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MassDEP: Developing Stormwater Management Educational Materials

Screen Shot 2016-06-09 at 4.20.43 PMProject Sponsors

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP)

The MassDEP is a state environmental agency that is responsible for maintaining a clean and safe environment. Also, the MassDEP is the liaison between the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) and the municipalities in Massachusetts. MassDEP website on stormwater

Central Massachusetts Regional Stormwater Coalition (CMRSWC)


 The CMRSWC is a coalition of 31 municipalities in the central Massachusetts area that works together to address stormwater management issues. Most of the member communities are required to comply with the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) permit, issued by the USEPA, which was established to protect water quality by reducing stormwater pollution from MS4s. The coalition helps its members share resources in order to better comply with the MS4 permits. CMRSWC website

The Town of Holden Department of Public Works (DPW)

Student Researchers

Geneva Cabral, Civil Engineering

Zixin Luo, Computer Science

Nicholas Rowles, Electrical and Computer Engineering

Project Description

Stormwater runoff is the leading cause of water pollution in the United States. On May 1, 2003, the USEPA issued the 2003 Small MS4 permit that covers towns’ and cities’ MS4 operations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire to address stormwater runoff problem. Some municipalities in central Massachusetts found it hard to fully implement the requirements in the permit due to lack of understanding and limited resources. On April 4, 2016, the 2016 Massachusetts Small MS4 General permit was signed. The 2016 permit will become effective on July 1, 2017. With changes in the new MS4 permit, the municipalities in central Massachusetts are seeking help to comply with the additional guidelines. Our team aimed to help central Massachusetts municipalities eliminate stormwater pollution and comply with the 2016 permit by developing stormwater management educational materials for municipal officials. It is our hope that the educational materials will help central Massachusetts municipalities to better comply with the 2016 MS4 permit step by step.

MS4 Compliance Guideline

This document the MS4 Compliance Guideline (Guideline) presents a simple, step-by-step approach on what individual towns must do to comply with the 2016 Massachusetts Small MS4 General Permit. The Guideline breaks down the permit into lists of individual requirements and provides a timeline of when requirements must be met.

Please Click the Link below to download the MS4 Compliance Guideline that our team created for  central Massachusetts Municipalities.

MS4 Compliance Guideline

Project Goal and Objectives

The goal of our project, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), the Central Massachusetts Regional Stormwater Coalition (CMRSWC or the Coalition), and the town of Holden, was to assist central Massachusetts municipalities in complying with the 2016 Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit by developing a step-by-step compliance guideline on the first, second, and sixth minimum control measures. We also worked with the town of Holden to develop a public outreach and education video that could be duplicated by other municipalities. To achieve our goal, we completed the following five objectives:

Objective 1: Identify changes between the 2003 and 2016 MS4 permit;

EPA Offices, Washington DC
EPA Offices

Objective 2: Identify areas of the permit that municipalities in other states, including Connecticut, New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Rhode Island have struggled with, and areas that central Massachusetts municipalities anticipate struggling with;

Objective 3: Identify how other states have educated municipalities about MS4 permit requirements and determine most appropriate educational method for central Massachusetts municipalities;

Objective 4: Develop educational materials using findings from objectives 2 and 3; and

Objective 5: Create and document the process of creating a video for the Town of Holden residents about stormwater runoff to help comply with the “Public Education and Outreach” minimum control measure.

Project Video

Final Report

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