Stormwater Bylaws and Regulations
At the 2007 Annual Fall Town Meeting, the town voted to adopt the two proposed stormwater bylaws; Article XXV - Stormwater Management Bylaw, and Article XXVI - Bylaw Governing Discharges to MS4. Here is a summary of these new local laws and what they mean to you.
Bylaw Governing Discharges to the Municipal Storm Drain
This bylaw makes it illegal to put pollution such as pet waste, water from laundry, motor oil, antifreeze and other chemicals, paint, leaves, soapy water, and litter / trash into the storm drain or into water bodies.
This bylaw helps the town protect the health and safety of our residents, provide cleaner water for drinking and recreation, and preserve the aesthetic value of the community.
Most everyday activities are still allowed. These activities include landscaping irrigation, lawn watering, individual residential car washing, and draining de-chlorinated swimming pools. It is even acceptable for your sump pump to discharge uncontaminated groundwater to the storm drain (but not to the sanitary sewer).
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!
If you suspect someone is putting pollution into the storm drain system or into water bodies, call the Billerica Board of Health at 978-671-0931.
Stormwater Management Bylaw
Land development and land use conversion often transform the natural landscape from forests and fields into areas of impervious cover, permanently altering the natural cycling of water and increasing stormwater runoff and the potential for sand, oil, and other pollution to flow to rivers, streams, and lakes.
Impervious areas are hard surfaces such as rooftops, driveways, streets, and parking lots. Increased runoff often increases flooding, stream channel erosion, and sediment transport, and decreases groundwater recharge.
Impacts & Effects on the Environment
The impacts of construction site and post-development stormwater runoff can adversely affect public safety, public and private property, surface water, drinking water supplies, groundwater resources, recreation, aquatic habitats, and other uses of lands and water bodies.
Many of these negative effects can be controlled through careful site planning and the application of both structural and nonstructural stormwater Best Management Practices (BMPs).
The Stormwater Management Bylaw regulates post-construction stormwater runoff for both new and redevelopment projects, erosion and sediment control, and stormwater runoff for construction sites. This bylaw and the associated Board of Health Rules & Regulations minimize damage to public and private property and infrastructure, safeguard public health and safety, and protect water and aquatic resources and the environment.
The updated Regulations are not intended to limit new development projects, rather, they set clear stormwater management goals, standards, and design criteria to reduce the negative impacts of development and construction projects. The Regulations are available on the Board of Health webpage.