- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for Baker-Polito Administration Awards Funding to Help Communities Meet Stormwater Permitting Requirements
Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs
BOSTON — 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.
"The 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," said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. "Meeting stormwater permitting requirements is crucial to the Commonwealth's water resource protection efforts, and these grants will help communities achieve our combined goal of providing residents and families with safe, healthy drinking water."
The 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.
"With 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," said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. "Reducing pollution carried by stormwater is a large task for Massachusetts municipalities, and I'm proud and gratified to see so many cities and towns cooperating to protect local rivers, streams, lakes and ponds."
Permit 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.
The groups receiving funding are:
Statewide Stormwater Coalition - $200,000
This 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.
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission - $50,000
This 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.
Berkshire Regional Planning Commission - $50,000
This project implements a regional approach toward meeting Illicit Discharge Detection & Elimination requirements through regional collaboration and partnerships for both existing and new MS4 communities.
"Massachusetts has been a consistent leader on issues of water quality and protection," said Senate President Harriette L. Chandler (D-Worcester). "These innovative collaborative approaches to education and management continue that tradition, and will result in healthier families and communities."
"These funding awards will do a great deal to assist communities around the Commonwealth to meet stormwater permitting requirements," said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. "Safe and healthy drinking water for everyone requires careful planning, stewardship and teamwork."
"Thank you to the Baker-Polito Administration for your continued efforts to clean up and improve water quality within the Commonwealth," said State Representative Smitty Pignatelli (D-Lenox), House Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. "The 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."
"This grant program benefits towns and cities so that they can better prepare for, and respond to, water management challenges. The Baker-Polito Administration's investments in stormwater management will directly support our quality of life, economy, and communities for years to come," said Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). "This funding helps protect our water quality and is responsive to the needs at the local level."
"Effective stormwater management is critical to maintaining a safe drinking water supply," said House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading). "These grants will help to ensure that all Massachusetts communities are working together to achieve this important goal."
For more information on MS4 permits and their requirements, turn here.
The funding, awarded through the Commonwealth's Fiscal Year 2018 capital plan's "MS4 Municipal Assistance Grant Program," 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'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 the U.S. 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.