Continuing a commitment to protect and improve water quality across the Commonwealth, the Baker-Polito Administration today awarded $300,000 in grants to three stormwater coalitions across the Commonwealth to support communities in pursuing innovative stormwater control projects and meeting permitting requirements issued by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The projects, selected by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), were awarded to the Statewide Municipal Stormwater Coalition, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, and the Berkshire Planning Commission.\n\n\u0022The municipalities receiving funding under the MS4 Municipal Assistance Grant Program have a proven track record of utilizing innovative solutions to address the problem of stormwater discharges into the environment,\u0022 said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. \u0022Meeting stormwater permitting requirements is crucial to the Commonwealth\u0027s water resource protection efforts, and these grants will help communities achieve our combined goal of providing residents and families with safe, healthy drinking water.\u0022\n\nThe funding awarded by the Baker-Polito Administration will work to enable Massachusetts municipalities to expand their efforts to meet MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) requirements and reduce stormwater pollution through coordinated partnerships that emphasize resource sharing. Currently, there are 260 Massachusetts communities subject to the upcoming MS4 permit, due to take effect on July 1, 2018.\u00a0\u00a0\n\n\u0022With more than 120 communities represented by the Statewide Stormwater Coalition and the two regional coalitions, local officials are working together to implement better stormwater management across the state,\u0022 said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. \u0022Reducing pollution carried by stormwater is a large task for Massachusetts municipalities, and I\u0027m proud and gratified to see so many cities and towns cooperating to protect local rivers, streams, lakes and ponds.\u0022\n\nPermit requirements that the MS4 communities must meet include the development and implementation of a Public Education program, adopting more stringent local development rules, and locating and removing pollutants that are illegally entering municipal stormwater systems.\n\nThe groups receiving funding are:\n\nStatewide Stormwater Coalition - $200,000\nThis project will develop and implement a statewide stormwater education and outreach campaign. It will provide a common way for communities across the Commonwealth to provide information about critical issues related to stormwater and will provide all municipalities with associated stormwater education materials.\n\nPioneer Valley Planning Commission - $50,000\nThis project will develop an offsite mitigation manual for redevelopment projects. The offsite mitigation manual will help foster municipal implementation of standards for redevelopment projects required under the 2016 MS4 permit.\n\nBerkshire Regional Planning Commission - $50,000\nThis project implements a regional approach toward meeting Illicit Discharge Detection \u0026 Elimination requirements through regional collaboration and partnerships for both existing and new MS4 communities.\n\n\u0022Massachusetts has been a consistent leader on issues of water quality and protection,\u0022 said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). \u0022These innovative collaborative approaches to education and management continue that tradition, and will result in healthier families and communities.\u0022\n\n\u0022These funding awards will do a great deal to assist communities around the Commonwealth to meet stormwater permitting requirements,\u0022 said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. \u0022Safe and healthy drinking water for everyone requires careful planning, stewardship and teamwork.\u0022\n\n\u0022Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration for your continued efforts to clean up and improve water quality within the Commonwealth,\u0022 said State Representative Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox), House Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. \u0022The grants being awarded today, particularly to the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, will help put municipalities working to meet the MS4 requirements in a better position to achieve the mandates of these permits. Protecting our local water bodies is extremely important and I am happy to see the state working with our municipalities to make reducing water pollution a priority.\u0022\n\n\u0022This grant program benefits towns and cities so that they can better prepare for, and respond to, water management challenges. The Baker-Polito Administration\u0027s investments in stormwater management will directly support our quality of life, economy, and communities for years to come,\u0022 said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). \u0022This funding helps protect our water quality and is responsive to the needs at the local level.\u0022\n\n\u0022Effective stormwater management is critical to maintaining a safe drinking water supply,\u0022 said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). \u0022These grants will help to ensure that all Massachusetts communities are working together to achieve this important goal.\u0022\n\nFor more information on MS4 permits and their requirements, turn here.\n\nThe funding, awarded through the Commonwealth\u0027s Fiscal Year 2018 capital plan\u0027s \u0022MS4 Municipal Assistance Grant Program,\u0022 furthers the work of stormwater coalitions, encourages the formation of new coalitions, and promotes the idea of regionalized stormwater management. Projects receiving grants met 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\u0027s 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 the U.S. EPA\u0027s 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\u0027 waterbodies.