Stormwater Bylaw & Regulations
At its meeting on May 17, 2021, the Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend adoption of the Stormwater Management bylaw at Annual Town Meeting 2021. Since 2018, the Town of Pepperell has been required to implement specific policies and procedures to help reduce pollution in local waterbodies to comply with the NPDES stormwater program under the Small Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) General Permit. The Small MS4 General Permit requires communities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to protect local lakes, ponds, and streams from pollution that runs off the land surface during rainstorms and snowmelt (known as stormwater) or otherwise enters the storm drain system. Typical pollutants in stormwater are trash, oil, fertilizers, sediment, sand, and bacteria.
To remain in compliance with General Permit requirements, the Town of Pepperell has developed a new General Bylaw, Stormwater Management. This Bylaw is based on a model bylaw developed by the Northern Middlesex Stormwater Collaborative. This Bylaw seeks to achieve two goals: 1) Prohibit pollution discharged to the storm drains. The Stormwater Management Bylaw will make it illegal to discharge or dump pollutants into the storm drain system, promoting cleaner waters now and into the future. It will give the Town a tool to protect the health and safety of the residents and promote cleaner water for drinking, recreation, and the aesthetic value it provides to the community. 2) Manage stormwater from development and redevelopment projects. 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 waters. However, 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 provides reasonable control of stormwater runoff quantity and quality. It will require a land disturbance permit for both new and redevelopment projects with disturbance of one or more acres of land, and erosion and sediment control and stormwater runoff for construction sites. Certain activities such as agricultural activities and maintenance of landscaping, gardens and lawns for single family residences are exempt. The Planning Board will serve as the permit granting authority. The proposed Bylaw is not intended to limit new development projects. Instead, the Bylaw sets clear stormwater management goals, standards, and design criteria to reduce the impacts of development and construction projects on local water resources.