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Baker-Polito Administration Awards Grants to Help Local Communities Meet Stormwater Permitting Requirements  

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that it has awarded $288,570 in grants to five multi-community stormwater coalitions across Massachusetts to help local cities and towns in meeting existing and upcoming stormwater management requirements, building on its commitment to protect and improve water quality across the Commonwealth. The projects, selected by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), were awarded to the Statewide Stormwater Coalition, the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, the Charles River Watershed Association, the Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and the Mystic River Watershed Association. 

“Proper stormwater management is crucial in our administration’s efforts to both protect and improve water quality throughout Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “By partnering with these stormwater coalitions, we are able to achieve mutually shared goals that directly benefit both the public and the environment.” 

“We must all work to protect our Commonwealth’s water resources in an effort to improve water quality within waterways such as rivers and streams, which provide wonderful recreational opportunities for so many,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These grants will provide important informative tools to better educate everyone on how we can work together to reduce pollutants from entering stormwater systems.” 

The funding awarded today 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 more than 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. 

“The Baker-Polito Administration is proud to partner with cities and towns across the Commonwealth to fund efforts in these 192 coalition communities to reduce pollution from stormwater discharges,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “These grants play a crucial role in helping communities meet stormwater standards and in educating the public about how they can play a role in reducing pollutants in our stormwater systems.”

“Stormwater is a complex problem and a significant source of water pollution in waterways across the Commonwealth,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “It is a problem that requires innovative solutions, and these grants will help fund creative ideas and programs for communities to share with each other to help solve common water quality issues.” 

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 – $75,000  The Statewide Stormwater Coalition has developed a successful education and outreach program for more than 190 municipalities that satisfies one of the control measures required of the 2016 MS4 permit. As part of this project, the coalition will continue its social media advertising campaign of the “Ducky Video” in English and Spanish, translate 10 stormwater education messages for use on social media platforms into the six most-common languages used in Massachusetts (Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Haitian Creole, Vietnamese, and Khmer) to reach a broader audience, and continue to carry out its annual survey of Massachusetts residents about their knowledge, attitudes, and habits related to stormwater.

Merrimack Valley Planning Commission – $65,000 The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission will collaborate with Greenscapes North Shore Coalition, which includes the Ipswich River Watershed Association and Salem Sound Coastwatch, to carry out local code review for 29 municipalities and identify how creation of impervious cover can be reduced and low-impact development can be promoted as part of development projects. The project will also oversee the development of a mobile application that allows for uniform data collection during construction site inspections, which will be accessible to all MS4 communities.

Charles River Watershed Association – $49,470  The Charles River Watershed Association will host a series of four workshops that focus on the use of the Phosphorus Control Plan templates that were developed under this grant program in Fiscal Year 2021. The workshops will assist 52 municipalities in working towards meeting their phosphorus reduction goals and benefits all municipalities in the Charles River watershed and those that are within watersheds where phosphorus reduction is needed to protect and restore lakes and ponds. 

Massachusetts Maritime Academy for Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative – $69,000  The Massachusetts Maritime Academy will build on work carried out under the Fiscal Year 2021 grant that supported training of municipal staff in the use of their shared trailer outfitted for illicit discharge detection. After garnering interest from other MS4 communities, this project will expand its training to municipal staff outside of the eight municipalities that belong to the Buzzards Bay Stormwater Collaborative. In addition, Mass. Maritime Academy will also invest in a new piece of equipment for improved outfall sampling and continue to support the municipalities in outfall testing and illicit discharge disconnections and removals. 

Mystic River Watershed Association – $30,100  The Mystic River Watershed Association will support an Adopt-A-Drain program for 13 municipalities in its watershed as part of an education and outreach program to engage residents, organizations, and neighborhood groups in stormwater education and management. Mystic River Watershed Association carried out a pilot project in Medford, which yielded an increased interest in and concern for stormwater management from participating community members. The program is based on an existing model that has been implemented in places such as California, Georgia, and Wisconsin. 

“These funds are pivotal in mitigating stormwater pollution and damage,” said State Senator Susan Moran (D-Falmouth). “Massachusetts Maritime Academy will be able to continue their collaborative work of training municipal staff for pollutant detection and I will continue to support initiatives to protect our water supply.”  

The grants are funded through the Commonwealth’s Fiscal Year 2022 capital plan’s MS4 Municipal Assistance Grant Program. For more information on the MS4 permits and their requirements, turn here. 

MassDEP’s mission is to protect and enhance the Commonwealth’s natural resources – air, water and land – to provide for the health, safety and welfare of all people, and a clean and safe environment for future generations. In carrying out this mission, MassDEP commits to address and advance environmental justice and equity for all people of the Commonwealth, provide meaningful, inclusive opportunities for people to participate in agency decisions that affect their lives and ensure a diverse workforce that reflects the communities served by the agency.