Continuing the Patrick Administration's efforts to promote environmental stewardship, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) today announced that seven projects have been recommended for more than $1.27 million in grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"These grants will help local communities protect vital water resources and enhance environmental quality," said Governor Deval Patrick. "We are proud to be a partner in their efforts, and I thank the Obama Administration for supporting us and sharing our commitment to environmental stewardship."
The projects in Amesbury, Greenfield, Ipswich, Leominster and Plymouth will implement or demonstrate best management practices to mitigate the effects of polluted stormwater runoff. A Barnstable County-based project and a statewide project will develop and distribute information and materials needed to support local outreach and education efforts to address impacts of polluted stormwater.
"Non-point source pollution threatens the health of our lakes, streams and watersheds and degrades the quality of life for all of our residents," said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan. "The projects announced today will make a difference in the quality of our drinking water, watersheds and aquatic recreational areas."
The grant program focuses on implementation of measures to control non-point source (NPS) pollution to surface and ground water. Unlike pollution from industrial facilities and sewage treatment plants, NPS pollution is unregulated and comes from diffuse 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.
"These EPA grants will help keep Massachusetts' waterways and watershed areas clean and will strengthen communities' efforts to preserve our natural resources," said U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren. "I commend Governor Patrick and MassDEP for securing these grants and for their commitment to protecting our environment."
"Massachusetts' lakes, coastlines and watersheds are treasures and these grants will help protect them from dangerous contaminants, as well inform communities about how to be good environmental stewards," said U.S. Senator Edward Markey. "Amesbury, Greenfield, Ipswich, Leominster, Plymouth, and Barnstable County will benefit from this critical funding, and I applaud Governor Patrick for his continued leadership protecting the Commonwealth's natural resources."
"I applaud the Commonwealth's MassDEP for distributing this federal funding to these important projects," said Congressman Bill Keating. "Coastal communities often face challenges associated with polluted groundwater and stormwater runoff, and we need a comprehensive, united solution to protect our drinking water and ecosystems. My district, in particular, is uniquely threatened by these issues. These projects are a much-needed investment."
"Our natural water resources are among our most important -- and our most threatened -- assets," said Congressman Jim McGovern. "These federal grants will help steer a coordinated approach to combating stormwater runoff, protecting those assets and fostering environmental stewardship."
"I'm pleased that Amesbury and Ipswich are among the Massachusetts cities and towns that will be receiving federal funds to support their efforts to protect water resources from non-point source pollution," said Congressman John Tierney. "These projects are critical to ensuring that Massachusetts' natural resources remain free of harmful contaminants, and I applaud these communities for their continued commitment to environmental stewardship."
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.
"These grant awards allow us to continue to build strong coalitions with our regional and municipal partners to help control non-point source pollution," said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. "Many of these projects also seek to educate citizens about the dangers of non-point source pollution and how to eliminate it."
These projects will help to protect Massachusetts' water resources by restoring and preserving watershed areas, constructing best management practices, demonstrating innovative technologies and educating the public on how to protect sensitive natural resources. Recipients include municipalities, county governments, regional planning agencies, environmental groups and private consultants.
"Stormwater can cause serious harm to our fragile ecosystem," said Senate President Therese Murray. "It is important that we find ways to manage the runoff into our rivers, coastal waters, groundwater and other bodies of water as well as educate the public on its impacts on community health. I am proud of my hometown of Plymouth and communities on the Cape for taking the lead on these pressing environmental issues."
"I thank Governor Patrick, Secretary Sullivan, Commissioner Kimmell and MassDEP for securing these funds to help protect our natural resources," said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo. "As a representative of a coastal community, I know how important it is to commit ourselves to preserving our beaches and waterways. These grants are an important step in that direction."
"These grants are an example of the commitment the Commonwealth and the federal government share to clean up our storm water and groundwater," said Senator Marc R. Pacheco, Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. "We must do everything we can to protect our watershed from pollution and to preserve this important resource for the public health of our citizens today and in the future."
"I appreciate the work MassDEP is doing in conjunction with communities who are trying their best to comply with regulations designed to protect our waterways," said Representative Anne Gobi, House chair of the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. "These grants will assist communities and help to educate the public about stormwater and the best ways to effectively deal with the pollutants it carries."
Each of these projects was reviewed and approved by MassDEP's regional staff, the MassDEP and EEA Proposal Review Committee and the federal EPA. Funding for the projects will be available in early 2014.
The projects are as follows:
Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment
Project Name: Investigation of Passive Nitrogen Removal Strategies for Onsite Septic Systems at the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center -- $85,725
Total Project Cost: $146,184
Town of Plymouth
Project Name: White Island Pond Phosphorus Inactivation Project -- $260,232
Total Project Cost: $437,010
Massachusetts Watershed Coalition
Project Name: Monoosnoc Brook Renewal Project, Leominster -- $229,000
Total Project Cost: $515,000
Franklin Regional Council of Governments
Project Name: Using Low Impact Development Techniques to Manage Stormwater Runoff in Greenfield -- $218,600
Total Project Cost: $595,600
Town of Amesbury
Project Name: Lake Gardner and Powow River NPS Improvement Project -- $166,960
Total Project Cost: $278,360
Town of Ipswich
Project Name: Ipswich River Watershed Best Management Practices Implementation at Farley Brook -- $261,600
Total Project Cost: $438,782
Comprehensive Environmental, Inc.
Project Name: Tree Canopy Stormwater Implementation and Outreach Program, Statewide -- $47,976
Total Project Cost: $79,960
MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.