The Coalition is an independent, self-funded organization which relies on annual membership dues and in kind services from Albany County to cover expenses. From time to time, grant funds supplement the Coalition budget. The purpose of the Coalition as stated in the Coalition agreement is to:
“foster cooperation and to provide for the provision of joint services related to compliance with the requirements of the MS4 program established under state and federal law specifically, and for matters related to protecting water quality and managing storm water more generally.”
As of 2023 member communities include the Town of Bethlehem, Town of Colonie, Town of Guilderland, Town of New Scotland; Village of Altamont, Village of Green Island, Village of Menands, Village of Voorheesville; City of Cohoes, City of Albany, City of Watervliet; the University at Albany – Uptown, and Albany County.
An Inter-municipal Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding (IMA – MOU) signed by all members details Basic Services and Additional Services available to all members, the governance structure, dues schedule, in kind services provided by Albany County, Board of Director and Working Group responsibilities, staffing procedures, and deadlines regarding an annual budget and work plan which is approved by the Board of Directors.
The formation of the Coalition dates back to the early years of the MS4 Permit (2005 to 2007) when a core group of municipalities applied for and received grant funds to implement permit requirements beneficial to all municipalities. Based on the success of these early collaborations, the municipalities decided to create a formal, self-funded structure for sharing stormwater services.
Albany County at the time was the lead agency managing these New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) WQIP grants and County staff were instrumental in creating the first Coalition Inter-municipal agreement. That agreement was signed in 2008 and the first full year of Coalition operations was 2009. Since then, the IMA-MOU, also known at the Agreement has been renewed and updated several times.
Joint services provided by the Coalition center around mandates named in the NYSDEC SPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Municipal Separated Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s). These mandates include general requirements as well as six minimum control measures (MCMs) which together describe strategies to address stormwater pollution. These strategies include:
MCM 1 Public Education and Outreach
MCM 2 Public Involvement and Participation
MCM 3 Detection and Elimination of Illicit Stormwater Discharges
MCM 4 Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control
MCM 5 Post- Construction Stormwater Management
MCM 6 Pollution Prevention/Good Housekeeping for Municipal Operations
Coalition activities over the years have focused on public education and outreach; public participation, specifically volunteer stream monitoring; outfall and storm system mapping; outfall inspections; training and guidance related to oversight of the NYSDEC SPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity (MCMs 4 and 5); and training and field support for municipal facility self-audits. The Coalition has actively relied on mapping technology to help implement program requirements.
A joint Coalition MS4 Permit annual report is routinely prepared and submitted to NYSDEC and all Coalition members participate in an annual evaluation of program goals which is posted on the Coalition website. Additional Coalition services include support for regulatory audits, participation in MS4 Permit stakeholder meetings with NYSDEC, and the routine facilitation of monthly meetings which serve as a forum to discuss and troubleshoot with other member communities individual concerns related to MS4 Permit implementation.
The Stormwater Coalition office is located in the basement of the Albany County Health Dept Building, 175 Green Street, B026, Albany, NY. Currently the Coalition budget supports two full time and one part time staff person, all County employees.