Everyone contributes to stormwater pollution, and therefore everyone needs to be part of the solution. That means changing personal behaviors to keep our waterways clean as well as getting local residents to support investments in repairing aging and inadequate drain infrastructure when expenditures come before their town meeting or city council.
Across the state, including here in the Neponset Watershed, groups of communities have been organizing themselves into regional stormwater coalitions to share resources and help get the word out about how residents and businesses can help stop stormwater pollution—the most serious source of water pollution across the state.
For several years, these regional coalitions have been coming together to share resources and strategize at the statewide level under the auspices of the MA Statewide Municipal Stormwater Coalition. Now, with the help of a grant from the Mass Department of Environmental Protection they are going beyond strategizing and beginning to implement a new statewide outreach campaign.
The centerpiece of the effort has been running the “rubber duckie” video as an ad on social media outlets. The ad, with its cute duckies, helps get across the idea that stormdrains lead right to the nearest lake or stream, and when it rains, anything spilled on the street gets washed into our water. Your street may be a miles from the nearest waterway, but if it has stormdrains, you might as well be standing on the riverbank.
The new campaign, entitled “Think Blue Massachusetts” aims to create basic awareness of the stormwater problem, and to complement the education efforts of individual regional stormwater coalitions such as the Neponset Stormwater Partnership.
Ten cities and towns in our area are members of the Neponset Stormwater Partnership which is Coordinated by the Neponset River Watershed Association and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council. The towns include Canton, Dedham, Foxborough, Medfield, Milton, Norwood, Quincy, Sharon, Stoughton, and Westwood.
The Neponset Stormwater Partnership is focused on helping its communities deliver effective outreach and education to local residents as well as providing member communities with a wide variety of other tools, training and technical assistance, from helping to prioritize stormdrains that may have sewage cross-connections, to providing model stormwater bylaws that help ensure that development projects do not pollute local waterways or cause flooding.
Staff from the Watershed Association attend the statewide meetings on behalf of the Neponset Partnership, and helped to write the grant that is funding the rubber duckie video campaign, and are supervising other aspects of the statewide campaign as a member of the statewide Education Committee.
Learn more about the Neponset Stormwater Partnership and how you can stop polluted stormwater runoff at www.nepwater.org.
Ian Cooke, Executive Director, June 2018