The National Municipal Stormwater Alliance recently announced November 16, 2023, as National Stormwater Day.
On this day in 1990, the Federal Register announced the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase 1 Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). Thank goodness for acronyms!
The first MS4 permit was released in 2003, and like some permits, it wasn’t being taken too seriously. However, fast forward ten years to 2013, and NepRWA was determined to get the towns focused on an updated permit.
With the help of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, who assisted with outreach to towns within the Watershed and grant funding through MAPC and the Community Innovation Challenge (CIC) grant, NepRWA was able to establish the “Neponset Valley Regional Stormwater Collaborative,” now known as the “Neponset Stormwater Partnership.” (Since we love acronyms so much, we usually just call it “NSP.”)
NSP is a regional cooperative and resource-sharing program in the Neponset River Watershed that was formed to help reduce pollution entering our waterways through stormwater runoff.
Current partners include Avon, Canton, Dedham, Foxborough, Medfield, Milton, Norwood, Quincy, Randolph, Sharon, Stoughton, Walpole, and Westwood, along with MAPC.
One of the key permit requirements is public education and outreach. The NSP helps coordinate regional messaging and supports partners in their outreach efforts including, but not limited to:
- Conducting Water Quality Monitoring from May to October each year, and hosting educational programing for residents
- Educating the public about strategies to manage stormwater that mimic natural processes (also known as nature-based solutions or green infrastructure)
- Convening quarterly peer learning opportunities
- Development and implementation of an elementary education program covering stormwater pollution, water conservation and climate change delivered to 5th graders in most partner towns
- Social media outreach on key pollution prevention topics
- Regional educational materials distributed through most partner towns
- Tailored stormwater management tips and information for residents, as well as business, commercial, institutional, and industrial properties
- Technical assistance to keep local stormwater management regulations updated, and
- Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) training to help towns identify and get rid of polluted discharges to local streams.
Polluted stormwater happens when bacteria, chemicals, and trash get washed into storm drains from impervious surfaces, like streets, driveways, parking lots; industrial sites, and construction sites.
After the polluted runoff enters our storm drains, it empties — untreated — into local streams and ponds and affects our drinking water resources, swimming, boating, fishing, wildlife, and fish habitats.
There are plenty of ways you can help reduce the polluted stormwater runoff that enters the Neponset River. Simple actions can have a big effect: pick up dog waste, regularly maintain septic system, avoid the use of fertilizers, rake leaves away from storm drains, etc.
For more information about NSP and stormwater prevention, visit www.yourcleanwater.org