Grants Focus on Pollution Prevention in Watersheds

By ecoRI News staff

Nine Massachusetts projects targeting water pollution from stormwater runoff and erosion have been recommended for more than $1.28 million in grants using funds from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The projects are based in Agawam, Belchertown, Franklin, Milford, Plymouth, Stoughton, Taunton and Watertown. Six of the recommended projects will implement or demonstrate best management practices (BMP) to mitigate the effects of polluted stormwater runoff. Two projects will explore development of funding mechanisms to support stormwater infrastructure. One project will focus on climate change and resiliency actions that can be taken to protect critical watershed resources.

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 snowmelt moving over and through the ground. As the runoff moves, it picks up and carries away natural and human-made pollutants, depositing them into lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and groundwaters.

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.

Here is the list of projects recommended to be funded:

Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
Project: Feasibility of a stormwater utility for Agawam
Amount: $66,900
Total project cost: $111,500

Town of Belchertown
Project: Keeping roadway storm-flow out of Arcadia Lake
Amount: $41,868
Total project cost: $69,780

Town of Franklin
Project: Upper Charles River regional stormwater finance study
Amount: $76,000
Total project cost: $126,607

Town of Milford
Project: Lower Huckleberry Brook stormwater treatment
Amount: $225,290
Total project cost: $376,038

Town of Plymouth
Project: Water Street stormwater implementation
Amount: $234,117
Total project cost: $390,195

Town of Stoughton
Project: Steep Hill Brook BMP retrofit project
Amount: $137,046
Total project cost: $236,486

The Nature Conservancy
Project: Protecting a healthy and resilient Taunton watershed
Amount: $107,034
Total project cost: $179,734

Charles River Watershed Association
Project: Edenfield Avenue/Green Street demonstration project Watertown
Amount: $194,648
Total project cost: $1,011,848

University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Project: Reducing NPS pollution from equine facilities statewide
Amount: $200,000
Total project cost: $333,333