Thursday, January 06, 2011

Important MA Stormwater Hearing January 12th CANCELED

The hearing I referenced in this blog is canceled due to the snow forecast for tomorrow. I will post the new details as soon as I get them. Thanks! JT

More than 60% of Narragansett Bay's watershed is located in Massachusetts, and according to USEPA Region 1, more than 60% of the pollution entering state waterways comes from polluted runoff, or stormwater.

Although we have collectively achieved dramatic improvements in wastewater treatment in Narragansett Bay in recent years, the problem of pollution running off of roads and paved surfaces during storms continues to pose a major threat to the health of Narragansett Bay and peoples' ability to use and enjoy it.

In November, EPA issued a draft general permit for small municipal seperate storm systems, or MS4s. These proposed permits would regulate dischargers in the coastal basins of Massachusetts, which include the Blackstone and Taunton River watersheds.

In general, we think the new draft permits represent a major improvement over the existing regulations which date back to 2003. While the details are important, and we will have substantive comments, EPA deserves our strong support for the draft permits, which will result in less pollution flowing into Narragansett Bay. We fully expect industry groups and some of the municipalities to push back.

Our Massachusetts-based partners, the Mass River Alliance, has a great website with simple fact sheets and background information on this issue and what you can do:

The public hearing is Jan. 12, 2011 from 11:30-2:00pm at the Leominster Public Library, 30 West Street, Leominster, MA 01453. (The hearing is preceded by a public meeting on the proposed permit from 10-11am at the same location.)

I encourage you to come, or submit comments to EPA by January 21st. Written comments should be e-mailed to Kate Renahan at, or sent via postal mail to Kate Renahan, U.S. EPA-Region 1, Office of the Regional Administrator, 5 Post Office Square-Suite 100, Mail Code-ORA01-1, Boston, MA 02109-3912


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