BOSTON (MassDEP) – The Baker-Polito Administration announced more than $1.4 million in grants to support six projects targeting water pollution from stormwater runoff and erosion across the Commonwealth. The grants, which utilize funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), will fund projects in Holland, Stoughton, Arlington, and Sutton, as well as in Essex, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire Counties.
“Addressing the effects of polluted stormwater runoff on Massachusetts waterways is vital to protect both the environment and public health,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Through these grants, we are able to work with the federal government to provide our local and regional partners with the resources needed to improve water quality.”
“To keep communities healthy, we must help them maintain a clean and safe system of water resources,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “These water protection grants will help local and regional officials identify stormwater issues and address them promptly.”
Four of the recommended projects will implement or demonstrate best management practices (BMPs) to mitigate the effects of polluted stormwater runoff, one project will carry out the regional coordinator initiative in Essex County, and one project will support an agricultural nonpoint source coordinator to work with farmers in the Connecticut, Deerfield and Westfield River watersheds.
“Nonpoint source pollution is a serious challenge to water quality in our waterways and wetlands,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides. “These grants will support important water pollution prevention projects, which help preserve our environment, protect the Commonwealth’s natural resources and ensure that our communities are healthy and safe.”
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.
“EPA is excited to help support Massachusetts’ efforts to reduce nonpoint source pollution in local waterways. On-the-ground pollution reduction projects, designed by local experts, are a very effective way to improve water quality and protect our shared environment,” said U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Dennis Deziel. “The projects being announced today include high-priority areas that should make a real and lasting difference improving the health of Massachusetts waters and communities, while supporting the local economy.”
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.
“It is critical for the health of our lakes, rivers and watersheds to eliminate water contaminants from all sources,” said Commissioner Martin Suuberg of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), which is administering the grant program. “Clean lakes and streams are essential to thriving communities and healthy ecosystems.”
The 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.
Each of the projects was reviewed and approved by MassDEP’s regional and program staff, the MassDEP/Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Proposal Review Committee, and the EPA. Funding for the projects will be available in early 2021.
The six grants awarded are:
Mystic River Watershed Association – $498,715
The project will install 50 smaller-scale infiltration trenches in three municipalities, offering cost-effective phosphorus reduction in a highly urbanized setting.
Town of Stoughton – $97,482
The project consists of design and construction of BMPs to reduce pollution from stormwater
runoff discharging in the Steep Hill Brook watershed.
Manchaug Pond Foundation – $225,190
The project will implement a combination of structural and non-structural agricultural BMPs
throughout the watershed.
Merrimack Valley Planning Commission – $100,000
The project will support a Regional Nonpoint Source Coordinator in Essex County.
Town of Holland – $256,871
The project will address the runoff from Mountain Road and Sandy Beach Road that is affecting
Massachusetts Association of Conservation Districts – $259,000
The project will support a Nonpoint Source Coordinator to work with farmers in the Connecticut,
Deerfield and Westfield River watersheds.
“My thanks to the Town of Holland and all they are doing to make sure that clean water is a priority,” said State Senator Anne Gobi (D-Spencer), Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “This highly competitive grant award is a testament to all they do. I am also very glad to see that important watershed areas in western Massachusetts will also benefit from the advocacy and work by the Mass. Association of Conservation Districts.”
“I want to congratulate the Manchaug Pond Foundation on their determination and hard work to become a recipient of the 319 Nonpoint Source Pollution Grant,” said State Senator Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton). “Because this pollution doesn’t come from one particular source, it is important to provide organizations like the Manchaug Pond Foundation with the resources they need to locate and mitigate the problem. I am grateful for the commitment of this organization, the MassDEP, and EPA to ensure that our waters are pollutant-free and safe for our communities.”
“I’d like to commend the Town of Holland and MassDEP for all they do to protect Hamilton Reservoir,” said State Representative Todd Smola (R-Warren). “Access to clean water doesn’t happen on its own and I am very appreciative of their efforts.”
With the addition of the federal fiscal year 2021 funding awarded today under the grant programs, the Commonwealth and EPA have provided more than $20 million since 2007 for 116 projects to address NPS pollution across the state.
Additional information about the non-point source pollution program, can be found here.