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HCC Conservation Forum

Don’t Get Buffaloed by Water Terminology
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One of Those Mysterious Water Terms is “MS4”


“MS4” is an acronym for “Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System,” which means that stormwater runoff is handled by a separate network of drains and pipes from the one that handles sewage. For a city, county, or other public institution to operate an MS4 system, it must apply for a permit that is administered under the Clean Water Act. The permit will outline stormwater management programs, set goals for reducing pollutants, and adopt specific practices for minimizing runoffs and contamination, to control pollutant discharges and safeguard water quality.


The MS4 permit that is held jointly by the City of Houston, Harris County, and Harris County Flood Control District will come up for renewal in 2024. Click HERE to find out more about this permit and how you can participate in the process to produce results that are as beneficial as possible for all of our local communities.


As part of its Clean Coast Texas initiative, the website of the Texas General Land Office provides a useful Glossary of terms at

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