Wednesday, July 23, 2008

live reporting - Stormwater

Robert Cantoreggi provided an update on various projects going on around town and coming up.

Stormwater: another unfunded mandate for the Town to handle

Franklin's water is all from ground water, new construction is required to handle 100% recharge within the development

Storm drains simply capture the water and route it without treatment to the nearest water source; i.e. stream or pond. Hence, whatever is captured in the storm drain can flow into the water supply.

Items for homeowners to take action on.

An Eagle Scout project placed the storm drain markers pictured earlier.

Storm water management by-law #153

Recommendation to establish a fee-based household stormwater utility.
Received $15,000 grant to examine the feasibility of a stormwater utility.

Approx. 15,800 single family units would calculate out to about $40 per single family household.

looking at next steps
  • continue public information process
  • refine program costs and budgets
  • review options for fee abatements
  • define process for billing and collection
Discussion - Q&A

Per Nutting, if you did not do a fee, you could do a dedicated override

Vallee - strongly for it
Bartlett - what does the yard clean up do to help this?
Denise Zambrowski - reduces the amount of yard waste that would flow to the storm drains and catch basins

DPW website can be found here

Everyone thinks the basins in the roads go to sewers.

There are three sets of pipes in the roads; water, sewer, and storm drains.

Doak - Federal and state regulations? really two or just one?
Zambrowski - yes, really one.

Doak - How do we know we're done? What are the metrics?
Zambrowski - we have to come up with how to comply with the requirement but it has to pass the "straight face" test at Beacon Hill.

Doak - are new projects sufficiently implemented with appropriate controls.
Cantoreggi - yes, all new ones are covered by the guidelines at this time.

Doak - how is a mandatory fee not a tax?
Nutting - there is an abatement process so it is not mandatory
consultant - needs to be applied broadly, needs to provide credits for proper handling, needs to provide abatement
Nutting - Town of Reading has a procedure in process that has not been resolved. No one has challenged the Newton one.

Doak - some of the commercial sites seem to have a good onsite system even though they have the most impervious area
Zambowski - yes, we have a listing and an inventory

Doak - we are doing a lot of good things to achieve compliance, do we really need another $500,000 to do so.
Zambrowski - yes, we don't have the funding to do the other things that are needed.

Pfeffer - concern about calculation, more than the $500,000 mentioned
Consultant - yes, it adds up to 640,000 but by the time to provide the abatements, you would end up with the $500,000 projected.

Vallee - still strongly for it, especially since our water supply is from ground water

Whalen - Vallee's comments are a good segway to what he is about to say. This is less a tax and more an investment in our town.

Sergey Yurgenson - it is a tax, a hidden tax. Residents just shut down the recent Prop 2 1/2 increase. Residents don't want a new tax. Would the town pay it's share? What about the roads? That creates impervious surface.

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