Standards, compliance and planning

Urban stormwater best practice environmental management guidelines


The Urban stormwater best practice environmental management guidelines (BPEMG) provide a toolbox to meet the needs of those planning, designing and/or managing urban land uses or stormwater systems. The BPEMG can be downloaded from the CSIRO website.

The BPEMG establishes stormwater quality objectives to help determine the level of stormwater management necessary to meet the State Environment Protection Policy (Waters of Victoria) objectives. This SEPP is a statutory policy under section 16 of the Environment Protection Act 1970 that identifies the beneficial uses of Victoria's waterways.

SEPP (Waters of Victoria) requires measures to be implemented to control the environmental impact of stormwater pollution. The BPEMG sets best-practice performance objectives for urban stormwater to help meet the the policy's requirements.

It is now compulsory under the Sustainable Neighbourhoods Clause 56 of the Victoria Planning Provisions to design and manage urban stormwater management systems for all new residential subdivisions to meet current BPEM objectives.

The objectives for environmental management of stormwater are:

  • Suspended solids (SS) - 80 per cent retention of the typical urban annual load
  • Total phosphorus (TP) - 45 per cent retention of the typical urban annual load
  • Total nitrogen (TN) - 45 per cent retention of the typical urban annual load
  • Litter - 70 per cent retention of typical urban annual load
  • Flows - maintain discharges for the 1.5 year ARI at pre-development levels

Source: BPEMG table 2.1, p.15.

THE BPEMG document also helps to improve the quality of urban stormwater entering receiving waters by providing guidance in ten key areas:

  1. environmental performance objectives and principles
  2. stormwater management planning
  3. land-use planning
  4. water sensitive urban design
  5. construction site management
  6. business surveys
  7. education and awareness
  8. municipal operations and enforcement
  9. structural treatment measures
  10. flow management.

The BPEMG document was published by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in 1999. The guidelines were developed by EPA, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne Water, Municipal Association of Victoria and local government. The guidelines are the product of considerable research and technical review of a wide range of urban stormwater management issues and measures.

Page last updated on 26 Jul 2012