Runoff Remedies Presentation

Please join us at 7 pm on May 10 to learn about Runoff Remedies for Lakes & Ponds.  This free program at the Groton Town Hall will show how to reduce stormwater run-off from your property.

Rain that runs off from homes, lawns, driveways and parking areas carries a lot of pollution. This dirty stormwater flows onto streets and then into streams, ponds and lakes.  Sand, silt and other pollutants spoil uses of local waters – stream life vanishes, lakes fill with weeds, and high bacteria counts can pose risks for people.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEd Himlan of the Massachusetts Watershed Coalition will share a slideshow on how to keep lakes and ponds healthy. This program will feature low-cost, easy ways to prevent and fix polluted run-off:

  • See where the rain goes
  • Build rain gardens and bio-swales
  • Create rock-filled soakage trenches
  • Plant filter strips and groundcover buffers
  • Reduce erosion of dirt roads
  • Make simple basins to capture sediment
  • And more

Putting stormwater in the ground will help to lower costs for weed treatments and drainage systems.   The program will explain how to make a difference for your lake and pond.  This guidance can also help prevent run-off problems that harm streams and brooks.

The May 10 talk is sponsored by the Groton Lakes Association, Great Ponds Advisory Committee and Lost Lake Advisory Committee. The program is free and open to the general public.  For more information, please contact Alex Woodle (978) 448-6860.

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Need help starting a rain garden? Head to the Boston Flower and Garden Show

Boston Flower Show blog.jpegWith spring weather coming early this year, get a head start on your garden by going to the Boston Flower and Garden Show. Learn about the perennials and annuals available for your garden, as well as new landscaping techniques and trends. While you’re there, stop by the EPA’s booth and talk to the Massachusetts Watershed Coalition about starting a rain garden to reduce your home’s stormwater impact on local environments!

Stormwater is responsible for damaging as many as 75% of lakes and streams in the New England region due to runoff carried from fertilizers, sediments, and more. With a brand new rain garden, you can not only add visual appeal to your house, but you reduce the amount of harmful pollutants entering your local watershed and destroying local wildlife. The people of the Massachusetts Watershed Coalition can help you both beautify your yard and clean the environment.

The show runs March 16-20 at the Seaport World Trade Center, Boston with tickets available both online and at the door.

11/19 Stormwater Workshop

PNG flyer from PDF clip to MSW

Join us on November 19 from 7 – 9 p.m. and learn about stormwater that harms streams, lakes and ponds. Polluted runoff from streets and other hard surfaces is the foremost water quality concern in Massachusetts.

Fortunately, there are effective and inexpensive ways to remedy stormwater problems. The workshop will present guidance to help spot and evaluate sources of polluted runoff.  The slideshow will also explain how to identify the best places to capture and cleanse runoff.  Workshop materials will include information about practices that can achieve more pollutant reduction for less cost.

This free workshop at the Lunenburg Public Library will provide guidance materials and refreshments. Pre-registration is requested – email mwc@commonwaters.org or phone (978) 534-0379. (For more details, left click the flyer image above.)

Stormwater Rules

The Draft Massachusetts MS4 General Permit is available for public comment. This EPA Permit for “Separate Storm Sewer Systems” will better protect streams, lakes and wetlands.

The 2014 MS4 Permit affects 260 cities and towns, as well as universities, military bases and transportation agencies. The permit regulates stormwater systems in urbanized areas defined by the federal census for Massachusetts.

Shea Brook 2The Draft Permit requires MS4s to apply a “Stormwater Management Program” to control pollutants and fulfill the federal Clean Water Act.   A Stormwater Management Program entails six control measures including public education and participation, illicit discharges, runoff from new development and redevelopment, and good housekeeping in municipal operations.

The draft also has requirements that address total maximum daily loads (TMDLs) for bacteria, phosphorus and nitrogen.

EPA has estimated the costs for the control measures will vary depending on population, resources, infrastructure and work completed during the preceding MS4 permit. As drafted, EPA estimates the cost to meet the six control measures will range between $78,000 and $829,000 per year, averaged over the permit term.

The comment period for the draft permit is 90 days, ending Dec. 29, 2014. A public hearing will be held on Nov. 19 in Leominster. EPA will also host public meetings, including one on Oct. 28 in Haverhill, to explain the permit requirements and answer questions.

The draft general permit, a detailed fact sheet, and information on public meetings and the public hearing: http://www.epa.gov/region1/npdes/stormwater/MS4_MA.html

“Stormwater Solutions in Action” is available

Over the past year, the MA Watershed Coalition compiled information on stormwater reduction throughout the state. The initial inventory of Stormwater Solutions in Action is posted on MWC’s website – please use the following link to view or download this report and map http://commonwaters.org/resources/bgy-resources

Stormwater Solutions in Action (SSIA) lists stormwater practices used by cities and towns across Massachusetts.  MWC encourages everyone – homeowners, businesses, community groups, schools and municipalities – to consider similar runoff remedies.

This report identifies over 200 projects that cleanse nearly 900 million gallons of polluted runoff each year. The projects listed are a small fraction of what is being done state-wide, with many towns not yet represented.   MWC will update the inventory later this year with more examples of local stormwater solutions. We ask readers to help share and expand the inventory report.

The SSIA inventory includes a project table that is organized alphabetically by major watershed and the towns within them.  Most of Massachusetts’ major watersheds are represented – some watersheds have many projects listed and some have just a few.  This project table is followed by a section with brief remarks about Best Management Practices (BMPs), as well as links to stormwater guides, a list of watershed organizations and more.

street runoff to CBAbout Stormwater: Stormwater runoff from roads, parking lots, homes and businesses is the biggest threat to clean water. One acre of paving generates a million gallons of runoff per year that washes dirt, fertilizers, oil, bacteria and other contaminants into street drains that dump into brooks and ponds.

There are many BMPs for polluted runoff that help improve hydrologic conditions by recharging groundwater and by reducing frequent flooding that  damages local streams and lakes. Depending on a project’s size, several BMPs may be used in forming a “treatment train” to maximize effectiveness.

For more information about stormwater problems and solutions, please visit the MWC website www.commonwaters.org.

Grow a Greener Community

Communities are faced with damages to drinking water supplies, lakes, rivers and streams caused by stormwater runoff.  When it rains, the “first flush” of runoff from roads, driveways, sidewalks, lawns and parking lots, carries pollutants that harm community uses of water and poison aquatic life. Oil, grease, heavy metals, lawn chemicals, sand and salt are washed into underground pipe systems that pour pollutants directly into water bodies.

FortG3 L. George edhunately, low impact approaches can be used to treat stormwater near its source. Methods such as rain gardens, vegetated buffers and tree box filters capture stormwater and infiltrate it into the soil where the water is detained and cleansed.

The Massachusetts Watershed Coalition has created A Community Guide to Growing Greener, a set of guidelines for designers, developers and community boards. It will help local builders, businesses and community residents to use effective, low-cost measures to prevent runoff from harming water supplies and habitats. This guidance will also help to attract development that can protect the Town’s character and its valuable natural resources.

The Guide describes design and construction practices for stormwater management, erosion and sedimentation control, landscape design and site planning. This Guide will also be useful to communities required to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Phase II stormwater regulations.

Community boards can use the Guide in the development and redevelopment process. Because many of these practices are less costly to install than traditional large-pipe stormwater systems, developers find them attractive to use. Thus municipalities can reduce stormwater pollution at little cost to the community.