Seal of Allen Township

4714 Indian Trail Road
Northampton, PA 18067
Phone: 610.262.7012
Fax: 610.262.7364
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Storm Water

Allen Township

Allen Township operates a Municipal Stormwater System (MSS) that is permitted by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP). This Permit currently requires that the township:

  • Continue public education and outreach activities
  • Notify and solicit public input and involvement regarding management of the storm water system
  • Monitor, test and eliminate illicit discharges from outfalls (storm water existing pipes into the waterways) in the system
  • Control construction site storm water runoff through enforcement of ordinances
  • Ensure that all post-construction storm water improvements in new or re-developed areas are built as designed and are operated and maintained properly
  • Implement a pollution prevention program for municipal operations

This purpose of this section of the Township's website is offered to educate residents about storm water regulations, potential water pollution or flooding as a result of our local activities in the watershed.

Nearly all of our Township newsletters have included an article about stormwater in the last five years or more as part of the PA DEP MSS Permit "public education" process, as well as information published to the Township website. Township residential and commercial development construction activities are monitored by the Township Engineer and the Northampton County Conservation District.

What is Storm Water and Why Is It So Important?

Storm water runoff is generated when precipitation from rain and snow melt events flow over land and impervious surfaces and does not infiltrate into the ground. The runoff from streets, lawns, farms and construction and industrial sites picks up fertilizers, dirt, chemicals, pesticides, oil, grease and many other pollutants and discharges it into our streams and rivers. This untreated discharge is detrimental to our water quality as it can adversely affect our drinking water supply and the environment. In Allen Township, polluted storm water could contaminate the Dry Run, Bertsch, Catasauqua, Hokendauqua Creek and the Lehigh River.

Many Best Management Practices (BMPs), such as detention or infiltration basins, are already in place to help keep our waters clean. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website is a good place to visit for storm water information and regulations:





What Does the Township Do to Regulate Storm Water?

The Township enforces Chapter 8 of the Allen Township Code available HERE.

Allen Township regulates stormwater management through a permit that is obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (PA DEP) (www.depweb.state.pa.us) through the National Pollution and Discharge Elimination System Phase II (NPDES)/Municipals Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). This is a federal requirement from the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) (More Info) that is administered by the PA DEP.

The Township also requires a Storm Water Management Plan Review if the storm water management project is not part of a formal Land Development.


How Can Residents Help?

There are many ways you can help the Township with its storm water program and participate in activities and programs that will keep pollutants, chemicals, trash, and other waste products out of our waterways. Please read these tips for your lawn & garden found in the Solution to Pollution publication from the EPA.


Residents can help by being aware of the following activities within our community:

  • Sediment leaving a construction site via stormwater runoff
  • Spills (chemical, gas, oil)
  • Illegal dumping activity into streams or storm sewers (PLEASE CALL 911 FIRST)
  • Dry weather flows from outfall pipes into streams (at least 72 hours after a rain storm)

Residents may be the first to recognize "illicit" discharges dumping into storm sewers or coming out of from storm sewer outfalls. If you see an "illicit" discharge please report it by calling the township office at 610-262-7012 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays, or email us at: info@allentownship.org. Take photos, if possible.


Things You and Your Community Can Do to Protect Water Resources

Disconnect your downspout from the street drain and Plant a Rain Garden.

Rainwater from your roof is just as damaging to creeks and streams as run off from a parking lot. Let your yard help filter out impurities and infiltrate storm water back into your aquifer. If you don't have street drains, be certain storm water coming through your downspouts is directed onto your own property and not into the road, road ditch, or a neighbor's property. Consider disconnecting your downspouts and installing rain barrels instead. They can provide water for your gardens. Or, install a rain garden.

Please stop by the township building for ideas or consult the rain garden publications at the bottom of this page. The Northampton County Conservation District supports the construction of rain gardens and may provide additional information regarding the practical purposes of this type of design.

Maintain open, forested floodplains. Filling floodplains shortchanges the filtering power of natural areas and increases flooding elsewhere. It is also illegal.


Plant trees and maintain streamside buffers

Streamside trees and native vegetation help filter storm water run-off and help hold steambank soils in place. DEP recently enacted a 75' buffer alongs steams to enhance water quality and reduce storm water runoff. Use Best Management Practices to protect your steam buffer.

Maintain a naturally vegetated edge between creeks and pastures or cultivated fields

A naturally vegetated stream buffer will filter out excess fertilizers and pesticides from adjacent farm fields.

Reduce your use of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides

Follow directions for weed killers and pesticides very carefully, or consider discontinuing their use. Much of the chemicals and fertilizers you apply in the spring flow directly into the local creeks and seep into ground waters because the grass is not ready to absorb it. Set your mower height at 3 inches and use a mulching mower to create a healthy, organic lawn. Fertilize only in the fall. Consider "grasscycling".

Never dump household substances or used oil into a storm drain

Bring used oil to certified recycling facilities.

Convert large yards or public spaces from mown grass to meadows

The typical suburban lawn is nearly as impervious as a parking lot! Native meadow grasses infiltrate storm water better and provide critical habitat for grassland birds. Consider converting a portion of your lawn into a meadow with paths through it to observe the wildlife.

Pick up after your pets and keep livestock out of steams

Pet and animal wastes carry many harmful bacteria and possible diseases. They make creeks less amenable to native critters and require expensive water treatment for human use. Studies by the Center for Watershed Protection have found that a significant portion of fecal coliform bacteria in residential storm water originates from canine waste.

More Ways to Get Involved


The Bertsch-Hokendauqua-Catasauqua Watershed Association
BHCWA strives to promote stewardship of, protect, enhance and restore watersheds that are tributary to the Lehigh River from the east, between Catasauqua Borough and Lehigh Gap. BHCWA sponsors environmental education and outdoor recreation programs, and participates in community cleanup projects. BHCWA is currently involved in water quality assessments on Indian and Hokendauqua creeks, and is a partner with the Northampton County Conservation District in developing the Hokendauqua Creek Coldwater Conservation Plan. For more information or to find out how to participate in the Associations efforts:

BHCWA Information

Documents and Publications

The Documents and Publications section below has been assembled by the Township to provide specific information concerning the current Act 167 Release Rate Maps, Township's MS4 permit, local study efforts such as the Bertsch and Hokendauqua Creeks Coldwater Conservation Plan as well as standard federally-funded educational materials.



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