During the Sept. 12 meeting of the MMA Policy Committee on Energy and the Environment, Terry Reed, senior stormwater and environmental engineer in Framingham, discusses the new Think Blue campaign.

The Massachusetts Statewide Municipal Stormwater Coalition on Oct. 5 will officially launch a statewide campaign to increase awareness about the harmful effects of stormwater pollution on our state’s waterways.

With the launch of the Think Blue Massachusetts campaign, the coalition aims to help residents and businesses reduce pollutants in stormwater runoff and maintain the quality of Massachusetts lakes, rivers and streams.

“There is a lack of understanding statewide about what stormwater runoff is and where it goes,” said Charlton Town Administrator Robin Craver, who serves as chair of the stormwater coalition. “Further, cities and towns now have state and federal mandates requiring them to mitigate pollution from stormwater. A successful education campaign helps residents and elected officials understand the importance of funding these programs.”

The coalition formed in 2016 to help cities and towns meet the requirements of the new Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems permit. The MS4 permit requires municipalities to implement an education program about stormwater issues of significance for residents, businesses, developers and industrial facilities. Over the five-year permit term, municipalities must distribute two educational messages, at least one year apart, to the four different audiences.

Using a yellow rubber ducky as its campaign mascot, Think Blue aims to educate the public about proper disposal of pet waste, lawn chemicals and construction debris that too often pollute Massachusetts waterways.

“The mascot is a recognizable icon that has been used in other states and produced a measured positive behavior change toward stormwater issues,” Craver said.

The statewide coalition comprises 10 regional stormwater groups representing 130 municipalities across Massachusetts. With the help of a $200,000 grant from the Department of Environmental Protection, the coalition has prepared extensive print and digital educational materials that municipalities can use or adapt to meet the educational requirement under the MS4 permit.

“The coalition is committed to creating open source materials that can be used by municipalities to meet their MS4 requirement with minimal effort,” Craver said. “We believe in creating it once and using it many times.

“We would like to thank DEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg for his support for the project.”

Think Blue will be holding a kick-off event on Friday, Oct. 5, 10-11:30 a.m., at the Joseph H. Gibbons Elementary School, 235 Morton St. in Stoughton.

For more information, visit thinkbluemassachusetts.org.

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