State awards grants for water pollution prevention efforts

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Seven local and regional projects have been awarded grants that will focus on water pollution prevention.

The projects will target water pollution from storm-water runoff and erosion. They are expected to receive more than $1 million in grants utilizing funds from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The projects are based in Amherst and Spencer, as well as Berkshire, Franklin and Hampden counties.

The grant program focuses on implementation of measures to control non-point 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 snow melt 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.

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.

The following projects have been selected to receive grant funding:

Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) – $100,000
This project will support a Regional Nonpoint Source Coordinator for Franklin County.

Town of Amherst – $276,549
This project will restore and reconnect Fearing Brook to its floodplain to increase nutrient and sediment retention, decrease bacteria and reduce erosion.

Town of Spencer – $88,200
This project consists of design and construction of BMPs in the Town of Spencer to reduce pollution from stormwater runoff discharging to the Sevenmile River.

Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) – $100,000
This project will support a Regional Nonpoint Source Coordinator for Berkshire County.

Comprehensive Environmental, Inc. (CEI) of Bolton – $75,285
This project will develop a guide book and supporting materials for the regional NPS coordinators.

Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) – $100,000
This project will support a Regional Nonpoint Source Coordinator in the Pioneer Valley.

University of Massachusetts-Amherst – $286,670
This project will implement stormwater BMPs on equine facilities as per Natural Resources Conservation Service standards for nutrient management practices.

Additional information about the non-point source pollution program can be found here.

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