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New York City Transit 2019 annual storm water report

Public notice

The New York City Transit 2019 Annual Storm Water Report has been prepared in accordance with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation SPDES General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), GP-0-15-003. The Annual Report for New York City Transit covers the Storm Water Management Program for the Reporting Period of March 10, 2018, to March 9, 2019.

This public notice serves to comply with the "Public Involvement/Participation" Minimum Control Measure.

Interested parties may provide their comments to New York City Transit.

Background: SPDES General Permit for Storm Water Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s), GP-0-15-003, requires that agencies or municipalities identified as Regulated Small MS4s must develop a Storm Water Management Program to address six Minimum Control Measures.

About the report

 A Storm Water Management Program (SWMP) has been prepared by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) New York City Transit for its facilities. The aim of this program is to control storm water runoff discharges from a number of facilities to the waters of the United States in accordance with the requirements of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Phase II storm water regulations under the federal Clean Water Act.

This Phase II program coverage is for storm water discharges applicable to numerous New York City Transit facilities and hundreds of miles of line under its jurisdiction (see Table 1). In addition, this program is in support of its filing of a Notice of Intent (NOI) to be covered by a Phase II State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) General Permit available through the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) for such discharges.

The aim of the Clean Water Act, the federal Phase II storm water regulations and the program proposed in the MTA New York City Transit's SWMP is to reduce to the "maximum extent practicable" pollutants in storm water discharges.

The concern for controlling storm water discharges can be traced to the 1972 Clean Water Act Section 208 provisions for evaluating the impacts of and recommending controls for point and nonpoint source discharges in conjunction with the development of area-wide water quality management plans known as "208 plans."

These plans were completed in the late 1970s/early 1980s and for the most part, identified the need to study further the specific impacts of urban runoff and alternative control measures to alleviate or prevent those impacts.

As a result of the findings of many of the 208 plans, particularly those in the northeast and in and around urban areas of the nation, a nationwide pilot program known as Nationwide Urban Runoff Program (NURP) studied 26 urban localities in detail. In 1983, through the NURP, the USEPA concluded that urban runoff was indeed causing significant water quality impacts and that a wide range of controls were possible to address those impacts.

MTA New York City Transit facilities covered by Phase II SPDES storm water program


Approx. #



Bus System

Bus Depots


Storage, maintenance and operation of buses

Routine Maintenance, Bus Washing, Fueling Operations

Bus Maintenance Shops


Storage and repair of buses and bus parts

Engine and Component Overhaul Storage

Paint Shop


Storage and painting of buses

Painting of buses, vehicles and equipment

Parking Lots

19 (13 + 6)

Outdoor storage of buses, (parking lots attached to Depots + satellite parking lots)

Lay up for unused buses

Subway System

Passenger Stations


Customer passenger access throughout New York City to NYC Transit subway system

Platform entrance and exit from subway cars at fixed station locations. Interchange transfer between transit subway lines, Customer services, metrocard sales and concessions.



Designated subway station structures and edifices along system right of way property.

Primary access by open stairs at street grade. Escalator access provided at station transfers. Handicapped accessibility is ADA compliant.



At grade; open cut


Shops & Yards


Operations and maintenance bases system wide

Overall program administration

Car Barns


Routine inspections and service

Maintenance and repairs



Major component overhauls

Machine shop operations



Specific service functions

Signs, carpentry, HVAC and tin smith shops

Storage Yards


Lay-up of unused car/train fleet

Underground / Aboveground

Fueling Stations


Gasoline and Diesel

Motor Fueling Facilities

Car Washing


Car appearance Ext. cleaning

Automated washing facilities


Track Bed

628 miles

Heavy rail fixed guide-ways

Fixed by route and section map

Right of Way

127 miles

Adjacent wayside property

Structure and facility areas

Line Structures

Subway structure

136 miles

Underground and tunnels

Contiguous underground / river crossings and routes


70 miles

Structures above thoroughfares

Connects with subway routes to connect existing stations


12 bridges

River and water crossings

Subway and combined subway/vehicular traffic

Power Substations


Electrical power conversion

AC power to DC third rail power

Signal Power Rooms


Electrical distribution

Train signals and systems

Circuit Breaker Rooms


Power control and distribution

Power equalization

Ventilation Buildings


Removal of smoke

Under river tunnels

Pump Rooms


Drainage of subway system

Tunnels and station ejector rooms

Well Casings


Locations of high water table

Reduction of flooding and drainage discharge

Other Facilities

Administrative Offices


Administrative functions

Management and support functions

Record Storage Buildings


Archives and records

Historical data and files

Material Storerooms


Receipt and distribution

Material and supplies to user departments

In 1985, two additional studies confirmed the NURP findings. This included a nonpoint source assessment conducted by representatives of state agencies and an urban storm water database study of 22 metropolitan areas that was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey. These various studies resulted in Congress amending the Clean Water Act in 1987 to require the permitting and control of urban storm water discharges.

The above studies, as well as a number of other similar studies, identified a variety of pollutants in storm water discharges. These pollutants include suspended solids, sediment, bacteria, nutrients, pesticides, herbicides, toxics, floatables, oil, grease, heavy metals, synthetic organics, petroleum hydrocarbons and oxygen demanding substances. The adverse impact of these pollutants in storm water discharges include closed beaches, closed shellfish areas, toxic contamination causing fish consumption bans, beach and shoreline litter, and floatables, siltation of marina and shipping channels, habitat/wetland degradation, and stream bank erosion.

The sources of pollutants in storm water runoff include urban streets, lawns, driveways, parking lots, gas stations, bus depots, golf courses, construction sites, marinas, trash, sand/salt commercial and industrial areas, highway yards, atmospheric fallout, direct rainfall (i.e., acid rain) and a variety of other activities such as landfills, recycling facilities, transportation, and manufacturing and industrial facilities. The USEPA's 1996 National Water Quality Inventory reported that urban runoff was a leading cause of water quality problems in the country, causing impairment in 469 of the nations estuaries; 21 percent of the lakes, ponds and reservoirs; and 13 percent of the rivers and streams.

Under the USEPA's December 1999 Phase II storm water regulations, thousands of communities across the country with populations under 100,000 were required to control urban storm water discharges. The Phase II regulations were issued nearly 10 years after the agency issued its Phase I regulations. The Phase I regulations required the control of storm water discharges from larger communities with populations greater than 100,000, and from 11 categories of industrial activity, including construction sites disturbing more than 5 acres.

Under the USEPA's Phase II program, the thousands of communities (villages, towns, cities, etc.) across the nation are required to develop and implement a six-part program that reduces pollutants in storm water runoff to the "maximum extent practicable." This program must include a public education program, a public involvement program, detection and elimination of illicit/illegal connections, controls for construction sites disturbing more than 1 acre, controls for new developments and redevelopment, and pollution prevention/good housekeeping practices as part of the operation and maintenance of the communities' storm sewer systems.

In New York State, discharges from hundreds of municipal separate storm systems (MS4's) that serve under 100,000 people, and are covered by USEPA's Phase II program, can receive permit coverage through a SPDES General Permit, provided that a NOI is filed by the municipality (such as MTA New York City Transit) to be covered by the General SPDES Permit and a storm water management plan is developed and implemented to satisfy the USEPA requirements. The MTA New York City Transit has filed its NOI and completed a six-part SWMP for discharges from New York City Transit-owned storm sewer systems at its facilities and service lines to the waters of the United States.

The State's General SPDES Permit for MS4's that provides this coverage is Permit No. GP-0-10-002 issued pursuant to Article 17, Titles 7, 8 and Article 70 of the State's Environmental Conservation Law. This Permit's effective date was May 1, 2010, modified October 2011. A related permit that addresses construction runoff from sites having disturbances from more than 1 acre is the State's General SPDES Permit for Construction Activity: Permit No. GP-0-10-001. The effective date of this permit is January 29, 2010, and the expiration date is April 30, 2015.

Examples of control measures (also referred to as best management practices) contained in the MTA New York City Transit's SWMP include trash, hazardous waste and materials management, recycling, construction site runoff controls, and spill response and prevention, just to name a few.