Billerica’s Stormwater Program
Billerica has been regulated by the EPA’s National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permits for Stormwater Discharges from Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4s) in Massachusetts since 2003. The most recent General Permit went into effect in 2018 and regulates the discharge of stormwater runoff that is transported through municipal drainage systems into local waterbodies. The General Permit includes six Minimum Control Measures (MCMs):
- MCM 1: Public Education and Outreach
- MCM 2: Public Involvement and Participation
- MCM 3: Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) Program
- MCM 4: Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control
- MCM 5: Post-Construction Stormwater Management in New and Redevelopment
- MCM 6: Municipal Good Housekeeping and Pollution Prevention
The Town of Billerica must implement specific policies and procedures for each MCM to help reduce pollution in local waterbodies. The Town has developed a comprehensive Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) that describes the Town’s status of compliance with the General Permit requirements, a summary of waterbodies within Town that receive stormwater discharges, and best management practices (BMPs) the Town will implement to address the six MCMs. Billerica’s SWMP and other stormwater management documents are available on the Documentation webpage. This document summarizes additional ongoing stormwater management activities in Billerica.
The Town’s Annual Reports under the General Permit must be submitted to EPA and MassDEP by September 28th each year. They summarize the stormwater management activities completed by the Town between July 1st and June 30th. A copy of the most recent report is available for viewing here or on the Documentation webpage. All Annual Reports will be posted by the EPA at their webpage of regulated communities. EPA also maintains an archive of the Annual Reports from 2003 to 2018.
The following is a description of Billerica’s stormwater management efforts under each minimum control measure.
MCM 1: Public Education and Outreach
Billerica has a public education program that extends to multiple audiences, including residents, businesses, schools, developers, and industry. The Town posts information about stormwater management, pollution prevention, and other best practices online and at public meetings, in the Town’s annual drinking water quality report, and at municipal buildings.
The Stormwater Management webpage contains extensive information on the Town’s stormwater program including links to the Town’s stormwater bylaws and regulations, SWMP, educational topics regarding illicit discharges to the storm drain network and pollution prevention (including proper lawn care, pet waste management, and automobile maintenance), and other stormwater-related documents. Additional stormwater-related messages are also provided on the Public Education and FAQs webpage.
MCM 2: Public Involvement and Participation
The Town provides opportunities for residents and the public to participate in and provide feedback on the stormwater program. In addition to public board and committee meetings where stormwater topics are discussed, Billerica DPW holds multiple household hazardous waste (HHW) drop-off events and waste oil drop-off days to help residents properly dispose of waste. See the Current Work webpage for more information on public engagement events.
Billerica hosts an annual “Clean Up, Green Up” event where hundreds of volunteers help clean up curbside debris throughout Town and the DPW collects and disposes of the trash. OARS, a local organization whose mission is to protect, improve and preserve the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Rivers and their watersheds, holds annual river cleanups along the Concord River, where volunteers help remove trash and debris from the watershed. The Town’s yard waste collection program in the spring and fall also helps protect local waters by reducing the amount of leaves and branches dumped into streams, wetlands, and tributaries to the Concord River and Shawsheen River.
Billerica partners with the Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project to restore and maintain wetlands, streams, roadside ditches, and culverts. Efforts also included insertion of larvicides into Town catch basins.
MCM 3: Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE) Program
A written IDDE Plan has been developed to summarize the ongoing IDDE Program, as required by the General Permit. Article XXVI of the Town’s General By-laws, “Discharges to the Municipal Storm Sewer System," was adopted in 2007 to regulate illegal discharges, connections, and dumping to the Town’s drainage system. More information about this bylaw can be found at the Town’s Stormwater Bylaws webpage.
The Town has completed inspections of Town-owned outfalls, storm drains, and drain manholes as part of the IDDE Program implementation. An online map of the drainage system is maintained, which is used during IDDE field work and to track progress of the IDDE and municipal good housekeeping programs.
MCM 4: Construction Site Stormwater Runoff Control &
MCM 5: Post-Construction Stormwater Management in New and Redevelopment
Article XXV of the Town’s General By-laws, “Stormwater Management By-Law," was adopted in 2007 to regulate construction site and post-construction runoff for activities impacting an acre or more. Associated Stormwater Management Regulations were adopted by the Board of Health in 2010 and updated in 2022 to meet the General Permit requirements for construction and post-construction stormwater management. More information about this bylaw can be found at the Town’s Stormwater Bylaws webpage.
MCM 6: Municipal Good Housekeeping and Pollution Prevention
Billerica’s routine municipal operations, including street sweeping, catch basin cleaning, drainage system maintenance, winter snow removal, and maintenance of Town-owned properties, facilities, and equipment, help keep pollution out of local rivers and ponds. The amount of sediment removed from catch basins and during street sweeping is monitored as those activities take place. A site-specific Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan has also been developed for the DPW Garage to ensure municipal operations at the Garage do not contribute to stormwater pollution.
Additionally, the Town is a member of the Northern Middlesex Stormwater Collaborative (NMSC) run by the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments (NMCOG), whose goal is to effectively manage stormwater and improve water quality, while engaging in resource sharing among towns in the Northern Middlesex region of MA. NMSC’s website has great stormwater management information for residents, businesses, teachers, and kids. NMSC also participates in the Think Blue Massachusetts educational advertisement campaign, which published a “Fowl Water” video on social media to educate the public about stormwater runoff and pollution.
Remember, stormwater is not treated at the wastewater treatment plant. Any pollution that is washed into the storm drain ends up in Billerica’s lakes and streams!