Stormwater Forum and Discussion - Dec 11th, 2018

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Town engineer Wayne Chouinard went through the town's general bylaws, and identified a list of sections that might require amendments to comply with MS4. MS4 regulations went into effect on July 1st. It's an EPA roadmap for cities towns to improve water quality. MS4 forces towns to think about -- and do something about -- water quality. The regulations requires towns to track what they do operationally, along with requirements in bylaws and regulations.

The Clean Water Act focused on sewage discharge, and made a big difference in water quality. People are now realizing that stormwater is a significant source of water contamination. That's what MS4 focuses on.

MS4 covers "urbanized" areas. There are 260 such areas in Massachusetts.

Each body of water has a designated impairment. Municipalities have to make plans to address these impairment.

The group went through several items on Wayne's list of regulations. I suggested looking at residential parking requirements, specifically the requirement to provide spaces behind the front foundation wall. Others suggested looking at the number of residential and business spaces required.

Another suggested an erosion and sediment control bylaw. Perhaps sediment control could be added to the good neighbor agreement for construction.

Excavation on private ways (e.g., for water main work) is another source of runoff. The streets typically aren't patched right away, and the exposed dirt erodes. Private ways often lack drainage facilities, causing runoff to flow onto public ways.

Vermont has municipal standards for storm water runoff. That could be a useful model.

Site remediation measures may be challenging to craft, as some sites could be amenable to certain remediations but not others. For example, a site with sandy soil vs a site that sits on a rock ledge. We might allow property owners to pay for off-site mitigation, if on-site mitigation is not possible. The town's tree bylaws follow a similar model.

The town could reconsider its overnight parking ban. There's plenty of paved space for parking cars on the street. We don't necessarily need to require additional paved space on private property.

One attendee asked if storm drains could filter out sediment. The outflow of a storm drain is typically a few feet above the bottom. Sediment settles to the bottom, and there are devices to filter oil and dirt from the outflow. This design requires periodic cleaning of the storm drain.

Dumpsters should be water-tight, so that rain water doesn't wash the nasty stuff out.

Salinity is a concern during the winter (from spreading salt brine on the roads).

Could the town form a stormwater utility, akin to our water and sewer utility? The town is looking into grants that could help us study the costs and benefits of having a stormwater utility.