Burlington-Massachusetts Towns Team Up to Take on Pollution

Towns and cities across Massachusetts are supporting the Think Blue Massachusetts campaign, a statewide educational campaign to help residents and businesses do their part to reduce polluted runoff and keep our lakes, rivers, and streams clean and healthy.

“When rain or melting snow sweeps trash or chemicals off roads and parking lots, that’s stormwater pollution,” said Robin Craver, Town Administrator for the Town of Charlton and Chair of the Massachusetts Statewide Municipal Stormwater Coalition. “It’s the fastest growing type of water pollution in Massachusetts, and we are coming together to help residents and businesses do their part to control it.”

Even a modest rain storm can cause a lot of pollution to reach the state’s waterways. For example, just one inch of rain falling on a 2,000 square foot roof will produce 1,250 gallons of stormwater — as much volume as 22 chemical drums. That’s bad news for our water supplies and outdoor activities — and also for the fish and wildlife that live in brooks, rivers, and lakes.

“The good news is that there are simple, voluntary steps that residents and businesses can take to prevent stormwater pollution,” said Kerry Reed with the City of Framingham Department of Public Works and the public education chairperson for the statewide coalition. “That’s where Think Blue Massachusetts comes in.”

The campaign launched with digital advertising in June, reaching almost 2 million Massachusetts residents with a clever video featuring cute rubber duckies that show stormwater’s journey from yards and roads to local waterways. Using pre- and post-campaign surveys, the campaign measured a 14% increase in understanding of how stormwater starts, and a 12% increase in where stormwater goes.

Participating towns and cities will follow up through 2018 and 2019 by circulating educational messages about stormwater through their local press, social media, and by distributing literature at their offices and public events, such as Earth Day.  This campaign will help towns and cities meet requirements of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit, an unfunded mandate from the EPA that went into effect on July 1, 2018.

Think Blue Massachusetts is run by the Massachusetts Statewide Municipal Stormwater Coalition, a steering committee of ten regional stormwater groups. These groups came together in 2016 to help towns and cities meet their federal MS4 stormwater permit requirements. All together we represent 130 communities across the state.  The Think Blue Massachusetts campaign was developed with funding from a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

For more tips on how to do your part to keep our waterways clean, visit www.thinkbluemassachusetts.org.

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