Cooperative GIS Mapping for Massachusetts Communities and the MassDOT

Authors: Zoe Mahoney; Christian Chadwick; Fernand Gay

Advisor: Paul Mathisen

Category: Undergraduate

Stormwater runoff is a leading cause of pollution contributing to several public health, environmental, and economic issues. As the world’s population continues to grow, urbanize, and demand more resources, stormwater runoff is bound to increase due to the abundance of impervious surfaces. Therefore, it is important to understand where stormwater infrastructure is located and where stormwater is collected and discharged to help mitigate illicit discharges. As part of stormwater runoff regulation in Massachusetts, municipalities are required to map their stormwater sewer systems. The current regulation in Massachusetts is called the 2016 Small MS4 General Permit. Unfortunately, stormwater regulation for small MS4s is a federally unfunded mandate which leaves most municipalities scrambling to find the time, resources, and qualified individuals needed to map their infrastructure. Municipalities currently face the challenge of mapping interconnections between local and state-owned properties such as highways managed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, that run through their municipalities. This makes it difficult to determine where stormwater runoff is collecting in certain areas, as well as how that stormwater is being managed. Using a case study approach, recommendations have been developed to facilitate the collaboration between Central Massachusetts municipalities and the MassDOT in regards to their geospatial data associated with mapping stormwater sewer systems.

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