Storm Water Management

What is stormwater?

Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that doesn't soak into the ground but runs off into waterways. It flows from rooftops, over paved areas and bare soil, and through sloped lawns while picking up a variety of materials on its way. As it flows, stormwater runoff collects and transports soil, animal waste, salt, pesticides, fertilizers, oil and grease, debris, garbage and other potential pollutants. In some areas of the city, this pollutant heavy runoff is discharged untreated directly into our streams and rivers through the separate storm sewer system.

In the City of Albany, green infrastructure systems are being implemented to establish or mimic natural processes in order to slow down and capture stormwater before it has a chance to reach sewers or areas prone to flooding downstream as runoff. Learn more about green infrastructure projects in Albany. 

Why should we care?

Polluted runoff degrades our lakes, rivers, wetlands and other waterways. Transported soil clouds the waterways and interferes with the habitat of fish and plant life. Nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen can promote the overgrowth of algae, deplete oxygen in the waterway and be harmful to other aquatic life. Toxic chemicals from automobiles, sediment from construction activities and careless application of pesticides, herbicides and fertilizers threaten the health of the receiving waterway and can kill fish and other aquatic life. Bacteria from animal wastes and illicit connections to sewerage systems can make nearby lakes and bays unsafe for wading, swimming and other recreational activities.

The Draft 2019-2020 MS4 Stormwater Annual Report is currently available for public review and comment. 

What can we do to help?

Most pollution can be prevented before it ever enters the sewer system or the waters themselves. By taking some precautionary steps, we can do a great deal to help clean up our waterways. Here are some tips to prevent pollution.

Download the following informational brochures regarding Stormwater: 
More information on how to purchase a Rain Barrel from Albany County Soil and Water Conservation District. 

Lawn Care

  • Use fertilizers & pesticides sparingly and according to the directions.
  • Do not fertilize if rain is forecasted within the next 48 hours.
  • Seed any exposed soil to prevent it from being carried away in runoff.

Vehicle Care

  • Wash your car at a commercial car wash, or on your lawn where the soil can filter the dirty and soapy water.
  • Check under your vehicle for leaks or spills.
  • Clean up any oil or chemical spills with an absorbent material like cat litter or sand.
  • Never dispose of oil or other engine fluids down the storm drain, on the ground, or into a ditch.

Pet Waste Disposal

  • Pet waste contains coliform bacteria which creates health risks for people.
  • Scoop it up and flush it down the toilet.
  • Never dispose of pet waste down storm drains or sewers.

Swimming Pools

  • Test the water to ensure no chlorine is detected before you drain your pool.
  • Drain your pool onto the lawn slowly to prevent erosion.


  • Collect roof water in rain barrels and reuse it to water your lawn or garden.
  • Direct gutter downspouts into a vegetated area or a rain garden where it can be filtered through the soil.
Children's Activities
Click the links below to download children's activity sheets about Stormwater

Below are links to documents pertaining to storm water management and the City of Albany's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Program: 

  • 2017 - 2018 City of Albany MS4 Annual Report
  • Please contact Stormwater Program Manager, Peter W. Beck with questions or comments regarding the Annual Report at

  • NYSDEC SPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4 General Permit)
  • NYSDEC SPDES General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activity
  • Fillable Third Party Certification
  • Beaver Creek Interim Regulations
  • Guidance Documents for MS4s

  • Where can I find more information?

    To view additional information on stormwater or to view any of the City of Albany's MS4 Annual Reports, visit the Stormwater Coalition of Albany County website. Once you are on the site, select the "Stormwater Coalition" tab. 

    To find out more information about the city’s stormwater program or report an illegal dumping, please contact our stormwater coordinator at: 518-434-5300.

    Pete Beck
    Stormwater Program Coordinator
    (518) 434-5300