Statewide coalition forms to share stormwater resources

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Regional stormwater coalitions have recently joined forces to form the Statewide Municipal Stormwater Coalition.
 
The group held its fourth meeting on Sept. 27, where members heard an update on issues related to stormwater, discussed next steps for the group, and were visited by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, who discussed the administration’s commitment to helping cities and towns meet the requirements of the MS4 stormwater permit.
 
Stormwater coalitions can provide resources and information to communities that must meet the requirements of the recently released general permit for Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems, known as the MS4 permit, from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The permit will regulate stormwater discharges in more than 250 municipalities.
 
The Statewide Municipal Stormwater Coalition will allow regional coalitions to share cost information, technical products, field procedures, public education tools, documentation, and training opportunities. The members believe that working together can reduce redundancy and make operations more efficient for communities that must meet the permit requirements. The group will also have a collective voice to weigh in on legislative and regulatory issues.
 
The regional coalitions, meanwhile, can seek funding for regional projects.
 
Regional coalitions that have gotten involved in the statewide group so far are the Central Massachusetts Regional Stormwater Coalition, the Connecticut River Stormwater Collaborative (Pioneer Valley Planning Commission), the Northern Middlesex Stormwater Collaborative, the Neponset Stormwater Partnership, the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, and the Southeast Regional Services Collaborative’s Stormwater Group. This group includes 94 municipalities.
 
The Statewide Municipal Stormwater Coalition is currently working to define its mission and goals, identify a coordinator, create a structure for the group, and help develop more regional stormwater coalitions.
 
The Statewide Municipal Stormwater Coalition, in conjunction with the Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission, recently received a grant for $50,000 through the Department of Environmental Protection to provide assistance with forming and creating a framework for the statewide coalition, help the regional coalitions identify and share best practices, and allow for the creation of additional material and resources to help municipalities. The CMRPC will take on the administrative role of reporting to the DEP on the use of grant funds.
 
The Central Massachusetts Regional Stormwater Coalition also received a $50,000 grant from the DEP in 2016 that will allow the coalition to produce public education tools and workshops for municipal officials.
 
The Central Massachusetts Regional Stormwater Coalition held an MS4 Training Workshop and Vendor Fair on Oct. 28 in Millbury. The workshop was aimed at public works professionals, stormwater coordinators, and other municipal staff responsible for the Phase II Stormwater Permit Minimum Control Measures 3, 4, 5 and 6. The coalition has a toolbox of informational videos on its website (http://centralmastormwater.org) to assist those who will be working on issues related to stormwater.
 
Charlton Town Administrator Robin Craver was chosen as the chair of the Statewide Municipal Stormwater Coalition. She is also the chair of the MMA’s Policy Committee on Energy and the Environment.
 
Municipal officials who have questions or are seeking resources related to stormwater are urged to contact the statewide coalition or reach out to their regional coalition.
 
For the Statewide Municipal Stormwater Coalition, municipal officials may contact Robin Craver at robin.craver@townofcharlton.net or (508) 248-2206 or Danielle Mucciarone at the Central Mass Regional Planning Commission at dmucciarone@cmrpc.org or (508) 459-3318.
 
Resources on stormwater are also available through the National Association of Clean Water Agencies’ National Stormwater Advocacy Network (www.nacwa.org) and the National Municipal Stormwater Alliance (http://nationalstormwateralliance.org).