements and Chesapeake Bay Watershed goals. (August 27, 2019)
  • "A good rainstorm can make a city feel clean and revitalized. However, the substances that wash off of buildings, streets, and sidewalks and down storm drains might not be so refreshing. Now, researchers reporting in American Chemical Society's Environmental Science & Technology have analyzed untreated urban stormwater from 50 rainstorms across the U.S., finding a wide variety of contaminants that could potentially harm aquatic organisms in surface waters and infiltrate groundwater." (August 27, 2019)
  • Climate change is driving rapid shifts between high and low water levels on the Great Lakes according to researchers with the University of Michigan. The reason is longer periods of dry weather, increased evaporation due to less ice cover in the winter, and more frequent heavy rain events. This variability has been seen recently in the low water levels of 2013 and now the nearly record high water levels of 2019. (August 27, 2019)
  • New research from scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey has shown the flow between various stages of the water cycle has increased in some areas and decreased in others, which means some areas could experience more floods and other areas more droughts. Check it out. (July 26, 2019)
  • Check out this study conducted by the Green Infrastructure Center and the state forestry agencies in six states to study how urban trees can be used to reduce harmful stormwater runoff. (July 26, 2019)
  • Stormwater regulations can vary from municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4) to MS4 across the State of Indiana and the United States. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has set the minimum requirements with "Rule 5" (327 IAC 15-5) and MS4s have the ability to follow those requirements or to enact stricter requirements through "Rule 13" (IAC 15-13). However, this can create a patchwork of regulations that is frustrating to development. However, it is also important to protect water quality from stormwater pollution from construction projects. Thus, there is currently proposed legislation in the Indiana Legislator (House Bill (HB) 1266) that would restrict how stormwater regulations can be implemented statewide. Check out this Indy Star article on why HB 1266 would be harmful to Indiana waterways. (February 14, 2019)
  • The Clean Water Act (CWA) has a new addition in the form of the Water Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2018 (H.R. 7279). This legislation "is a major improvement over the CWA status quo" and "marks one of the most significant substantive changes to the CWA in decades", according to the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA). Local governments will now have more flexibilities in how they use integrated planning strategies, in how they prioritize and sequence wastewater and stormwater compliance obligations, and how they incorporate the use of water reuse, water recycling, and green infrastructure into their projects. Finally, it directs the EPA to support the use of green infrastructure in permits, consent decrees, and settlement agreements. The EPA will also provide guidance to government and tribal entities and the general public. For more detailed information from NACWA click here. (January 18, 2019)
  • 2018 was one of the wettest years on record with five (5) 1-in-1000-year rain events and over 25 cities in the Midwestern and Eastern U.S. setting new rainfall records. For more information check out this recent blog post by StormSensor and watch this short video (January 15, 2019): 

For additional stormwater and water quality-related news visit the Stormwater News Archive.

Stormwater Toolbox Newsletter

September 2019: In this month's Newsletter read about how City departments and staff have helped to identify, report, and in some instances cleanup illicit discharge incidents to the City's storm sewer system. The back page summarizes three stormwater-related news stories that will or continue to have a big impact on our environment.

August 2019: In this month's Newsletter read about why it is important for City employees (anyone actually) to do routine inspections of areas and equipment exposed to stormwater to help reduce stormwater pollution and about the growing threat of urban flooding outside of the typical flood risk areas. 

To see past editions of the Stormwater Toolbox Newsletter click here.

Upcoming Meeting Dates

  • Goshen Stormwater Board - Every Monday at 2:00 pm in the Police/Courts Building (111 East Jefferson Street)
  • MS4 Advisory Board - To be Announced at the Elkhart County Public Services Building (4230 Elkhart Road, Goshen, IN 46526) 
  • Partnership Stormwater Board Meeting - Monday, September 23rd, at 9:00 am at the County Administration Building (117 N. Second Street, Goshen, IN 46526)