The City of Rochester
31 Wakefield Street, Rochester, NH 03867
City of Rochester Stormwater Center
City of Rochester’s Stormwater Center

Part of our commitment to serving the residents of Rochester includes providing information that helps them to make more informed decisions about water quality issues and the public’s responsibilities in protecting surface water quality for current and future generations.  This section of the City’s website is a resource we hope you’ll find both useful and interesting.  We genuinely hope this site is helpful to you in learning more about our Federal, State, and City-driven responsibilities.


When it rains or snow melts, the resulting "stormwater" may be absorbed into the ground or it may "runoff" the land surface into a nearby lake, stream, or estuary.  Stormwater runoff from natural (vegetated) land is typically low since most rain or snow melt infiltrates into the ground or is lost to evaporation.  Stormwater runoff increases as the percentage of impervious surface cover (e.g., streets, parking lots, rooftops) increases, since the land's ability to absorb water is limited.  In addition to washing pollutants into our surface waters, improperly managed stormwater runoff can result in soil erosion and flooding.




The Federal Water Quality Act of 1987 recognized that runoff from urban areas and industrial sites contributed to the pollution of surface waters.  It required the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to address stormwater discharges using a two-phased approach.  The Phase I final regulations were published in November of 1990. The Phase II final regulations were published in December of 1999.
In Phase I, the EPA required medium to large municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4) operators to obtain permit coverage.  These MS4s generally served areas with populations of 100,000 or more.  Dischargers of "stormwater discharges associated with industrial activity" were also required to apply for permits.
Phase II regulates small municipal separate storm sewer system (Small MS4) discharges in Urban Areas (UA), stormwater discharge associated with construction activity of one acre of greater, and municipally owned industrial activities.  A "small" MS4 is any MS4 not already covered by Phase I of the NPDES Stormwater Program.  Rochester has been designated as falling within EPA's urban area definition for Phase II permitting.

Phase II of the stormwater program automatically applies to all construction activities disturbing one or more acre to less than five acres of land.  These sites must receive an NPDES Permit before any earthmoving activities begin.  EPA may require construction sites disturbing less than one acre of land to obtain a stormwater discharge permit if such activities would adversely affect water quality.

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In order to comply with Phase II of the stormwater program, please follow the steps below:
  • Determine which parties are considered "operators" responsible for complying with the Phase II requirements.
  • An “operator” of a construction site, such as the developer, is one who maintains overall operational control over construction plans and specifications, including the ability to change these plans and specifications.  An operator can also be one who maintains day-to-day operational control over activities that will ensure compliance with the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP), such as the general contractor or subcontractor.
  • Complete and submit a Notice of Intent (NOI) to the EPA Division of Water Pollution Control Permit Section before construction activities that will cause land disturbance begin.
  • Develop a SWPPP prior to the start of construction. The SWPPP does not need to be submitted to EPA, but must be kept on the construction site and accessible to everyone during construction activities.
  • Implement the SWPPP, including completion of inspection reports that must be kept on-site.
  • Complete final stabilization of the site.
  • Complete and submit a Notice of Termination (NOT) to EPA when any of the following occurs:
  • After the land-disturbing activities are complete and the site has been finally stabilized, the operator should terminate his coverage under the permit by completing a NOT form and submitting it to the EPA. The United States Environmental Protection Agency considers that a site has been finally stabilized when all land-disturbing activities are complete and a uniform perennial vegetative cover with a density of 70 percent of the cover for unpaved areas and areas not covered by permanent structures has been established or equivalent permanent stabilization measures have been used.
  • The permittee is no longer an operator of the site.



If a project disturbs over one acre of ground or is one part of a larger project that ultimately impacts over one acre of ground, a Notice of Intent (NOI) is required to be completely researched, filled out and submitted to the EPA, either electronically via the internet or by hard copy with over-land delivery (US Postal Service or an express delivery service company).  If the NOI is submitted and the required items of concern on the form have not been properly reviewed to determine if they would be impacted with the project (noted below in this section), the applicant and all pertinent parties associated with them (engineer, contractor, etc.) may be found to be liable for breaking all relevant Federal laws.  It behooves all parties to ensure that they have done their due diligence before submitting the NOI.

        To submit a NOI, use this link to obtain EPA’s NOI materials and forms:


Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL)
As stated by NHDES, “The Federal Water Pollution Control Act [PL92-500, commonly called the Clean Water Act (CWA)], as last reauthorized by the Water Quality Act of 1987, requires each state to submit two surface water quality documents to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) every two years. Section 305(b) of the CWA requires submittal of a report (commonly called the "305(b) Report"), that describes the quality of its surface waters and an analysis of the extent to which all such waters provide for the protection and propagation of a balanced population of shellfish, fish, and wildlife, and allow recreational activities in and on the water.

The second document is typically called the "303(d) List," which is so named because it is a requirement of Section 303(d) of the CWA. The 303(d) List includes surface waters that are:
image012.jpgThreatened and Endangered Species
Prior to submittal of the NOI, the applicant must coordinate with the NH Natural Heritage Bureau and/or the US Fish and Wildlife Service to ensure that the proposed project will have no effect on Federally-listed Threatened and Endangered Species.

image014.jpgCultural Resources
Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires that any project that uses Federal monies or requires a Federal permit or approval must allow the State Historic Preservation Office (the NH Division of Historical Resources [NHDHR] in NH, an opportunity to review the entire project’s impacts on cultural resources (both archaeological and historical concerns).  A memo or letter from NHDHR that states they have no concerns with the project should be obtained prior to submittal of the NOI to EPA.  Signing of the NOI without finding out the project’s impacts on cultural resources may leave the applicant open to substantial legal liability.

Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP)

A SWPPP must include the following information:
  • Site description and design plans identifying potential sources of pollution that may affect the quality of stormwater discharges.
  • Appropriate Best Management Practices (BMPs), including erosion, sediment, and stormwater management controls to minimize the discharge of pollutants from the site.
  • Description of steps taken to prevent and control pollutants in stormwater discharge from the site, including an inspection schedule of all disturbed, unstabilized areas and maintenance of all controls to ensure their proper operation.
        Best Management Practices (BMPs)
BMPs are schedules of activities, prohibitions of practices, maintenance procedures, and other management practices designed to prevent or reduce the pollution of waters of the United States. BMPs also include treatment requirements, operating procedures, and practices to control site runoff, spillage or leaks, waste disposal, or drainage from raw sewage. BMPs may include structural devices or nonstructural practices.

BMP Reference Materials
EPA’s National Menu of Stormwater Best Management Practices


City Regulations

The City of Rochester has specific site development regulations that establish set requirements for site designs within City limits.  The site design and development criteria may be found within Article II, Section 5 of the City’s Site Design Regulations and enforced by the City under Article III of said Regulation.  Each of the respected Articles may be found at the link below:



If you have any questions regarding the stormwater permitting process within the City of Rochester, NH, please contact:

Mr. Peter Nourse
City Engineer
Rochester Public Works Department
45 Old Dover Road
Rochester, NH 03867
Tel: 603-332-4096
Fax:  603-335-4352

The Purpose of the Stormwater Management Program
Concentrated development in urbanized areas substantially increases impervious surfaces such as paved streets, driveways, parking lots, and sidewalks, in which pollutants from concentrated human activities settle and remain until a storm event washes them into nearby storm drains. Polluted stormwater runoff transported to municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) ultimately discharge into local rivers and streams without treatment.  EPA's Stormwater Phase II Rule establishes a MS4 stormwater management program that is intended to improve the water quality of waterways by reducing the quantity of pollutants that stormwaters pick up and carry into storm sewer systems during storm events.  Common pollutants include oil and grease from roadways, pesticides from lawns, pet waste, sediment from construction sites, and carelessly discarded trash, such as cigarette butts, paper wrappers, and plastic bottles.  When discharged into streams and rivers, these pollutants can impair the waterways, discouraging recreational use, contaminating drinking water supplies, and interfering with the habitat of fish, other aquatic organisms, and wildlife.

The Phase II program is designed to accommodate a general permit approach using a Notice of Intent (NOI) as the application.
Municipalities located within the US Census Bureau's 2000 Urbanized Areas, which the City of Rochester is one of, are required to apply for the NPDES Permit coverage under the EPA Phase II Stormwater Permit Program. The following requirements for permit coverage apply to the City of Rochester:
  • The permit for MS4 operators will require the development of a stormwater management program that controls pollutants from all of the MS4 discharge points to the "Maximum Extent Practical."
The Phase II Rule defines a small MS4 stormwater management program as a program comprising of the following listed six elements that, when implemented in concert, are expected to result in significant reductions of pollutants discharged into receiving waters:
  • Public Education and Outreach on Stormwater Impacts
  • Public Involvement/Participation
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination
  • Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control
  • Post Construction Stormwater Management in New Development and Redevelopment
  • Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations
Stormwater discharge associated with industrial activity owned/operated by the City, such as a Department of Public Works garage, are also required to obtain permit coverage under the Phase II program.
Construction activity within any part of the City for sites from one to five acres is also regulated under the Phase II EPA program. The permit will require the owner and operator of the construction site to perform the following:
  • Implement Erosion and Sediment Control Best Management Practices (BMPs).
  • Control wastes such as discarded building materials, concrete truck washout, and sanitary wastes.
  • Develop and implement a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan.
  • Submit a Site Plan that incorporates consideration of potential water quality impacts.

The City, since they operate small MS4s, is essentially a compliance regulator for stormwater systems for development projects. Local City subdivision and site plan review regulations reflect stormwater requirements. Instituting this stormwater management plan by the City is a means for Rochester to develop, implement, and enforce the reduction of pollutants in stormwater runoff from construction activities that result in land disturbance of greater than or equal to one acre.  Some of the requirements in the Phase II rules may already be in place by the same Towns; however, they may need to be upgraded.  These requirements would include:

  • Establish an ordinance or other regulatory mechanism requiring the implementation of proper erosion and sediment controls and controls for other wastes on applicable construction sites.
  • Have procedures for site plan review of proposed construction plans that consider potential water quality impacts.
  • Have procedures for site inspection and enforcement of control measures.
  • Have sanctions to ensure compliance (established in the ordinance or other regulatory mechanism).


Stormwater Management Program Requirements
As a requirement of the NPDES Phase II Program, Stormwater Management Programs are required by the City of Rochester that includes Best Management Practices (BMPs) and measurable goals for each of the minimum control measures as designated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  The BMPs and measurable goals for each of these elements must be included in the permit application of the Notice of Intent (NOI).
Measurable goals are established to gauge compliance and program effectiveness.  These goals reflect the needs and characteristics of the City of Rochester and the areas served by the stormwater systems.
Part of the requirements in the development of a stormwater management plan under the Phase II NOI include annual reporting to the EPA.  The reporting is a basis for gauging the effectiveness and compliance within the developed plan.  Documented actions are included in the annual reports to EPA.  Information such as the number of outfalls screened, complaints received and corrected, the number of discharges and quantities of flow eliminated, and the number of dye or smoke tests conducted are included in these annual reports.


There are a number of website resources that provide fun, helpful information that kids can review and use to learn about water quality and other important environmental issues.  The more they know, the more kids will be informed to make good decisions in the future that will help themselves, the City of Rochester, and the overall environment!!

EPA’s Environmental Kids Club

EPA’s Water Science Kids Stuff

EPA’s Drinking Water & Ground Water Kids Stuff

EPA’s Beach Kids

US Army Corps of Engineers’ Education Center


Construction activities (including other land-disturbing activities) that disturb one acre or more are regulated under the NPDES Stormwater Program. On March 10, 2003, new regulations came into effect that extended coverage to construction sites that disturb one to five acres in size, including smaller sites that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale.  Sites disturbing five acres or more were regulated previously.

In New Hampshire, the Construction General Permit (CGP) outlines a set of provisions construction operators must follow to comply with the requirements of the NPDES stormwater regulations.  The CGP covers any site one acre and above, including smaller sites that are part of a larger common plan of development or sale, and replaces and updates previous EPA Permits.

Permittees may contact the EPA’s NOI Processing Center via on-line form or at (866) 352-7755 for questions about filing by mail.

Included with the City of Rochester, listed below are the municipalities in New Hampshire regulated by the Phase II Rule. You will find maps, Notices of Intent, annual reports, and public notice status that can be viewed or downloaded.  

If you know of an active construction site that is disturbing over one acre of ground and does not appear on the registry linked here, please contact the City of Rochester’s Department of Public Works at (603) 332-4096.


Listed here are links to agencies that may have information required to fill out an EPA Notice of Intent (NOI) or oversee a program or resource directly affected by stormwater.

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

        NPDES Program Site

        NOI Materials and Submittal Site

NH Department of Environmental Services

        Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) Program

        Alteration of Terrain Program

        NH Wetlands Bureau

        Hazardous Materials Program – One Stop GIS Website

NH Division of Historical Resources  

NH Natural Heritage Bureau

NH Fish and Game Department

NH Department of Transportation, Bureau of Environment          

image031.jpgMEDIA CENTER – General Public Outreach Materials

Found here are a variety of websites that provide public information on a number of stormwater and environmental concerns.  These sites contain reading materials in various formats that are both informative and educational.

US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – Information Resources

US Army Corps of Engineers – News and Information

NH Department of Environmental Services – Public Information Center

NH Department of Transportation – Media Room            

Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) – Electronic Reading Room


CLD Consulting Engineers, Inc.
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
New England Environmental Protection Agency
New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services