Mandated by Congress under the Clean Water Act, the NPDES Storm Water Permit program was developed to address non-agricultural sources of storm water discharges which affect the quality of out water. The permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into the waters. Point sources are discrete conveyances such as pipes and manmade ditches.

On March 10, 2003, Phase II of the NPDES permitting system and is accompanying rules and regulations came into effect. The affected municipalities in the Bay Urbanized Area formed the Bay Area Storm Water Authority in an effort to meet the state and federal storm water regulations. It is the vision of this Authority to address water quality issues related to storm water by identifying and eliminating illicit discharges and to educate the general public on how to improve water quality.

Polluted storm water runoff is a leading cause of impairment to our water bodies that do not meet water quality standards. When left uncontrolled, this water pollution can result in the destruction of fish, wildlife, and aquatic life habitats; a loss in aesthetic value; and threats to public health due to contaminated food, drinking water supplies, and recreational waterways.