Stormwater is the water that runs off the land surface when it rains or when snow melts. It enters the Town's storm drain system and is conveyed directly to local lakes, streams, and wetlands. Stormwater runoff from natural (vegetated) land is typically low since most rain or snow melt infiltrates into the ground or is lost to evaporation. Impervious surfaces like streets, parking lots, and rooftops prevent stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground and create extra runoff.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) nationally regulates the discharge of stormwater runoff that is transported through municipal drainage systems into local waterbodies through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) stormwater program. Under this program, the Town of Pepperell must address the EPA’s six Minimum Control Measures to help reduce pollution in local waterbodies. The Town of Pepperell is newly regulated under this program as of July 2018 and must implement specific policies and procedures under each MCM. The program also includes requirements to address specific pollutants found in stormwater for receiving waters that are not meeting water quality goals or designated uses (e.g., fishable, swimmable) under the Clean Water Act. In Pepperell, this means reducing the levels of total phosphorus in stormwater runoff in the Nashua River watershed. Sources of phosphorus can include septic systems, animal wastes, soil erosion, leaf litter and yard waste, detergents, and runoff from farmland or fertilized lawns.
Clean Water Begins With You
The Town of Pepperell will be creating a Stormwater Management Master Plan to proactively manage the runoff from rain storms and snow melt (known as "stormwater"). Much of this runoff is carried by drain pipes, which were designed to quickly move the water off the land surface to nearby streams, ponds and wetlands with little or no treatment. On its way over the land, this runoff picks up pollution such as oil, fertilizers, pesticides, salt and pet wastes. This stormwater pollution also gets absorbed into the ground where it travels to the wells that supply our drinking water. We treasure living, working and playing in the scenic landscape of Pepperell. Together we can protect the quality of our lakes and ponds and maintain clean drinking water.