Stormwater runoff is generated from rain events and snowmelt that flow over land and impervious surfaces like pavement or rooftops. The stormwater runoff picks up pollutants like trash, chemicals, nutrients and oils that can harm our lakes, rivers, streams and coastal waters. Stormwater runoff carrying accidental spills from hard surfaces like streets, parking lots and driveways can threaten drinking water stored in surface reservoirs. Additionally, nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus which are found in animal wastes, fertilizers and faulty septic systems are a significant source of pollution to nearby waterbodies. Excess nutrients degrade water quality – a process referred to as eutrophication.
NPDES MS4 Permit
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program addresses water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants to waters of the United States. Created in 1972 by the Clean Water Act, the NPDES permit program is authorized to state governments by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to perform many permitting, administrative and enforcement aspects of the program.
DCR Stormwater Management Program
The DCR program to manage stormwater and improve water quality involves public education, public participation, illicit discharge detection and elimination, construction and post-construction stormwater management controls and good housekeeping. Good housekeeping involves street sweeping of parkways, cleaning street drains and associated drainage systems and using control measures to protect sensitive receiving waters. The list of DCR facilities and descriptions of the program elements are described in the Stormwater Management Plan.
Wachusett Educational Programs
Water Supply Protection
Activity Guides/Links to Environmental Education Websites
Waquoit Bay Educational Programs
Estuarine Research Reserve
Past Presentations – Workshops/Teacher Resources – Remote Learning
What Can You Do to Help?
Pick up after your pet and properly dispose of waste · Use slow release fertilizers and apply only in appropriate concentrations · Apply pesticides and herbicides according to manufacturer specifications · Properly dispose of grass clippings and leaf litter · Wash cars on pervious areas that do not drain to catch basins · Maintain equipment and vehicles to prevent leaks and drips · Properly maintain all septic systems
To keep our collective water supply clean and safe, reference the following brochures, fact sheets and reports at:
To report a spill of oil or hazardous material first call your local Fire Department, then call MassDEP Emergency Response:
To report a dumping issue or drainage problem on DCR property
Call: (617) 626-1250
To Learn More
US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES)
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
Think Blue Massachusetts