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BOSTON — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that eight local projects and one statewide project targeting water pollution from stormwater runoff and erosion will receive more than $1.53 million in grants utilizing funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The eight projects receiving funding are based in Amesbury, Bellingham, Brewster, Canton, Franklin, Great Barrington, Millbury and Westford, and the statewide project will serve multiple communities.
“The Commonwealth’s water resources are critical assets for the state and its municipalities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are proud to partner with the United States Environmental Protection Agency and local communities to protect these resources across the Commonwealth from erosion and stormwater runoff.”
“These grants will help communities implement plans that will directly benefit our rivers, groundwater and coastal resources,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “Stormwater can cause serious harm to our fragile ecosystems, so it is important to find ways to manage that runoff as it enters into our local watersheds.”
Six of the recommended projects will implement or demonstrate best management practices (BMPs) to mitigate the effects of polluted stormwater runoff. One project will help develop a stormwater utility. Another project will develop watershed-based plans, and the last project will apply alum to reduce toxic cyanobacteria blooms.
The grant program focuses on implementation of measures to control nonpoint source (NPS) pollution to surface and groundwater. Unlike pollution from industrial facilities and sewage treatment plants, NPS pollution is unregulated and comes from a variety of sources. NPS pollution is caused by rainfall or snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, finally depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and ground waters.
“Non-point source pollution threatens the health of our water bodies and degrades the quality of life for all residents of the Commonwealth,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew A. Beaton. “These projects are a much-needed local investment that will ensure the continued protection of Massachusetts’ natural resources.”
Common types of NPS pollution include phosphorus and nitrogen from lawn and garden fertilizers and agricultural operations, bacteria from pet waste and waterfowl, oil and grease from parking lots and roadways, and sediment from construction activities and soil erosion.
“Through these grants, we are pleased to partner with the local and regional organizations that are working to restore and protect these vital water resources,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “These projects will develop and implement the best management practices and educational outreach initiatives that are necessary to stem pollution.”
These projects will help to protect Massachusetts’ water resources by restoring and preserving watershed areas, constructing BMPs, demonstrating innovative technologies, and educating the public on how to protect sensitive natural resources. Recipients include municipalities, regional planning agencies and environmental organizations.
Each of these projects was reviewed and approved by MassDEP’s regional and program staff, the MassDEP/Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Proposal Review Committee and the federal EPA. Funding for the projects will be available in early 2018.
The projects recommended to be funded are:
Town of Amesbury – $352,000
Project: The town will apply alum to Lake Attitash to reduce internal phosphorus loading to stop frequent harmful algal blooms.
Town of Bellingham – $97,895
Project: Grant funds will be used to assist the implementation of BMPs at the town’s Municipal Center to reduce the impact of stormwater runoff.
Town of Brewster – $105,000
Project: Grant funds will be used to restore tidal flow, water quality, and salt marsh area by installing BMPs and upgrading an undersized culvert.
Town of Canton – $134,784
Project: This project will construct BMPs along Beaver Meadow Brook and in the Pequit Brook Watershed, tributaries to the Neponset River.
Town of Franklin – $125,000
Project: The town, partnering with a redevelopment project, will implement stormwater BMPs for a public roadway.
Town of Great Barrington – $288,925
Project: The goal is to install structural BMPs on Knob Hill Road to capture sediment and pollutants that led to the impairment of Lake Mansfield.
Town of Millbury – $150,000
Project: The town will reduce sediment and nutrient loads as well as the quantity and velocity of stormwater flows to the Blackstone River, through the installation of BMPs.
Town of Westford – $99,982
Project: The goal is to develop a stormwater utility that meets the stormwater management, social and technical needs of the community.
Statewide (Geosyntec) – $180,970
Project: Grants funds will be used to continue the success of the Massachusetts Watershed Based Plan’s web-based tool and develop a statewide lake trophic response modeling tool.
“Conserving our natural resources and ensuring clean, safe water are critical priorities in Franklin and across the state,” said State Senator Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland), Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “This grant is terrific news for Franklin as our community continues to improve wastewater management and prevent pollution.”
“Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration, the MassDEP, and the EPA for supporting water pollution remediation throughout the Commonwealth,” said State Representative William Pignatelli (D-Lenox), House Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “Mitigating the pollution entering Lake Mansfield from stormwater runoff and erosion is critical to ensuring folks will be able to take advantage of this amazing environmental resource for generations to come. Congratulations to the town, the Lake Mansfield Committee, and Christine Ward, without whom this project would not be possible.”
“This funding will mitigate damage due to stormwater runoff and protect the fragile ecosystem along the Cape Cod Bay coastline in Brewster,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro). “As new parking is opening and access is expanding to Crosby Landing Beach, more will be able to enjoy our beautiful bayside beaches, while the Town of Brewster prepares for damaging storms to its coastal properties.”
“The nearly $100,000 that Westford will receive to develop a stormwater utility represents money well-spent,” said State Senator Eileen Donoghue (D-Lowell). “This grant will reduce the impact on Westford taxpayers as it implements its Stormwater Management Master Plan to protect its vital water resources today and in the future.”
“The grant for Great Barrington’s clean-up project is no small figure – this local investment will improve the water quality of Lake Mansfield for future generations and supports the state’s agenda to reduce pollution,” said State Senator Adam Hinds (D-Pittsfield). “We should be making every effort possible to ensure that all residents in the Commonwealth have access to clean water resources.”
“The Blackstone River is an essential part of the community and economic landscape in Millbury, and the surrounding area,” said State Senator Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury). “These funds will help limit the negative impact of stormwater runoff, and ensure that the Blackstone River continues to benefit local residents for generations to come.”
“Amesbury, Merrimac, and the Lake Attitash Association have worked diligently to help reduce the amount of polluted runoff entering Lake Attitash, leading to the toxic algae blooms that cause serious public safety and drinking water quality concerns,” said State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives (D-Newburyport). “This DEP/EPA grant makes it possible for the lake to be treated with alum, decreasing the amount of phosphorus known to build up and create the blooms, keeping the water safe for residents and visitors.”
“The impact on our environment is something we can’t ignore. These grants will support local water resources and strengthen our protection of the Commonwealth’s natural assets for years to come,” said State Senator Richard J. Ross (R-Wrentham). “I thank the Baker-Polito Administration for supporting Franklin and other communities in their pursuit of best management practices for environmental threats.”
“This grant will assist the Town of Canton in protecting the Beaver Meadow Brook and the Pequit Brook Watershed, both of which are crucial natural resources to the community,” said State Senator Walter F. Timilty (D-Milton). “I would like to thank the Baker-Polito Administration, as well as the EPA, for recognizing Canton’s need for these funds and allowing them to move forward with this project.”
“I appreciate the Baker-Polito Administration's partnership with the Town of Millbury to address this important environmental issue,” said State Representative Paul Frost (R-Auburn). “This grant enables a significant opportunity to mitigate pollution concerns with the Blackstone River.”
“Lake Attitash serves as a great natural resource for the City of Amesbury and surrounding communities,” said State Representative James Kelcourse (R-Amesbury). “We are thrilled to have the support of the Baker-Polito Administration and their commitment to the environment.”
“It is important to protect our water resources from pollution, as their health is crucial to the well-being of our residents and local environment,” said State Representative Jeffrey N. Roy (D-Franklin). “The implementation of stormwater BMPs is a productive step toward reaching this goal, and I believe this will create a strong foundation for successfully preventing water pollution in the future.”
“I want to thank the Baker-Polito Administration, as well as Secretary Beaton and Commissioner Suuberg, for their continued commitment to sustaining our fragile environment here on Cape Cod,” said State Representative Timothy Whelan (R-Brewster). “The Town of Brewster is a fine steward of our environment and will be greatly aided by this vital support from the Commonwealth.”
With the addition of the 2018 funding awarded today under the grant programs, the Commonwealth and EPA have provided more than $17.8 million since 2007 for 96 projects to address NPS pollution across the state.
For more information about the non-point source pollution program, turn here.