Merrimack Valley Planning Commission to Use $70,500 to Help Communities Meet Sewer Rules

File photograph. (Image licensed by Ingram Image.)

The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission is receiving $70,500 to help its member cities and towns meet existing and upcoming stormwater management requirements.

The Haverhill-based Commission said Tuesday it will develop an interactive web-based toolkit to help communities comply with federal Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System—MS4, for short—permit requirements.

“Through its Stormwater Collaborative, the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission has worked tirelessly to address the environmental and health concerns that come with stormwater which, when left untreated, often contains dangerous pollutants, and can contaminate water supplies,” said state Sen. Diana DiZoglio in a statement. “These important funds will go a long way in supporting the MVPC’s mission to protect our local natural resources.”

Besides Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, other projects selected by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection were Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, Metropolitan Area Planning Council and Charles River Watershed Association.

“This grant will go far in helping our region assemble the tools we need to meet our MS4 requirements,” said Haverhill state Rep. Andy X. Vargas. He thanked the Commission for “taking on the challenging, but critical work to reduce our stormwater pollution and create a heathier and safer environment for our residents.”

Gov. Charlie Baker said “These grants play a crucial role in helping communities meet stormwater standards and in educating the public about how they can play a role in reducing pollutants in our stormwater systems.”

There are more than 260 Massachusetts communities subject to the current MS4 permit, issued jointly by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and MassDEP, which took effect in 2018.

Permit requirements include creating public education programs, adopting more stringent local development rules, locating and removing pollutants that are illegally entering stormwater systems and installing stormwater management systems.

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