It is well known that water resources such as wastewater, drinking water and recreational waters have been regulated for years at all levels of government.  Stormwater is a regulated water resource which many are unaware of, but is just as important to preserving clean water.  The Acton Land Use Department takes an active role in public outreach and compliance with the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s, National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Phase II Permit.  If not managed properly, stormwater can have a disruptive impact on the environment and the economy. 

What is Stormwater?

Stormwater is water which runs off of impervious surfaces such as rooftops, driveways and roadways during and after a storm.  This water enters into the Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4), which ultimately ends up in the Waters of the Commonwealth.

Why Should I Care About Stormwater?

If proper stormwater management isn’t practiced, pollutants such as dog waste, fertilizer, trash, and motor vehicle fluids can be picked up by stormwater and carried into wetlands, waterbodies and into the groundwater.  This water is used every day for drinking, bathing, cooking, fishing and swimming.  Not to mention these waterbodies are the home to many fish and wildlife. 

Good Stormwater Management Practices:

  • Minimize fertilizer use
  • Pick up after pets
  • Wash your car at a car wash
  • Keep your car well maintained to prevent leaks
  • Never put anything down a storm drain and clean debris away from storm drains so they can function as designed
  • Do not litter

Benefits of Proper Stormwater Management:

  • Protects fish and wildlife
  • Minimize eutrophication
  • Protects human health
  • Lower cost of treating water for human consumption
  • Increased property values near bodies of water
  • Protects recreational waters such as lakes and oceans

What is the Town doing about stormwater?

The Town of Acton has two bylaws which address stormwater management:

Chapter U: Chapter U was adopted by Town Meeting in 2010 to help prevent pollutants and illicit discharges into the Town of Acton’s Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4).  This bylaw is critical to keeping the towns waterways clean.

Chapter X: Chapter X was adopted by Town Meeting in 2015 to regulate development in regards to stormwater management practices.  Development can severely impact the town’s waterways if stormwater management is not addressed.

Click here to review Chapter X Land Disturbance Permits

The Town of Acton filed a Notice of Intent (NOI) under the EPA’s 2016 MS4 general permit.  The Stormwater Management Program Plan (SWMP) was created in response to the NOI.

Click here to review Town of Acton’s MS4 Annual Reports

Acton Asset Management Plan 

The Town of Acton contracted Woodard & Curran Inc. to develop a Stormwater Drainage System Asset Management Plan (AMP) including a culvert condition assessment, storm drain infrastructure assessment, detention basin assessment, and a climate impact assessment. This AMP includes a prioritization of each infrastructure type with recommendations to combat aging infrastructure and climate change vulnerabilities. In addition to identifying future projects to address climate change concerns in Town, this AMP considers ongoing work related to the Town's Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) Permit compliance program and align the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) with compliance obligations and future water quality needs. The results of the assessments, survey, and strategy are described throughout this plan. 

Click here to review the full AMP report

Helpful links:

Stormwater 101 Video