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Baker-Polito Administration Awards Nearly $755k in Grants for Water Supply Protection Projects

Charlie BakerBOSTON –The Baker-Polito Administration today awarded nearly $755,000 in grants to help 12 communities with projects designed to meet water supply needs and ensure healthy water bodies.

The funding is provided through the Sustainable Water Management Initiative (SWMI) Grant Program. This program is designed to assist eligible public water suppliers and municipalities with Water Management Act permits by providing funds for planning assistance, demand management and withdrawal impact mitigation projects. This grant announcement is the third round of funding made available to communities over the past several years.

“Clean and reliable water sources are vital to our municipalities and key to long-term planning for future growth and economic development,” said Governor Charles Baker. “These local efforts will enhance water supplies across the Commonwealth and assist in the restoration and preservation of our natural resources.”

“Governor Baker and I are committed to seeing the local economies of our cities and towns thrive,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, “and the release of these grants will increase their ability to meet the growing demands for clean water in every corner of Massachusetts.”

“The Commonwealth’s Water Management Act Program is designed to ensure cities and towns across the state have ample water for the public’s health and safety, while carefully balancing the needs of the environment,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew A. Beaton. “These grants offer opportunities for communities to put additional best management practices and conservation measures into place so that impacts to the environment are reduced.”

“The Commonwealth is committed to helping municipalities comply with some of the nation’s strongest environmental regulations,” said Commissioner Martin Suuberg of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). “This grant program provides funds to municipalities and public water systems that have permits to withdraw water from wells, lakes and streams across the state. These projects will identify ways we can use our water more efficiently, better manage stormwater, manage and protect important resource areas and mitigate for increasing demands.”

The following grants were awarded:

  • Auburn: Stormwater Improvements – $74,100
  • Franklin: Stormwater Improvements – $119,000
  • Halifax: Electronic Control Feasibility – $57,450
  • Kingston: Stormwater Improvements – $43,000
  • Lincoln: Minimization and Mitigation Planning – $59,900
  • Littleton: Demand Management – $47,542
  • Medway: Targeted Leak Detection – $14,566
  • Norwell: Third Herring Brook Improvements – $59,910
  • Shrewsbury: Alternate Water Supply Study – $29,029
  • Westborough: Minimization and Basin-Wide Training – $73,052
  • Westford: Demand Management, Rebates and Municipal Retrofits – $78,942
  • Wrentham: Permitting Tools – $98,316

“I am glad to see important programs continued that provide municipalities with resources that are used to protect and enhance environmentally sensitive areas,” said Senator Anne Gobi, Senate Chairman of the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture.

The 12 projects selected will focus on specific watersheds, or sub-watersheds, where the implementation will help to minimize and mitigate potentially negative impacts on the ecological conditions from existing or proposed water withdrawals. These projects also focus on demand management and improve the efficiency of water-use within a given municipality or sub-watershed. 

The projects also fit into one or more of the following categories: improvements to in-stream flow; wastewater projects that keep water local and include reductions from stormwater infiltration into sewers; improvements to the re-charge of groundwater; reductions in impervious cover; water supply operational improvements; habitat improvement; and, other projects that demonstrate a way to minimize or mitigate the impacts of existing or proposed water withdrawals.

In addition, MassDEP is issuing a Request for Responses for a new grant program to assist local communities with planning for their water infrastructure. This program, which resulted from new water legislation passed in 2014, will provide grants of up to $30,000 to subsidize Comprehensive Wastewater Management Plans, Integrated Asset Management Plans and Green Infrastructure Plans. Further details on this program, including how to apply for funding, can be found here: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/water/grants/planning-and-technical-assistance-grants.html

For more details on the selected SWMI grant projects, turn to: http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/water/watersheds/sustainable-water-management-initiative-swmi.html.

For more information on the SWMI framework and water withdrawals under the Water Management Act, turn to: www.mass.gov/eea/swm.

MassDEP is responsible for ensuring clean air and water, safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes, timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills and the preservation of wetlands and coastal resources.

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover, Massachusetts. He is an author, host of the Paying Attention TV/Radio Program, lectures on media bias and police issues, is a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, and a 1990 Police Survivor. You can email your comments to valleypatriot@aol.com.

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