Press Release: 2019-03-14

Baker-Polito Administration Awards $300,000 in Grants to Help Communities Meet Stormwater Permitting Requirements

BOSTON — Continuing a commitment to protect and improve water quality across the Commonwealth, the Baker-Polito Administration today awarded $300,000 in grants to four multi-community stormwater coalitions across the state to help cities and towns meet current stormwater permitting requirements. The projects, selected by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), were awarded to the Central Massachusetts Regional Stormwater Coalition, the Southeastern Regional Stormwater Coalition, the Greenscapes program based in Salem and the Statewide Municipal Stormwater Coalition.

“The Baker-Polito Administration is proud to work with communities across Massachusetts to fund efforts to reduce pollution from stormwater discharges,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew A. Beaton. “The funding awarded will allow municipalities to accomplish their important work in an efficient and collaborative manner in an effort to protect important environmental resources.”

“Stormwater is a significant source of water pollution across Massachusetts, and is a complex problem that requires innovative and cooperative solutions,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “These grants will help fund new ideas and approaches for cities and towns to share with one another to help solve common water protection and quality issues.”

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 communities subject to the current MS4 permit, which took effect July 1, 2018. 

Permit requirements that the MS4 communities must meet include the development and implementation of a public education program, writing and submitting a comprehensive Storm Water Management Program that describes how each municipality will meet permit requirements, preparing and submitting a description of how each municipality will identify and  remove illicit connections to their stormwater systems, and revision of local development rules to encourage the use of Low-Impact Development techniques to reduce pollution from stormwater.

The groups receiving funding are:

Central Massachusetts Regional Stormwater Coalition – $25,000
This project will develop 20 MS4-permit Standard Operating Procedures and templates (collectively called SOPs) to be incorporated into MS4 municipalities’ written Stormwater Management programs, which are due to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by June 30, 2019. Once developed, the SOPs will be made available to all 260 MS4 communities prior to the deadline. The proposed SOPs will include a Catch Basin Inspection and Cleaning SOP, written winter road maintenance procedures, and written Operations & Maintenance procedures for parks and open spaces.

Southeast Regional Stormwater Coalition – $50,000
This project will provide two hands-on training workshops for member communities and others. The seminars will assist attendees with the completion of their written Stormwater Management Programs and Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Programs, both core requirements of the MS4 permit and due to EPA by June 30, 2019. The grant request includes space for up to 40 MS4 communities.

Greenscapes (dba Salem Sound 2000) – $54,625
This project will develop three sets of public education materials to be made available without charge to all MS4 communities. These materials will include an update of the Greenscapes Guide, highlighting multiple ways to reduce pollution from stormwater, a web-based interactive map of Low-Impact Development (LID) projects installed statewide, and three short videos describing successful urban, suburban and coastal LID practices.

Statewide Stormwater Coalition – $170,375
This project will significantly expand the Coalition’s “Think Blue” stormwater public awareness campaign to include video production, a statewide rollout of a social media campaign built around the video and ancillary materials to support the Think Blue campaign. This application, aimed to directly help all 260 Massachusetts MS4 communities meet their MS4 public education program requirements, will indirectly help all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns to reduce pollution from stormwater.

“Managing storm water and preventing pollution is important not only for environmental protection, but also for meeting what can be costly federal mandates such as MS4,” said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “The Baker-Polito Administration has repeatedly connected valuable resources to municipal and regional efforts to safeguard natural resources and those who work towards sustaining a healthy environment.”

“Stormwater pollution represents a significant environmental threat to the Commonwealth’s rivers and waterways,” said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading).  “These grants will help protect our natural resources by encouraging cities and towns across Massachusetts to collectively implement best practices to address this problem and improve water quality.”

“I am thrilled to see this important funding finding its way to the coalitions,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Senate Chair of the Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “The Baker-Polito Administration understands the financial costs associated with proper and environmentally sound methods to deal with stormwater. I also appreciate the hard work of the coalitions, coming together to provide needed relief to the communities they serve.”

“The pollution from stormwater discharge is a serious issue that is overlooked far too often, which is why I’m happy to see the state working together with local communities to address the problem,” said State Representative Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox), House Chair of the Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “This funding will go a long way in allowing cities and towns to reach their stormwater management and pollution reduction goals collectively. I am grateful to the Baker-Polito Administration and Secretary Beaton for their work and commitment to making stormwater management a priority as we work to better our environment in the Commonwealth.”

The grants are funded through the Commonwealth’s Fiscal Year 2019 capital plan’s “MS4 Municipal Assistance Grant Program.” For more information on MS4 permits and their requirements, turn here.

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