Congress initiated the Clean Water Act in 1972. The act deals with concerns regarding water use and conservation. One of the divisions within the act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), addresses municipal storm sewer systems and the discharge effects on rivers and streams.
Congress appointed the Environmental Projection Agency (EPA) to enforce compliancy and implementation standards on all states. The EPA has appointment the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to regulate the Storm Water Program in Kansas.
The Stormwater Program provides a basic plan for improving and protecting waterways that collect storm water from various sources of runoff. Storm water is any accumulation of water resulting from rain runoff, snow melt runoff, surface runoff, and any other source of drainage such as detention ponds that would eventually discharge into surrounding rivers or streams.
The program has been divided into two phases. Phase I municipalities generally have a population size greater than 100,000 people. Phase II municipalities have a population size greater than 10,000 to 100,000 people. The City of Hays is a Phase II regulated municipality.