Showing posts with label EPA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label EPA. Show all posts

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Town of Franklin DPW wins "Water Conservation Award" for 2021 from MA DEP and US EPA

"Yesterday, your Public Works Department received the esteemed 2021 "Water Conservation Award" form the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

This award is given out for successes in un-accounted for water (Town is less then 6%), average daily use by capita (we are a 46 gallons per person) and over all environmental stewardship.
This is truly a community award!
Your Franklin Public Works does run the Water Department on a Daily biases, but with out the investments of the Council in the infrastructure and all your help in water conservation measures this award would not be possible. So we all need to pat ourselves on the back for a job well done!"

Shared from Facebook ->    https://www.facebook.com/100064487150311/posts/366751995484369/ 

Town of Franklin DPW wins "Water Conservation Award" for 2021 from MA DEP and US EPA
Town of Franklin DPW wins "Water Conservation Award" for 2021 from MA DEP and US EPA

Monday, March 14, 2022

Your time is needed (NOW) to pay attention to the storm water utility fee discussion

One of the recurring themes here is citizen engagement. And yes, while I attend many of the meetings and report on them so you don't need to, this week and this budget season, is THE time for you to be more engaged, period. 

Why?

The Town budget determines what services we get from the Town. No matter whether it is a pickleball court, or a ball field with nicely cut grass, books on the shelf at the library or the cafĂ© reopening at the Senior Center. The Town of Franklin is a service organization providing for all our needs and "there ain't no such this as a free lunch" (the TANSAAFL principle). Everything costs something. 

If you paid attention last week, the School Committee got their first view of the school budget. The Finance Committee got a deep dive on the DPW and all it does. The Joint Budget Subcommittee got their first look at the overall town budget. (links to the meeting audio and transcripts are provided below.)

Surprise, the initial revenue projection doesn't meet the initial expense projections. So how do we figure that out? 

This is where YOU come in to the act. If you believe that what happens in Franklin matters to you, then follow along as the discussion takes place to resolve the budget deficit this year. 

1 - Find out how the storm water utility fee takes managing storm water expenses down a more fair approach. Everyone pays a little vs. the taxpayers bearing the full burden. 

2 - Watch, listen, or read what happens at the Town Council meeting Wednesday as the discussion/action item comes up for review.

Storm water information links

 - Storm water utility information flyer https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/uploads/utility_flyer_extended_version_reduced_size.pdf

 - EPA MS4 permit quick facts and takeaways  https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/uploads/ms4_permit_-_quick_facts.pdf

 - Storm water items on the Wednesday Town Council agenda

Stormwater Presentation - Department of Public Works  - 
https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/uploads/stormwater_utility_fee_presentation_2022.pdf 
 
ii. Stormwater Management Plan:
Year 2 Update, July 3, 2020 - 393-page Federal Stormwater Permit 
https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/uploads/franklin_swmp_year_2_update_7-3-20_for_town_with_appendicies.pdf
July 2021 Update   
https://www.franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif6896/f/uploads/2021.06.29_franklin_py3_swmp_update.pdf 
 
iii. Department of Public Works:
& Parcel Level Impervious Surface Map   
https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/e45452a3047e4c83b27170a8f4f79aa5

 

Last week's meeting links (audio and transcript) 

TA Jamie Hellen, Miriam Goodman and Supt Sara Ahern presenting to the Joint Budget Subcommittee
TA Jamie Hellen, Miriam Goodman and Supt Sara Ahern presenting to the Joint Budget Subcommittee

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Ted helps Steve make sense of climate - part 4 - 03/03/22 (audio)

FM #747 = This is the Franklin Matters radio show, number 747 in the series.

This session of the radio show shares my conversation with Ted McIntyre, Franklin resident and climate activist. We recorded this via the Zoom conference bridge Mar 3, 2022.  


This is part 4 of a series on Marking Sense of Climate. We talk of the weather variations, the recent MA House legislation touting wind power, the Ukraine situation, and how it ties to climate, as well recent news articles. 


Ted helps me “make sense of climate” and we hope this helps with your understanding as well. 


If you have climate questions or Franklin specific climate questions, send them in and we’ll try to answer them in a future session 


The recording runs about 38 minutes, so let’s listen to my conversation with Ted McIntyre as he helps me “make sense of climate.” Audio file -> https://franklin-ma-matters.captivate.fm/episode/fm-747-ted-mcintyre-making-sense-of-climate-03-03-22



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Links that are our talking points for this episode


Webinar for Complete Neighborhoods Initiative -> https://www.franklinmatters.org/2022/03/webinar-scheduled-for-mar-10-complete.html 


DOER Stretch goals (deadline extended to March 18 to submit input)


Net zero proposal

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/energy/2-senators-say-proposed-building-code-comes-up-short/

 

Brayton Point

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/02/17/business/site-shuttered-south-coast-coal-plant-will-become-wind-industry-factory/?event=event25

 

Baker stalling on EJ committee

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/02/25/science/massachusetts-roadmap-bill-created-an-environmental-justice-advisory-council-where-is-it/?event=event25


Wind legislation editorial by Rep Jeff Roy and House Speaker Mariano

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/03/02/opinion/offshore-wind-is-future-massachusetts/

 

Link to IPCC report page 

https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg2/ 

Bill McKibben article

https://billmckibben.substack.com/p/heat-pumps-for-peace-and-freedom 

Article on IPCC report in Globe

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/02/28/science/impacts-climate-change-are-worse-than-we-thought-an-unflinching-new-un-report-finds/ 

The Guardian article on the IPCC report

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/28/ipcc-issues-bleakest-warning-yet-impacts-climate-breakdown

 

Court case could limit EPA

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2022/02/28/opinion/supreme-court-case-that-could-limit-epas-power-fight-climate-change/

 

Implication of Supreme Court EPA possible decision beyond climate….

https://www.eenews.net/articles/hill-takes-notice-as-supreme-court-mulls-epa-climate-powers/


If you have a question to raise, you can use this form -> https://www.franklinmatters.org/2020/02/ask-franklin-matters-you-ask-question.html

 

Original Climate link

The 13 point article we talk to -> From WBUR -> “What you need to know about the new MASS Climate law” https://www.wbur.org/news/2021/03/26/new-mass-climate-law-faq

 

Mass Climate Action Network -> https://www.massclimateaction.org/recs 

 

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We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm) or 102.9 on the Franklin area radio dial.  


This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

 

How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

  • If you don't like something here, please let me know


Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.


For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.org/ or www.franklin.news/


If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com


The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.


I hope you enjoy!

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You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"


Deepwater Wind's turbines off Block Island, R.I., as seen in 2019.RODRIQUE NGOWI/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Deepwater Wind's turbines off Block Island, R.I., as seen in 2019.RODRIQUE NGOWI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Town Council meeting recap = Jan 20, 2021 - Public House license approved, several streets accepted

Quick Recap:
  • New all alcohol license for the Public House (in Franklin Village - former location of British Beer Co)
  • Multiple streets accepted, allows for formal Town ownership, completes a process that broke when developers completed their projects in some cases years ago. Minimal patching and plowing could be done without acceptance, major repairs prohibited as government money can not be spent on private property.
  • Storm water bylaws required minor technical adjustments to bring them inline with the EPA MS4 permit. This was the first reading for the four individual bylaws to be heard. All were approved for second reading.
  • Councilor Kelly went on a 'rant' around the storm water utility fee during the storm water bylaw update thinking that the changes were bringing the utility fees to the discussion. That was not the case, the utility fee proposal, discussion, and decision will be a separate item for a future agenda but the rant continued.
  • First responder vaccine distribution completed on Wednesday, process caught attention of Milford Regional Hospital who wants to leverage our experience. No word yet on what's next for vaccine distribution. Awaiting info from MA DPH on who, what and when available. Stay tuned.

Photos captured during the meeting can be found in one folder

https://photos.app.goo.gl/FvaSN8sVwcUwRrnr6

recording of meeting to be made available soon

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As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.
 
The Twitter hashtag can be found online  #tc0120 

https://twitter.com/hashtag/tc0120?src=hashtag_click 


  • Shifting from one Zoom session to another to report on the Town Council meeting about to begin. Agenda doc has connection info https://franklinma.gov/town-council/agenda/january-20-town-council-agenda #tc0120
  • Meeting called to order #tc0120
  • Chair Tom Mercer runs through protocol message for meeting #tc0120 reminder on incorrect calculation of interest on tax bill for 3Q. Corrected bill mailed, due date extended. online portal has correct amount.
Citizen Comment
Approval of prior minutes
  • Approval of minutes for Dec 2, 2020 via roll call passes 9-0 #tc0120 proclamation postponed to meeting in Feb Public hearing opens at 7:10 PM - license hearing for Public House
Public hearing - new alcohol license
  • Targeting for opening in May/June depending upon renovation being done, menu some carry over from The Gavel. 'Upscale American' would be Indoor and outdoor service weather permitting, capacity inside 180 (occupancy 200). No license pledge needed, self funded. #tc0120
  • All servers to be too certified, may come back with an operation manager later. #tc0120 fees reduced for this year per bylaw previously approved. Landlord needs to do something 1st, license needed to be confirmed, then restaurant would proceed. Motion 2 close hearing via roll
  • Opening hearing on street acceptances, then back to approve the license (rather than have them wait) motion to approve, seconded, passes 9-0 via roll call (Hamblen remote) #tc0120 kudos for Chrissy Whelton on this process No to the street acceptances, first wave of several
Public hearing on street acceptances
  • Last tweet should have said NOW to streets, not 'no' #tc0120 what is practical difference between public and private; primary difference town takes care of road repairs and snow plowing, the total mileage of roads helps with state reimbursement.
  • #tc0120 Q on sidewalks along Baron would they removed at sometime, and narrow like Coronation Dr. Baron is one of the work roads, can't work on it without funding, haven't taken hard look at it. Would be done via public hearing. The road is a mess. It is a concern
  • #tc0120 reinforce the state of disrepair of Baron, can't put money in it unless it is accepted. Often folks don't walk on the sidewalks, use the road instead. Don't count on getting two sidewalks, we need to reduce impervious coverage. EPA in charge of the potential fine
  • #tc0120 just not possible with EPA restrictions. Multiple councilor comments on road condition and planning for redoing eventually. It costs the Town to create the acceptance plan. We plow/filling potholes for safety reasons where streets were intended to be accepted
  • Baron due to condition would be a full depth reconstruction. #tc0120 landscaping on Coronation is aborhent claims of severely compromising safety to save some money. 1st step is recognizing the road, let's do that. Homeowners responsible for keeping sidewalks passable
Subcommittee Updates
  • #tc0120 motion to close hearing, passes 9-0 via roll call EDC met last Weds, started discussion on housing, had a pretzel discussion, need to come back with some definition, 5:45 next meeting to discuss food truck bylaw. TA review rescheduled! storm water bylaw ...
  • Passed a year ago, info sessions planned, 2 held before pandemic. #tc0120 storm water page has info and maps for property impervious coverage; utility fee more fair application, credits available, will offset ops budget funds eventually https://www.franklinma.gov/stormwater-division 
  • 14 Communities already have a utility fee, ours is less than the others. #tc0120 fee would raise about $1.4M each year. Would free operations capacity in FY 22 and FY 23. Check your property on the map https://www.franklinma.gov/stormwater-division 
  • #tc0120 Dellorco and Jones add to reinforce Hamblen's comments on the utility fee to manage the EPA mandate. Did check proof of proposed billing statement that would include the utility fee and appear on next water, sewer invoice. There are legislation tonight ...
  • To set up for the utility fee, no action on the fee itself tonight. #tc0120 * Moving to legislation for action. 
Legislation for action
Town Administrator report through to closing
  • Town Administrator report, FHS gym completed the vaccine clinics nothing wasted on doses, had backup plan for utilization of the extras Milford Regional asking for us to help them plan distribution. As to what is next? Don't know. #tc0120
  • #tc0120 early education and K-12 before the over 65 with multiple co-morbidities Health Director Liberty can now order vaccines. Some distribution will be on-site for some groups, rather than in a facility like the gym
  • #tc0120 waiting for the State to tell us when we get the next batch. For distribution to the general public, it would likely use the high school for parking, flow, etc. Billable units. Driving downtown, no cars parked at all at 11 in the morning.
  • #tc0120 "shout out to Project Envoy for helping in this way, great to see the community help." "It is sad to see the downtown so quiet and empty." "Congratulations to Declan Lynch for his scholarship win." Hotline is off the charts at SAFE Coalition with requests for help
  • #tc0120 thank the Board of Health and our paramedics, it was really well done. To hear the comments from the other Communities, it was heartening. Motion to adjourn, passes 9-0 via roll call Catch you all next time!
Town Council meeting recap = Jan 20, 2021 - Public House license approved, several streets accepted
Town Council meeting recap = Jan 20, 2021 - Public House license approved, several streets accepted

Thursday, October 1, 2020

MMA: "EPA considers new regulations on stormwater pollution in Charles River watershed"

From the Mass Municipal Assoc (MMA) we share an article of interest for Franklin: 

"The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency notified stakeholders in the Charles River watershed on Aug. 13 that the agency is evaluating whether to introduce a new permit regulating stormwater runoff from private parties into the watershed.

A letter from the EPA’s New England Region stated that the agency is considering whether “a new program is needed to control stormwater pollution from certain commercial, industrial and institutional sources in the Charles River watershed at sites that are not currently covered by any existing federal or state stormwater permit.”

With a new permit, the EPA would be operating under its “residual designation authority,” a provision under the Clean Water Act that allows the agency, under certain conditions, to require permits for stormwater discharges that are not otherwise regulated."

Continue reading the article online
 
The Town of Franklin is already working towards a stormwater utility fee to help address the issue of stormwater runoff to the Charles River. 
 
Visit the Stormwater Division page for more info  https://www.franklinma.gov/stormwater-division
 
https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/e45452a3047e4c83b27170a8f4f79aa5
Check out your impervious coverage area


Thursday, September 10, 2020

Stormwater Ad hoc Committee Recap - Sep 9, 2020 - find your impervious area

Summary:

  • One of the key questions for the proposed stormwater utility fee is “What is impervious area? “ The DPW has updated one of the GIS Franklin maps with the calculation per property.
  • The new web page highlighted during this meeting is a great start. How to calculate the fee based upon your impervious area needs to be added. What credits are available also need to be added.
  • The utility fee proposal now moves to the Town Council for further discussion. There will be more info coming on this as it continues to develop for an implementation in July 2021.


As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.

The Twitter hashtag can be found online #swsc0909
https://twitter.com/hashtag/swsc0909?src=hashtag_click 

  • Real time reporting underway for Stormwater ad hoc subcommittee #swsc0909
  • Follow along shortly with your own property on this map https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/e45452a3047e4c83b27170a8f4f79aa5 
  • #swsc0909
  • 2 page memo mentioned with charge per unit $18.66 #swsc0909 copy of memo found after agenda page here  https://franklinma.gov/sites/g/files/vyhlif591/f/agendas/2020-09-09_stormwater_ad_hoc_committee_0.pdf 
  • 50% credit for property initially, if qualify for Community assistance, get full waiver of fee. Would require a bylaw change but it is not anticipated to be a problem #swsc0909 Town Admin Jamie Hellen providing updates
  • If we don't do this, liable for fines from EPA for non-compliance, already took them to court and gained remediation on timeline #swsc0909 the proposed charge is less than other Communities that have implemented a similar fee. DPW Director Cantoreggi adds points of info
  • Stormwater fee will eventually allow for shifting of some expenses from operations budget to Stormwater utility fee (similar to trash/recycling or water/sewer) #swsc0909 will allow for billing for usage across all properties commercial and residential
  • Approx $1.2m in operations budget today could move to utility over time, recognize that the fee needs to build up some to be able to pay those invoices. Wouldn't start charging until 3Q 2021 due to billing change to system to add the line #swsc0909
  • Leaf pickup has not been included in this yet as EPA has not created the credit value for leaves. It would be a capital expense (to get the trucks/equipment) to do so. #swsc0909 moved to demo portion to highlight use of map
  • A great start to helping to provide the information to explain what it is #swsc0909 https://www.franklinma.gov/stormwater-division 
  • Would need to add how to calculate the billing unit from the impervious area. #swsc0909 would need to add the other approved surfaces i.e. to replace a blacktop driveway with some stone or other approved surface - what is the standard?
  • Motion to move forward to full town Council for review and discussion, second, passes 3-0 via roll call (Hamblen, Dellorco, Jones) #swsc0909
  • Motion to adjourn, second, passes 3-0... #swsc0909 That's all for today folks, catch you next time!

Photos from the meeting used in the Twitter stream can be found online

 

Stormwater Ad hoc Committee Recap - Sep 9, 2020 - find your impervious area
Stormwater Ad hoc Committee Recap - Sep 9, 2020 - find your impervious area

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Stormwater Ad-hoc Subcommittee Meeting Recap - Aug 8, 2020

As with most meetings in this pandemic period, I took my notes via Twitter during the meeting reporting in real-time via the virtual session.

The Twitter hashtag can be found online #swsc0805

  • Real time reporting for Stormwater ad-hoc subcommittee underway #swsc0805 awaiting 3rd person for quorum
  • Without quorum can't do policy discussion but could answer questions #swsc0805
  • Derek Adams hired as Stormwater Director per FY21 budget also as needed to be compliant with the EPA permit. Had previously worked as summer help in college, worked up through the ranks, water treatment side, Masters program at MassMaritime ##swsc0805
  • Need to expand what we're doing on Stormwater management. #swsc0805 budget is tight, looking at it all carefully Stormwater Environmental affairs superintendent. Dellorco should be on soon to make quorum.
  • Moving some of the DPW operations budget items from general funds to the Stormwater fee is a long process. #swsc0805 Dellorco arrives to make quorum.
  • Melanie Hamblen officially opens the meeting at 6:52 PM #swsc0805 reads the usual blub on meeting protocol for virtual meeting. 14 present at time of official meeting
  • TA Jamie Hellen provides recap of info sessions held preCOVID-19, one in morning at the council chambers, one in the evening at the Franklin TV studios, there was a third scheduled but it was canceled due to the pandemic #swsc0805
  • Brutus provides a recap of Derek's background. #swsc0805 web site a basic stopping point for info on work done over the years. franklinma.gov/stormwater-div For reading materials, check out the full management plan franklinma.gov/stormwater-div
  • Delay as Chair lost connection and thereby quorum broke, patience #swsc0805
  • She's trying to reconnect via phone see if that's quicker. #swsc0805
  • Yup, still waiting #swsc0805
  • She did join, now working to pick up where we left off. #swsc0805 Jones replaying his question and proposal on fee to get started
  • Discussion of phasing in new fee is a timing issue, need to generate some funds via the fee in order to be able to pay for some of the current DPW Stormwater budget items, would also gather revenue from the users not currently paying #swsc0805
  • Stormwater utility fee couldn't realistically appear on a homeowner bill until July 2021 due to the software changes required to get the MUNIS system set up properly. Also need to get the other items i.e. exemptions defined. #swsc0805
  • Summary timeline: Oct/Nov during budget to relook at Stormwater costs, DPW budget impact, possible fee discussion in Jan 2021, first billing possible in July 2021, with possible budget relief for FY 22 or FY23 #swsc0805
  • Motion to adjourn, #swsc0805 catch you all next time

Stormwater Ad-hoc Subcommittee Meeting Recap - Aug 8, 2020
Stormwater Ad-hoc Subcommittee Meeting Recap - Aug 8, 2020