Building on its commitment to protect and improve water quality throughout Massachusetts, the Baker-Polito Administration has announced nearly $300,000 in grants to five multi-community stormwater coalitions across the Commonwealth to help local cities and towns meet existing and upcoming stormwater management requirements.
“The Baker-Polito Administration is committed to protecting water quality across the Commonwealth and these funds will make a real difference in the 228 communities that will benefit from these projects,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “The stormwater collaboratives funded today will share resources, creative ideas and watershed protection strategies that have a proven record of success.”
“Stormwater is a significant source of water pollution across the state and is a complex issue that requires innovative ideas and cooperative solutions,” said Commissioner Martin Suuberg of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). “MassDEP is pleased to provide funding that will lessen the costs of permit compliance locally, while we continue to work closely with communities and stormwater coalitions to provide critical technical assistance.”
The projects, selected by MassDEP, were awarded to the Statewide Stormwater Coalition, Neponset River Watershed Association, Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, Charles River Watershed Association, and Massachusetts Maritime for Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative.
The funding awarded by the Baker-Polito Administration will enable Massachusetts municipalities to expand their efforts to meet Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit requirements and reduce stormwater pollution through coordinated partnerships that emphasize resource sharing. There are 260 Massachusetts municipalities subject to the current MS4 permit, issued jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and MassDEP, which took effect on July 1, 2018.
Permit requirements that the MS4 communities must meet include the development and implementation of a public education program, adopting more stringent local development rules, locating and removing pollutants that are illegally entering municipal stormwater systems, and installing stormwater management systems.
The groups receiving funding are:
•Statewide Stormwater Coalition – $75,354
The Statewide Stormwater Coalition has developed education and outreach programming for more than 180 municipalities in Massachusetts that satisfies one out of six minimum control measures of the 2016 MS4 permit. For this project, the Statewide Stormwater Coalition will expand the education campaign through social media and YouTube advertising, translate video outreach materials to Spanish to reach a broader audience, and offer social media training for municipal staff on how to reach underrepresented audiences.
•Charles River Watershed Association (CRWA) – $59,771
This project proposes a new collaboration with the Central Massachusetts Regional Stormwater Coalition to develop Phosphorus Control Plans for communities affected by the Lakes and Ponds and Charles River Phosphorus TMDLs. CRWA will develop model Phosphorus Control Plan templates that will contain several recommendations on phosphorus reduction crediting and bylaw updates for each of the 54 communities included in the project.
Massachusetts Maritime Academy for Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative – $47,000
“MS4 grants play a crucial role in assisting cities and towns with their efforts to meet stormwater management standards, and I applaud MassDEP for their commitment to supporting our municipalities’ ongoing work to protect the Commonwealth’s water resources,” said State Senator Sal DiDomenico (D-Everett). “I am especially pleased that the grant awards going to both the Charles River Watershed Association and the Statewide Stormwater Coalition will reach every municipality in my district, including historically underserved Environmental Justice communities. Ensuring that our communities have the resources they need to develop effective solutions and meet challenges will go a long way toward preventing the harmful environmental and public health effects of stormwater pollution.”
The grants are funded through the Commonwealth’s Fiscal Year 2021 capital plan’s “MS4 Municipal Assistance Grant Program.”
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.