Combating Stormwater Pollution

What is Woburn Doing to Combat the Impacts of Stormwater Pollution?

The City of Woburn undertakes a variety of Best Management Practices (or BMPs) through its Stormwater Management Program to help reduce pollutant discharges to the City’s waterways. Many of these BMPs are completed or coordinated by the Department of Public Works.

The City has prepared a Stormwater Management Plan to formalize its program to address stormwater concerns in the City. The Stormwater Management Plan has recently been updated and is available here. It is administered by the Engineering Department, in conjunction with the Department of Public Works.  Also, Title 13, Section IV of the City of Woburn Municipal Code deals with Stormwater, Illicit Discharge/Connection and Construction Site Management.

Our stormwater program has the goals of reducing the discharge of pollutants from the MS4 to the maximum extent practicable by developing and implementing best management practices (BMPs) for the following six minimum control measures:

  • Public participation / involvement: Provide educational material about stormwater to four audiences (residents, commercial, construction and industry). The purpose of the educational material is to provide the targeted audience with information about stormwater and how their actions may impact it.
  • Public education and outreach: Annually provide an opportunity for the public to participate in the development and implementation of the Stormwater Management Program.
  • Illicit discharge detection and elimination: A proactive approach to finding and eliminating non-stormwater sources in the City’s storm drain system.  The Engineering Department intern program has an established relationship with UMass-Lowell’s Engineering program.  Engineering students working for the City inspect City outfalls and collect water samples checking them against a number of parameters.  If a problem is found at an outfall, it is then followed upstream to its source and eliminated.
  • Construction site runoff control: Require the management of stormwater discharges from construction sites that disturb one or more acres of land.
  • Post-construction stormwater management in new development and redevelopment: Address stormwater runoff from new development and redevelopment that disturbs one or more acres of land. The goal of this measure is to try to manage stormwater where it falls and retain it on site through the use of low impact design technique and green infrastructure.
  • Pollution prevention / good housekeeping for municipal operations: Implement good housekeeping practices in municipal operations, conduct annual street sweeping and optimization of catch basin cleaning and develop pollution prevention plans at waste management facilities and maintenance garages.

Ways You Can Keep Our Water Clean

Here’s a message from Woburn Girl Scout Troop 72393 with some tips on how you can help keep our water clean!

  • Pick up after your pets – Pet waste is a significant source of bacteria in urban stormwater runoff.  It’s also the law in Woburn, per City of Woburn Municipal Codes Title 6, Section 1, 6-4 and is subject to fines of $25.00-$75.00.
  • Do not put trash, leaf litter or waste into catch basins or storm drains – These flow directly into our local waterbodies.
  • Capture the rain that falls on your property in a rain barrel, rain garden, or on the leaves of your trees and shrubs. You’ll reduce flooding and keep our waterways clean.
  • In the winter, try using less salt around your property.  The salt is in the runoff and eventually makes it to our rivers, streams and ponds and into the Horn Pond aquifer where Woburn’s drinking water comes from.
  • Reduce the amount of fertilizer used on your lawn or use slow-release/phosphorus-free fertilizers – Fertilizers are a source of nutrients in stormwater runoff that can lead to algal blooms.
  • Wash your car at a car wash. If washing at home, use soap sparingly, use a phosphate-free/biodegradable detergent, and dispose of soapy water in the sink. When possible wash your car on a grassy area.

For further information or if you have concerns about stormwater quality, contact Jay Duran, Superintendent of Public Works, at 781-897-5980, or Jay Corey, City Engineer at 781-897-5880.