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DPW looking for assistance with stormwater permit program

Southwick DPW Director Randy Brown. (Photo courtesy of Greg Fitzpatrick)

SOUTHWICK – DPW Director Randy Brown discussed the stormwater permit program with the Select Board during their meeting last week.

The NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System) Stormwater Permit is mandated through the federal government but administered by the Massachusetts DEP (Department of Environmental Protection) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). The permit gives communities requirements to follow and complete with their stormwater plan.

Southwick has had a storm water permit since 2003 and the next permit will go into effect July 1, 2018. The difference is that the upcoming permit has more extensive and demanding requirements.

“The intent of the permit is to require communities to look at all aspects of their stormwater systems,” said Brown.  “This new permit takes it to the next level.”

Besides making sure both streets and catch basins are swept, this new permit also includes educational outreach, doing mapping for stormwater in town, and doing comprehensive field work.

Stormwater permits are a five-year program and there are certain requirements that have to be met each year. Brown is projecting that the program could cost approximately $1 million over the entire five years and he requested $120,000 of funding for the first year of the program.

At the meeting last week, the Select Board decided that they wouldn’t accept Brown’s request for $120,000 for the program. Instead, the town has put in $25,000 as well as allow a part-time position for the summer.

Select Board Clerk Russ Fox explained why the board has decided not to fund $120,000, pointing out the high expense of the program.

“It’s not like we’re ignoring this,” said Fox. “We’re taking actions, but we’re taking actions that we can afford to take.”

Fox added that the board will look at any grant opportunities or other options that could help Brown with completing the program.

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