Merrimack Valley Planning Commission Wins Grant to Help Towns Meet Stormwater Rules

The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission is one of five regional organizations in the state to receive a state grant to help communities meet stormwater management requirements.

The Haverhill-based Commission received $65,000 after being selected by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. It will work with Greenscapes North Shore Coalition, which includes the Ipswich River Watershed Association and Salem Sound Coastwatch, to conduct a local code review for 29 towns and cities. The grants allow communities to expand their efforts to meet permit requirements for the municipal segregated storm sewer system, known as MS4, and reduce stormwater pollution through resource sharing.

“Proper stormwater management is crucial in our administration’s efforts to protect and improve water quality throughout Massachusetts,” Governor Charlie Baker said. “By partnering with these stormwater coalitions, we are able to achieve mutually shared goals that directly benefit both the public and the environment.

The Planning Commission’s draft will determine how ‘impermeable cover’, such as streets, sidewalks, parking lots and other covered surfaces, can be reduced and low-impact development can be encouraged in development projects. The cover prevents rainwater from naturally recharging the water table.

The project will also oversee the development of a mobile application that enables uniform data collection during site inspections.

Besides the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, other grants awarded are the Statewide Stormwater Coalition, Charles River Watershed Association, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and Mystic River Watershed Association.

Federal permit requirements include developing and implementing public education programs; enacting stricter local development rules; locate and remove pollutants that illegally enter stormwater systems; and the installation of stormwater management systems.

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