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State Awards Environmental Grant to Chatham
October 22, 1996
Trudy Coxe, Secretary of Environmental Affairs, awarded a $29,103 grant today to the Town of Chatham to help protect Oyster Pond. The Secretary presented the award to Thomas Groux, Town Manager, at the Chatham Town Hall. Chatham was one of seven towns to receive $369,575 in grants under the Coastal Pollutant Remediation (CPR) Program. The other grant recipients included Ipswich, Marblehead, Nantucket, Revere, Seekonk, and Wareham.
"The enthusiastic response to the CPR program shows that towns recognize how fundamental clean water is to local industries like traditional shellfishing, to green business like aquaculture and tourism, and to overall quality of life," said Secretary Coxe. "I applaud Chatham and the town officials involved for their foresight."
The CPR Program, administered by the state through Massachusetts Coastal Zone Management (MCZM), will appropriate up to $4 million over a five year period for projects that reduce stormwater runoff from roadways and other transportation-related nonpoint pollution problems.
"The main goal of the program is to control sources of pollution that are directly impacting important environmental resources such as shellfish beds," explained MCZM Director Peg Brady. "The Chatham project clearly meets this goal and will make a big difference for our coastal environment."
With the grant, Chatham will divert stormwater from roadways and parking lots to small leaching basins at two locations near the Town Center - Main Street at the Elementary School and Depot Road near Veterans field. These basins collect and hold stormwater so that larger particles can settle out. The stormwater then seeps through the soil, which filters out dissolved pollutants, and the filtered water recharges the groundwater. The stormwater from the Town Center is considered a primary source of bacterial pollution in the northern and eastern sections of Oyster Pond. Currently, shellfishing is prohibited from a 12.2 acre section, and closed seasonally in an adjacent area of 103 acres because of bacteria levels. Treating the stormwater draining from the Town Center will improve water quality in this section of Oyster Pond.
Since the first shellfish closures were announced in 1983, local officials and concerned citizens have been actively seeking solutions. The Town of Chatham created a Stormwater Management Committee to investigate potential causes for the shellfish closures and hired a consultant to study the stormwater discharges. In addition to the CPR grant, the Town is working on two other projects to control stormwater impacts, one at Route 28 and a second at Main Street east of the rotary. In addition to reopening shellfish beds, these projects will provide cleaner water for recreation at the Town Beach and protection for the Town's only aquaculture operation.
"The Town has been working hard on these issues for years," said Chatham Town Manager Thomas Groux. "It's great to be at the point where we soon will see the benefits of our efforts. I appreciate everything Secretary Coxe and the state environmental agencies have done to assist us in our efforts."
MCZM will be soliciting applications for the third round of grants in April 1997. Municipalities who have identified a stormwater pollution problem and are interested in developing a proposal for Round 3 are encouraged to Contact MCZM's Steve Barrett at (617) 727-9530, ext. 413.
The CPR program was created under the State Transportation Bond Bill passed by the
legislature in December 1994 under the leadership of Rep. Thomas Cahir (D-3rd Barnstable
District and Chairman of the Transportation Committee). Towns located within the Massachusetts
Coastal Watershed, which includes all areas whose rivers flow into and consequently impact
Massachusetts coastal waters, are eligible for funding.