Q. What is the Travis County Storm Water Management Program (SWMP)?

The Travis County Storm Water Management Program (SWMP) is a comprehensive long-range plan of on-going activities performed by the County to prevent and reduce storm water pollution to our streams and lakes. The SWMP is mandated by the Texas Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (TPDES) State regulations for Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Operators under the Federal Clean Water Act. Travis County applied for, and was issued, a Permit from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to perform the SWMP activities in the Travis County MS4 area.

Q. In what area of Travis County does the MS4 and SWMP apply?

The County MS4 applies to unincorporated areas in Travis County outside all municipal city limits. However, certain municipalities such as the City of Austin also perform storm water programs in their Extra-Territorial Jurisdictions (ETJs), which overlap with the County MS4 in the unincorporated areas.

Q. What activities are carried out under the SWMP?

The Travis County SWMP includes six primary program areas, called Minimum Control Measures (MCMs), which include:

  • Public Education/Outreach/Involvement
  • Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (pollution discharge control)
  • Construction Site Runoff Controls
  • Post-Construction Storm Water Management
  • Pollution Prevention & Good Housekeeping for County Operations
  • Authorization of County Construction Activities.

Each MCM area consists of multiple specific Best Management Practices (BMPs), generally activities tasks, and requirements that Travis County must performed.

Q. What is the schedule of the SWMP activities?

The SWMP had an initial 5-year scheduled plan of BMP activities required to be performed by Travis County between August 13, 2007 and August 12, 2012. After a State-delayed issuance of a new MS4 permit, the second permit term runs from December 13, 2013 to December 12, 2018. Travis County was required to prepare a plan and implement a new multiple-year SWMP. The new SWMP was submitted to TCEQ by Travis County on June 10, 2014.

Q. Which County departments perform the SWMP activities?

Travis County’s Department of Transportation and Natural Resources (TNR) performs the majority of the SWMP activities through the Natural Resources and Environmental Quality (NREQ) Division and core SWMP Section. The Development Services Division, TNR Road and Fleet Maintenance and the Public Works/Capital Improvements Project (CIP) Division also have a large role in these activities.

Other key County SWMP activities are performed by the Travis County Attorney’s Office Environmental Crimes Unit, the Travis County Sheriff’s Office Environmental Crimes Unit, the Texas AgriLife Extension Office in Travis County, the Austin/Travis County Health and Human Services Department, the Environmental and Consumer Health Unit and the Department of Emergency Services.

Q. How does the Travis County SWMP jurisdiction coordinate with existing water quality programs in the Austin area?

Existing major water quality programs in Travis County include the City of Austin programs in the Extra-territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ), the water quality protection program carried out by the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) in the Highland Lakes Ordinance Zone, the water quality management and enforcement programs implemented by TCEQ , and the Edwards Aquifer Protection Program of TCEQ.

The County SWMP was selected with the idea of meeting Travis County’s water quality obligations, complimenting water quality programs already existing in the County, where applicable, and expanding activities in areas lacking coverage. A primary long-range goal of this program is to ensure SWMP water quality activities are performed in all unincorporated areas county-wide, either by Travis County, or by another local municipality or district.

Q. If I am developing land in Travis County, how does the storm water program affect me?

Emily Ackland
Environmental Quality Program Manager

Weekdays: 8:00-5:00
(512) 854-9383

Environmental Hotline
(512) 854-4400

Contact information