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Stormwater FAQ
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STORMWATER MANAGEMENT


                              

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

1.  What is stormwater runoff?

2.  Why is stormwater runoff a problem?

3.  What are the effects of stormwater pollution

4.  What can I do to prevent stormwater pollution?

5.  What can I do if I notice inappropriate dumping into or foul odors emanating from storm drains?

6.  Why does Middleton have a Stormwater Management Bylaw?

7.  What kind of permits are necessary for construction?

8.  Are any construction projects exempt from the Stormwater Bylaw?

9.  How do I apply for a Stormwater Management Permit?


ANSWERS:

1.  What is stormwater runoff?
Stormwater runoff occurs when rain or snowmelt flows over the ground. Impervious surfaces like driveways, sidewalks and streets prevent stormwater from soaking into the ground.

2.  Why is stormwater runoff a problem?
As stormwater flows over driveways, lawns, streets and sidewalks it picks up debris, chemicals, dirt and other pollutants. Stormwater can flow into a storm sewer system or directly into a lake, stream, river or wetland. Anything that enters a storm sewer system is discharged untreated into the waterbodies we use for swimming, fishing, and providing drinking water. Polluted runoff is the nation’s greatest threat to clean water.

3.  What can I do to prevent stormwater pollution?
By practicing healthy household habits, homeowners can keep common pollutants like pesticides, pet waste, grass clippings, and automotive fluids off the ground and out of stormwater. Adopt these healthy household habits and help protect our lakes, streams, rivers and wetlands. Remember to share these habits with your neighbors!

4.  The Effects of Stormwater Pollution
• Sediment can cloud the water and make it difficult or impossible for aquatic plants to grow. Sediment can also destroy aquatic habitats.

• Excess nutrients can cause algae blooms. When algae die, they sink to the bottom and decompose in a process that removes oxygen from the water. Fish and other aquatic organisms cannot exist in water with low levels of dissolved oxygen.

• Bacteria and other pathogens can wash into swimming areas and create health hazards, often causing beach closures.

• Debris – plastic bags, six-pack rinks, bottles and cigarette butts – washed into waterways can choke, suffocate or disable aquatic life such as ducks, fish, turtles and birds.

• Household hazardous waste like insecticides, pesticides, paint, solvents, used motor oil, and other auto fluids can poison aquatic life. Land animals and people can become sick and die from eating diseased fish and shellfish or ingesting polluted water.

• Polluted stormwater often affects drinking water sources. This, in turn, can affect human health and increase drinking water treatment costs.

5.  What can I do if I notice inappropriate dumping into or foul odors emanating from storm drains?
Call the Department of Health at (978)777-1869.

6.  Why does Middleton have a Stormwater Management Bylaw?
The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Phase II program for the Clean Water Act mandated that all urbanized areas create a regulatory mechanism to control non-point source discharges into the nation’s waterways. Middleton passed its Stormwater Management Bylaw at the 2014 Annual Town Meeting to protect the environment through the control of stormwater discharges.

7.  What kind of permits are necessary for construction?
Middleton requires one of two types of permits; one, the Stormwater Permit (SMP), is for construction projects that disturb more than 20,000 sq. ft. and the second, the Simple Stormwater Permit (SSMP), is for projects smaller than 20,000 sq. ft. but larger than 600 sq. ft.

8.  Are any construction projects exempt from the Stormwater Bylaw?
For the full list of exemptions please refer to section 204-2.4 of the Stormwater Bylaw (click on link at top of page); however, a few of the exempted projects are:
1.  Maintenance of existing landscaping, gardens, driveways, roofs, or lawn areas.
2.  Repair or upgrade of septic systems when required by the Board of Health.
3.  Any construction project with an approved Stormwater Management Plan as part of a project under the jurisdiction of the Conservation Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, and/or Planning Board.

9.  How do I apply for a Stormwater Management Permit?
Applications are available online above (click on links at top of page) and at the DPW Building located at 195 North Main Street, Middleton, MA.  Any questions may be directed to the DPW Superintendent: Bob LaBossierre at (978) 777-0407.