Many counties, particularly those in urbanized areas, are required to establish a program for storm water management in order to comply with the mandates of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Storm Water Management program.  The Storm Water Program is a series of regulations promulgated by the EPA.  The purpose of these regulations is to implement amendments to the Clean Water Act, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Storm Water Program.  The Storm Water Program is designed to regulate and clean up runoff that is entering water bodies from storm sewer systems, construction sites, and industrial sources.

According to the EPA Office of Water, the quality of waters in the United States has improved dramatically since the passage of the Clean Water Act; however, degraded waterbodies still exist.  According to the 1996 National Water Quality Inventory, approximately 40 percent of surveyed U.S. waterbodies are still impaired by pollution and do not meet EPA standards.  A major source of the pollution found in our rivers, lakes and streams is runoff.  The purpose of the storm water program is to regulate and clean up that runoff.