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Phase II MS4 Permit: Improving Central Massachusetts Stormwater Management

Welcome to the homepage of the Central Massachusetts Stormwater Management Project!

We are a group of Worcester Polytechnic Institute students working with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to examine the issue of stormwater runoff throughout Central Massachusetts. To learn more about the MassDEP, visit the About Our Sponsor page.

Our Team From left to right: Vanessa Gorton, Andrew Botelho, Vinay Pai. 

Our team members include Andrew Botelho, a Computer Science major; Vinay Pai, a Chemical Engineering major; and Vanessa Gorton. a Biomedical Engineering major. To learn more about our team members, visit our Meet The Team page.

The leading cause of pollution in water bodies across the United States is stormwater runoff – water from rain or melting snow that flows over the land as opposed to infiltrating into the ground. On the way, the water can pick up pollutants such as pesticides, soaps, and cigarette butts. This contaminated water then flows directly into storm drains that discharge into local bodies of water. The water body is then polluted, which can degrade water quality and harm aquatic life. Pollution through stormwater runoff is a common occurrence and can affect local water bodies that residents depend on. Managing stormwater runoff is difficult because pollutants can originate from many different sources including soaps from washing a car, fertilizers used for lawns, or litter on streets and sidewalks.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issues permits to municipalities throughout Massachusetts to regulate management of their Municipal Separate Stormwater Sewer Systems (MS4s). An MS4 is a municipality’s sewer system that directs the flow of stormwater runoff directly into larger water bodies. Due to the pollution that can be found in stormwater runoff, improperly managed MS4s can be detrimental to aquatic ecosystems.

In conjunction with the MassDEP, we are working with three municipalities within Central Massachusetts, including: Upton, Holden, and Auburn. Our role is to assist in the management of their stormwater mitigation programs in order to increase compliance with the MS4 permit. We are looking forward to learning more about the issue of stormwater runoff from municipal officials while helping to improve their stormwater management programs.

Our team will be utilizing this webpage to describe our experiences throughout the duration of the term.  Keep updated by reading our blog, located on our Snapshots page.

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