- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Announces Grants to Prevent Pollution in the Commonwealth’s Waterways
Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs
Boston — The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that seven local projects targeting water pollution from stormwater runoff and erosion are recommended to receive more than $1 million in grants utilizing funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The projects are based in Amherst and Spencer, as well as Berkshire, Franklin and Hampden Counties.
“Pollution from stormwater runoff threatens the health of our rivers, lakes and wetlands, and can impact the health of our communities,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “These grants bring state and federal resources together to help improve water quality in watersheds across the Commonwealth.”
“Our administration is proud to partner with local communities and regional organizations to help keep nonpoint source pollution from contaminating our environment,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These funds will directly benefit drinking water sources and aquatic recreational areas.”
Three of the recommended projects will implement or demonstrate best management practices (BMPs) to mitigate the effects of polluted stormwater runoff, three projects will carry out the regional coordinator initiative, and the last project will implement an outreach and education project to support the regional coordinator initiative.
“Comprehensive watershed protection efforts like these are critical in order to keep our communities safe and healthy,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen A. Theoharides. “These grants will help local officials and regional groups to protect and enhance vital local watershed resources from nonpoint source pollution.”
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.
“As part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s work implementing the Clean Water Act (CWA), EPA provides grants to states under authority of section 319 of the CWA to administer programs to address nonpoint source pollution that can degrade water quality,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. “In 2019, EPA provided a grant of $2,138,319 to MassDEP to support state and regional activities and local projects within the Commonwealth to address critical nonpoint source pollution concerns.”
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.
“These projects represent important approaches to addressing the issue of stormwater,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “The reduction of bacteria and nutrients in our water bodies through the implementation of green infrastructure is a key step in our water resource protection efforts across the Commonwealth.”
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.
The following projects have been selected to receive grant funding:
Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) – $100,000
This project will support a Regional Nonpoint Source Coordinator for Franklin County.
Town of Amherst – $276,549
This project will restore and reconnect Fearing Brook to its floodplain to increase nutrient and sediment retention, decrease bacteria and reduce erosion.
Town of Spencer – $88,200
This project consists of design and construction of BMPs in the Town of Spencer to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff discharging to the Sevenmile River.
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) – $100,000
This project will support a Regional Nonpoint Source Coordinator for Berkshire County.
Comprehensive Environmental, Inc. (CEI) of Bolton – $75,285
This project will develop a guide book and supporting materials for the regional NPS coordinators.
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) – $100,000
This project will support a Regional Nonpoint Source Coordinator in the Pioneer Valley.
University of Massachusetts-Amherst – $286,670
This project will implement stormwater BMPs on equine facilities as per Natural Resources Conservation Service standards for nutrient management practices.
“Our towns work very hard to ensure that all water sources are free of contaminants,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Senate Chairwoman of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.“These grants are critical in providing the necessary funds to deal with and prepare for ongoing pollution problems.”
“The Section 319 Nonpoint Source Competitive Grants Program is a very beneficial way for our state to prevent and control the abatement of nonpoint source pollution in our local communities,” said State Representative Smitty Pignatelli, House Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “It is important that we do our part to ensure that all towns have the opportunity to address this critical issue, and I am thankful that these Southern Berkshire towns will be able to use this assistance to implement future projects.”
“Nonpoint source pollution is the leading source of water quality impairment in the United States. We need to implement successful NPS programs to keep our waters clean from pollutants,” said State Senator Dean Tran (R-Fitchburg).“This grant will allow Comprehensive Environmental Inc. in my town of Bolton to develop guidebooks and materials to do just that. Congratulations to them on their grant.”
With the addition of the 2020 funding, the Commonwealth and EPA have provided more than $19 million since 2007 for 109 projects to address NPS pollution across the state.
Additional information about the non-point source pollution program can be found here.
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.