Massachusetts awards grants for innovative stormwater management programs

(UI) — The Healey-Driscoll Administration has allocated over $360,000 to support local cities and towns in meeting stormwater management requirements.

This initiative, spearheaded by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), aims to assist municipalities in adhering to the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit and curbing pollution in stormwater discharges.

MassDEP Commissioner Bonnie Heiple stressed the collaborative nature of stormwater management efforts, emphasizing the necessity of regional cooperation to mitigate the impacts of stormwater pollution on public health and the environment.

The MS4 permit, issued under the Clean Water Act National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), mandates municipalities to implement comprehensive stormwater management programs. These programs encompass various aspects such as public education, illicit discharge detection, and post-construction runoff management.

Among the recipients of the grants are several multi-community watershed coalitions and planning collaboratives:

  1. Merrimack Valley Stormwater Collaborative: $50,000 to upgrade stormwater inspection program software.
  2. Charles River Watershed Association: $36,720 for peer learning on phosphorus control strategies.
  3. Massachusetts Statewide Municipal Stormwater Coalition: $42,297 to enhance the Think Blue campaign.
  4. Metropolitan Area Planning Council: $50,000 for the development of a green infrastructure resource guide.
  5. Pioneer Valley Planning Commission: $57,948 to expand the library of green infrastructure Best Management Practices.
  6. Charles River Watershed Municipal Stormwater Collaborative: $75,121 for the development of stormwater control measure inspection and maintenance toolkit.
  7. Salem Sound Coast Watch: $50,000 to reduce fecal and bacterial contamination in stormwater runoff.

Local legislators expressed gratitude for the grants, highlighting the importance of collaborative efforts in stormwater management. State Senator Barry Finegold, State Representative Andy Vargas, and State Representative Ryan Hamilton commended the funding's role in advancing pollution reduction initiatives and safeguarding vital natural resources like the Merrimack River.

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