Stormwater discharges are generated by runoff from land and impervious areas during rainfall and snow events. Stormwater picks up litter, sand, bacteria, oil and other chemicals as it flows over the land and it carries these pollutants to our streams, rivers, ponds and wetlands. Runoff from paved surfaces, such as roads, parking lots and rooftops, drain through pipes and contribute large amounts of polluted storm water to our waterways. Cleaning up storm water not only benefits our neighborhoods and town, it also benefits the entire network of water bodies and land that make up our watershed [Sudbury-Assabet-Concord (SuAsCo) Watershed].
In Marlborough, stormwater is regulated at the federal level by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the state level by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and at the city level it is regulated by local regulations which will help prevent dirty water from homes and construction sites from discharging into our streams and ponds. Currently the Conservation Commission and Engineering Departments ensure construction sites are not discharging into streams and that no dumping of contaminates into the storm drains or streams occurs.
As authorized by the Clean Water Act, the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program controls water pollution by regulating point sources that discharge pollutants into ditches. Individual homes that are connected to a municipal system, use a septic system, or do not have a surface discharge do not need an NPDES permit; however, industrial, municipal, and other facilities must obtain permits if their discharges go directly to surface waters.
Tips for Keeping Stormwater Clean
Car Care Tips:
- Maintain your car to prevent fluid leaks;
- Recycle motor oil, antifreeze, tires, and batteries;
- Use a commercial carwash that treats and/or recycles the wash water;
- If you wash your car at home, wash it on the lawn so that the water can seep into the soil, and use low-phosphate detergents in small amounts.
Lawn Care and Garden Tips:
- Use fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides sparingly;
- Try using organic lawn care Methods;
- Mow grass 2 to 3 inches high to encourage dense growth and deter weeds;
- Mulch lawn clippings and leaves (not in the wetlands or streams);
- Do not over water your lawn;
- Reduce lawn size in favor of natural vegetation or rock gardens;
- Cover soil piles with tarps and replant bare areas to stop erosion.
- NEVER pour or sweep anything down a storm drain, including: motor oil,~litter, leaves, sand, pet waste or paint (only rainwater should enter the drain);
- DO NOT block stormwater drains with refuse or debris;
- If you own a parking lot, have it swept annually and clean catchbasins and drainage structures annually to remove sand and to keep the system clean;
- If you are doing construction on more than 1 acre of land, you may need an EPA Construction General Permit;
- Always use fencing or other erosion control device on the down slope side of all construction sites to prevent silty water from entering a wetland, directly or through the drainage system.
- EPA NPDES Stormwater Program
- MassDEP Stormwater
- Stormwater Pollution Guide
- Stormwater Management Ordinance
- Stormwater Management Rules & Regulations