Baker-Polito Administration Announces Availability of $300,000 for Municipal Assistance for Stormwater Projects
WORCESTER - Continuing a commitment to protect and improve water quality across the Commonwealth, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced the availability of $300,000 to support communities in pursuing innovative stormwater control projects, a $250,000 increase over last year. The future funding, to be awarded and administered by the Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), was announced at a meeting of the Statewide Stormwater Coalition and will assist Massachusetts cities and towns in their efforts to meet federal and state requirements for managing stormwater and promote coordinated partnerships that place emphasis on resource sharing. Requests for responses (RFR) will be solicited from municipalities, regional stormwater coalitions, and regional planning commissions for projects designed to assist municipalities.
"The Baker-Polito Administration prioritizes our partnership with cities and towns, and is pleased to help communities meet the challenges associated with stormwater management," said Governor Charlie Baker. "This year's significant increase to the grant program will help fund new ideas and approaches that cities and towns can share with one another to solve common water protection and quality issues."
"Our Administration is proud to support the important cooperative work of Massachusetts' regional stormwater coalitions," said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. "This funding opportunity will allow cities, towns and coalitions across the Commonwealth to continue collaborating on important water quality issues."
"In Massachusetts, stormwater is the single largest source of water pollution statewide, and is a complex problem that requires creative solutions," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. "By working collaboratively, cities and towns can use resources efficiently and make greater progress than could be achieved individually."
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues general permits for stormwater discharges from small municipal separate storm sewer systems (MS4s) in Massachusetts. In recent years, many cities and towns have come together to form regional stormwater coalitions to share resources, training, and best management practices (BMPs) related to stormwater management. This innovative approach has been successful in reducing municipal costs of stormwater management. Today, there are regional stormwater coalitions across the Commonwealth, serving more than 100 communities.
The grant program furthers the work of stormwater coalitions, encourages the formation of new coalitions, and promotes the idea of regionalized stormwater management. Eligible projects must meet a specific requirement of the MS4 General Permit and provide a shared benefit to multiple communities. Additionally, the program builds upon the Baker-Polito Administration's vow to protect the waters of the Commonwealth. Earlier this year, the Administration filed legislation to allow MassDEP to join 46 other states in administering EPA's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for federal water quality protection. Additionally, the proposal will allow the Commonwealth greater oversight of water quality monitoring, assessment, and water quality standards programs as well as increased data availability to ensure development of scientifically based permits that protect Massachusetts' waterbodies.
"More than two-thirds of Massachusetts' communities are subject to the requirements of the small MS4 permit," said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. "MassDEP continues its work with our municipal partners and we are excited to offer this grant program that helps further that goal."
"We are very appreciative of the Baker-Polito Administration's continued support of municipal efforts to address stormwater management issues and meet the requirements of the MS4 permit," said Robin Craver, Administrator for the Town of Charlton and a Co-chair of the Central Massachusetts Regional Stormwater Coalition. "The regional stormwater coalitions are a real asset to their member communities and this funding will make it possible for them to continue their great work."
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.
# # #