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Decentralized Management Plan

Rapid population growth has led to decentralized sewer practices in the unincorporated areas of St. Tammany Parish.  Installation of thousands of individual Aerated Treatment Units (ATUs) and septic tanks have led to the decline of surface water quality in the Parish. In unincorporated areas and in older neighborhoods, individual on-site treatment units are operated and maintained by the homeowner.  Few systems receive proper maintenance because homeowners are either unaware of the need for maintenance or find it a distasteful task.  Many systems are old, inadequate, in poor condition, and not designed to meet today’s more stringent design standards.  Individual ATUs can and do provide a satisfy

There are areas in the Parish where it is not feasible to provide regional sewage treatment facilities.  A decentralized management approach will provide a solution to achieve measureable water quality improvements within the Parish.  The overall goal of the decentralized management program is the protection of public health and water resources by ensuring that existing and future on-site wastewater treatment plants are properly operated and maintained, especially in those areas with known degraded water quality.  With the appropriate level of management to these treatment units, pollutant loads on the watershed can be reduced to achieve water quality standards.

The Decentralized Management Plan will implement a series of elements and activities that will address public education and participation, planning, performance, operations and maintenance, corrective actions, recordkeeping/inventory oversight, reporting and financial assistance funding. 

Wastewater Point Source Discharges in St. Tammany Parish

 A Point Source discharge is a single identifiable source of pollution, such as a pipe or drain commonly discharged into drainage infrastructure & waterways. Many point source discharges in St. Tammany Parish originate from Wastewater Treatment Plants (WWTP) and are permitted and monitored by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ).

Common Point Source Discharges are as follows:

  • Municipal WWTPs
  • Small Subdivision WWTPs
  • Industrial Wastewater
  • Illicit discharges (unpermitted discharges)

For more information on point source discharges, you may access the LDEQ website at:


Stormwater Management

Written by Super User on . Posted in Your Government

Stormwater Management

Current stormwater management efforts focus on moving the water away as quickly as possible. The result is litter and pollutants being washed into a storm drain and being carried to the nearest river, lake or stream during each and every rainfall. It also creates rushes of water that result in dramatic changes in stream levels that contributes to stream bank erosion and even flash flooding

It is important for all residents of St Tammany Parish to take steps to better manage the rain that falls on their property, with a focus on preventing runoff and promoting infiltration. Residential and urban landscapes generate runoff with almost every rainfall event. Conservation measures capture and infiltrate stormwater and reduce a property's contribution to water quality degradation, flashy stream flows and flooding. Best management practices can be used for preventing runoff and promoting infiltration:  bioretention cells, bioswales, native landscaping, permeable pavement, rain gardens, sedimentation basins, soil quality restoration, and wetlands assimilation are just some examples.


Written by Super User on . Posted in Your Government

What is a watershed? A watershed is an area of land that drains all the streams and rainfall to a common outlet such as the outflow of a river, mouth of a bay, or any point along a stream channel. The word watershed is sometimes used interchangeably with drainage basin or catchment. Ridges and hills that separate two watersheds are called the drainage divide. The watershed consists of surface water--lakes, streams, rivers, and wetlands--and all the underlying ground water. All of the land that drains water to the outflow point is the watershed for that outflow location. Watersheds are important because the streamflow and the water quality of a river are affected by things, human-induced or not, happening in the land area "above" the river-outflow point.


What is a Nonpoint Source and Point Source?

Point Source:A Point Source discharge is a single identifiable source of pollution, such as a pipe or drain commonly discharged into drainage infrastructure & waterways.

Nonpoint Source:generally results from land runoff, precipitation, atmospheric deposition, drainage, seepage or hydrologic modification. Nonpoint source (NPS) pollution, unlike pollution from industrial and sewage treatment plants, comes from many diffuse sources. NPS pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground waters.

Nonpoint source pollution can include:

States report that nonpoint source pollution is the leading remaining cause of water quality problems. The effects of nonpoint source pollutants on specific waters vary and may not always be fully assessed. However, we know that these pollutants have harmful effects on drinking water supplies, recreation, fisheries and wildlife.

What is the Parish doing to protect my watershed?

The Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ) has monitored the ambient water quality of St Tammany Parish streams and lakes for decades.  The data gathered by LDEQ is utilized to determine impairments of waterways.  St Tammany Parish has implemented a Water Quality Sampling Plan which further documents the water quality conditions of St. Tammany Parish waterways, some of which were listed as impaired on the 2012 LDEQ Integrated Report for Dissolved Oxygen.  The Parish performs monthly in-situ water quality monitoring of up to 34 sites on St. Tammany rivers.  These are the ‘hot spots’ where some Water Quality Protection Area signs have been posted to heighten public awareness.  St. Tammany Parish personnel work closely with the State of Louisiana regulatory agencies to contribute water quality monitoring data and other relevant information to assist with important decisions about the health of state waters.  Parish personnel comment on public-noticed Clean Water Act Section 303(d) Impaired Water Lists

The Parish is also in the process of revising the Development Code of Ordinance.  The Parish wishes to encourage more green infrastructure to assist with both water quality and water quantity in the Parish.  Green infrastructure encompasses many practices that retain runoff on site and relies on the nature processes of infiltration and evapotranspiration, and uses soils as a filter to treat and manage stormwater.  The parish also encourages low-impact development (LID) measures which manage rainfall at the source using integrated site design techniques that are intended to replicate preexisting hydrologic site conditions.

There are numerous areas throughout the Parish that are owned and restricted from development by the Parish.  The majority of these areas of designated wetlands, floodplains or floodways.  The Parish continues to review their inventory for implementation of best management practices to assist with environmental health.

EPA Pollution Source Tracking Project:

The Parish has been awarded grant funding for Water Quality improvement projects through Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Grant and EPA Gulf of Mexico Partnership Cooperative Agreements 2015.  St. Tammany Parish Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has a parallel CDBG grant to fund repairs/replacements of ATUs for Low-Moderate Income (LMI) residents in St. Tammany Parish.  The Parish has begun initial inspections in the Ozone Woods subdivision as part of the Pollution Source Neighborhood Tracking program, a Water Quality Area sign has been posted to at the entrance and exits to this subdivision to heighten public awareness.

Stormwater Pond Projects:

There are currently many constructed storm water detention and retention ponds that are maintained and monitored for water quality by the Parish.  Additionally, there are a number of ‘hot spots’ within the Parish waterways which are monitored for water quality as well.  These hot spots are areas which have shown through sample collection and analysis to potentially have more pollutant load than is desirable.

What is a TMDL?

The rivers, bayous and watersheds in St. Tammany Parish are subject to Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) criteria placed upon them by the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality, (LDEQ), with approval by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.   The state of Louisiana has incorporated these TMDLs into their water quality plan and implemented waste load allocations on many of the watersheds in St. Tammany Parish.  As part of their water quality plan, LDEQ is requiring more stringent effluent limitations in their discharge permits, increased use of Best Management Practices and additional regulatory requirements of Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4).

The Parish has been engaged with LDEQ throughout the TMDL process and recently had a Watershed Management Study Report prepared through the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) to further delineate the individual watershed standings and needs moving forward. In response to the implementation of the TMDL program and the Watershed Study, St. Tammany Parish has developed a ‘Watershed Management Program’ with a goal to protect and enhance water quality in St. Tammany Parish through a targeted watershed approach. 

As part of the Parish Watershed Management Program, the Parish continues to work with LDEQ to better monitor, identify and place water quality standards/limits upon the unique waterways located within St. Tammany Parish.  The Parish is committed to making watershed impacts one of the criteria that is considered for all activities within the Parish moving forward. 

To better inform you, the citizens of St. Tammany Parish, about the Watershed Management Program implemented by St. Tammany Parish we have posted signs throughout the Parish where we have on-going water quality maintenance and/or monitoring locations.  Below is a list of sites and the details of each.  For further information regarding this program please contact the Watershed Coordinator in the Department of Planning Development - Engineering at 985-809-7448.

You can find out more information on the watershed you live in by following the link below: EPA – Surf Your Watershed   


STP Cares

Written by Super User on . Posted in Your Government

St. Tammany Parish Cares (STPCares) - Community Flood Response


When we are faced with this level of destruction and loss in Louisiana, our people seek to lighten the burden when we can. We step in if we are able, and those of us who were spared, help the broken become whole again.  -Pat Brister, St. Tammany Parish President

Disasters affect not only the welfare of individuals and family groups, but also the well-being of entire communities. STP Cares is a community flood response that stresses the importance of reciprocity, social networks, and interpersonal trust. Our mission is to work collectively —  government agencies, the faith community, the business community, the philanthropic community, and the private sector and to pool our resources to help those affected recover faster and stronger than they would by isolated efforts. 


Thank you for visiting our page and thank you for your participation in the recovery of our region.


To contact STPCares to offer help call 985-898-3215 or email, kevin.davis@stpsb.org .

Get Involved


The biggest power of recovery comes from human beings. What one volunteer can do is small, but what all of us can do is huge for recovery, it creates a stronger power... ~ Khaliunaa , Japan tsunami volunteer from Mongolia

Volunteers from within our local communities are our first line of response and the most effective resource for responding to a disaster like the floods much of our region has experienced. How can I help? The question everyone continues to ask.

We have put together a list below of resources that will help any group, person or entity, begin to help in the recovery process. 

We invite you to participate, donate, help a neighbor, a friend, a stranger. Help our region recover and rebuild.



Behavioral Health



SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

The Disaster Distress Helpline is a national hotline dedicated to providing year-round immediate crisis counseling for people who are experiencing emotional distress related to any natural or human-caused disaster. This toll-free, multilingual, and confidential crisis support service is available to all residents in the United States and its territories. Stress, anxiety, and other depression-like symptoms are common reactions after a disaster.

Call 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to connect with a trained crisis counselor.


Written by Super User on . Posted in Your Government

What is Stormwater?

Stormwater is the water that originated from rain. Stormwater that does not soak into the ground becomes surface runoff. Surface runoff flows into surface waterways or storm drains which eventually discharge into surface waters.

Stormwater Pollution

As stormwater flows over the land, it can pick up pollutants such as debris, chemicals, dirt and any other pollutants it encounters. This water then flows into a storm drain, wetland, lake, river, stream or coastal water. All water that enters a storm drain is untreated and then drains into our waters. This is the same water we use for swimming, fishing and drinking.

The effects of pollution

Polluted stormwater runoff can have many adverse effects on plants, fish, animals and people.

  • Sediment: Excessive sediment or soil can cause the storm drains to clog which can lead to flooding. When sediment is deposited in lakes and streams, it can negatively affect the water quality and aquatic habitat.
  • Excess nutrients: Often called nutrient pollution, it refers to pollution caused by excessive input of nutrients. The extra nutrients, usually phosphorus or nitrogen, cause a bloom or increase the growth of algae. When too much algae grows, it can cause other plants to die and disturb the natural eco balance making it hard for fish and insects to survive. When this happens, it is referred to as a dead area.
  • Bacteria and other pathogens: All sorts of bacteria and pathogens can be washed into our waters. Many of these bacteria and pathogens cause illness if we swallow the water or it comes in contact with an open wound. This is often the reason beaches are closed.
  • Debris: Trash could be any kind of trash, from plastic bags, to cans, bottles, or cigarette butts. When trash washes into our water bodies it become detrimental to aquatic life.
  • Household hazardous wastes: Oil, antifreeze, pesticides, detergents, paints, fertilizer and many other pollutants can get washed from yards, driveways, parking lots and streets. These pollutants can harm and even kill aquatic life. It can be harmful to us if we eat fish, shrimp or crawfish that have been exposed to these pollutants.

Important Information

Water quality protection areas