What is Stormwater and Why Does It Matter?
Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that doesn’t soak into the ground but instead flows over roofs, pavement, bare soil, and sloped lawns into storm drains or directly into water bodies. As stormwater flows, it picks up soil, animal waste, salt, pesticides, fertilizers, oil and grease, debris, and other potential pollutants. Underground pipes carry stormwater to the nearest waterway, usually with little or no treatment. So, whatever flows down a storm drain comes out in a nearby water body, such as the Assabet River, Taylor Brook, Second Division Brook, Pratt’s Brook, and Puffer’s Pond.
Clean water is necessary for drinking, swimming, fishing, boating, and for protecting wildlife. It is far less costly to prevent pollution to water bodies than it is to clean them up after the fact. Keeping stormwater clean not only benefits our neighborhood and community, but the entire network of water bodies and land that make up our watershed.
Stormwater runoff in Maynard flows through the Town’s storm drains to the Assabet River, Taylor Brook, Second Division Brook, Pratt’s Brook, and Puffer’s Pond. The land and water bodies of Maynard, combined with the land and water bodies from surrounding towns, make up the Sudbury-Assabet-Concord Watershed, or SuAsCo for short. The SuAsCo Watershed consists of a large network of tributaries that flow into the Merrimack River. The three major rivers that flow through the watershed – the Sudbury, the Assabet, and the Concord – have been recognized for their outstanding ecological, historical, and recreational values. The watershed is also home to the two largest wetlands in Central Massachusetts, the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge and the Great Cedar Swamp.
Maynard’s Stormwater Management Program
The Department of Public Works manages the Town’s storm drainage system, also known as a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). The Town is authorized to discharge stormwater through the Phase II National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Stormwater Discharges from Small MS4s in Massachusetts. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees the NPDES program. To comply with the permit, the Town must follow six Minimum Control Measures (MCMs):
- MCM 1. Public Education & Outreach: Provide educational material about stormwater to four audiences (residents, industry, commercial, and construction). The purpose of the educational material is to provide the targeted audience information about stormwater and how their actions may impact it.
- MCM 2. Public Participation: Provide an opportunity for the public to participate in the Town’s Stormwater Management Program (SWMP).
- MCM 3. Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination: Find and eliminate sources of non-stormwater discharges (e.g. sewage) from the storm sewer system. Part of this requirement includes development of a system wide storm sewer map.
- MCM 4. Management of Construction Site Runoff: Adopt an ordinance and procedures for site plan review as well as erosion and sediment control on construction sites that disturb one or more acres of land.
- MCM 5. Management of Post-Construction Site Runoff: Address stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopment projects that disturb one or more acres of land. The goal of this measure is to try to management stormwater where it falls and retain it on site. This control measure encourages the use of low impact design techniques and requires the retention or treatment of runoff on site using green infrastructure practices.
- MCM 6. Good Housekeeping in Municipal Operations: Implement good housekeeping practices in municipal operations such as vehicle maintenance, open space, buildings and infrastructure. The permit requires street sweeping twice per year, optimization of catch basin cleaning, and pollution prevention at the DPW Highway Garage.
Learn More About Maynard’s Program
- Maynard’s 2018 MS4 Annual Report
- Massachusetts Small MS4 General Permit (EPA resource)
- Maynard’s Stormwater Management Bylaws and Regulations
- Massachusetts Stormwater Handbook and Stormwater Standards
Please help keep our local waters clean!
Tips for keeping pollutants out of stormwater
- Never throw, pour, or sweep anything down storm drains. This includes litter, sand, leaves, pet waste, motor oil, or paint.
- Clear sand, leaves, litter, debris, and snow away from storm drains.
- Don’t litter.
- Recycle paper, plastic, cans, and bottles.
- Participate in a neighborhood cleanup.
- Maintain your car to prevent fluid leaks.
- Recycle used motor oil.
- Use fertilizers and other lawn chemicals sparingly.
- Pick up after your pet and dispose of the waste in the trash.
- Support community efforts to keep stormwater clean.
- Stormwater Matters – Scoop the Poop
- Stormwater Matters – Lawn Maintenance
- Stormwater Matters – Low Impact Development