CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will work with six Massachusetts cities and towns to improve stormwater management.

Chicopee and western Massachusetts as a whole saw the adverse effects of more frequent and more intense rain storms this summer and will use this program to research how to best modernize its stormwater treatment and management strategy to accommodate this new reality.

Population growth and development of urban areas are making runoff management more important than ever increasing the likelihood that rainwater will carry harmful pollutants into bodies of water. Proper management can have a huge effect on public health, protect recreational resources, conserve municipal water supply, and control flooding.

Adapting systems is particularly difficult for environmental justice communities which may not have the city funds or capability to upgrade to modern systems, this program is meant to focus on those communities.

Municipalities selected as part of this program: 

  • Amherst is interested in learning about developing more reliable funding mechanisms to increase the number of nature-based solutions and green infrastructure implementations to reduce flooding and improve water quality in the town.
  • Chicopee is interested in balancing the importance of managing stormwater flooding and modernizing its stormwater treatment strategy to address more frequent and intense storms with a reliable funding stream through their existing stormwater utility.
  • South Hadley is interested in learning about various cost-effective green infrastructure options that are easy to install to increase resilience and improve water quality in receiving waters. Specifically, the town is interested in tackling challenges related to nitrogen pollution from stormwater.
  • Somerville is interested in maximizing opportunities for stormwater practices focused on infiltration techniques that are effective in highly urbanized areas and gaining a better understanding of how to effectively maintain these practices. In addition, Somerville is interested in learning about asset management tracking of public and private stormwater control measures.
  • Stoughton is interested in learning about maintenance schedule tracking tools for public and private stormwater controls and learning about streamlined approaches to maintain a successful stormwater control program.
  • Milford is interested in upgrading existing municipal stormwater controls to ensure stormwater is treated effectively and in learning about small-scale, cost- effective stormwater management solutions that are appropriate for municipal and private properties in densely populated areas closest to the Charles River.

“Communities, especially overburdened ones, should not worry that when a storm hits, flooding could fill their basement. They also should know that storm runoff won’t dump nutrients in their lakes, ponds, and rivers and cause unhealthy algal blooms. Anyone who knows me knows I will take any opportunity to swim in our New England waterways. Every person should have that opportunity to safely play in the rivers and seas that surround us,” said EPA Regional Administrator David W. Cash. “For environmentally overburdened and under-resourced communities, it is especially important to address stormwater runoff challenges to improve water quality.”

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Duncan MacLean is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2019. Follow Duncan on X @DMacLeanWWLP and view his bio to see more of his work.