Water Resources Committee

The 495/MetroWest Partnership’s Water Resources Committee focuses on issues related to water and water resources in the region, including but not limited to the region's rivers and watersheds, other bodies of water, drinking water, wastewater, stormwater, permitting, regulations, health and safety/ water quality, water supply, environmental protection, and infrastructure.

Recent Meetings & Events

Charles River Watershed Stakeholder Discussion: EPA Region 1 has announced that they will exercise their residual designation authority under the Clean Water Act in the Charles, Mystic, and Neponset river watersheds. Certain commercial, industrial, and institutional properties with one or more acres of impervious area will be required to obtain coverage under an EPA Clean Water Act permit. Once permits are issued, property owners will be required to take steps to reduce pollutants in stormwater. Privately owned commercial, industrial, and institutional properties with 1-acre or greater impervious cover will need to seek coverage under one of these permits (or an individual permit if they prefer) and take the actions spelled out in the permits. The Partnership's Water Resources Committee hosted EPA Region 1 staff for an informational presentation on this matter on November 1st; click here to access a recording of that presentation.

The Partnership will host a follow-up discussion among impacted stakeholders on Tuesday, December 13th, 2022 at 8:30 AM, for the purpose of soliciting and discussing the viewpoints among our various constituencies. This will be a hybrid event, hosted in Westborough, Massachusetts for those interested in attending in person, with an option to participate virtually via Zoom. Please fill out this form to register for the event. Location information or Zoom registration information will be emailed following registration.

495/MetroWest Partnership communities that are fully or partially located within the Charles River watershed are Ashland, Bellingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Medfield, Medway, Milford, Millis, Natick, Norfolk, Sherborn, Wayland, and Wrentham. Portions of Foxborough and Medfield are located in the Neponset River watershed.

Presentation and Q&A: EPA Residual Designation Authority in the Charles River Watershed: EPA Region 1 has announced that they will exercise their residual designation authority under the Clean Water Act in the Charles, Mystic, and Neponset river watersheds. Certain commercial, industrial, and institutional properties with one or more acres of impervious area will be required to obtain coverage under an EPA Clean Water Act permit. Once permits are issued, property owners will be required to take steps to reduce pollutants in stormwater. EPA anticipates issuing one or more general permits specifying the activities that property owners must implement to reduce stormwater pollution from their properties. Before these requirements are finalized, EPA will conduct a public process, including publication of a draft permit and an opportunity to comment. Privately owned commercial, industrial, and institutional properties with 1-acre or greater impervious cover will need to seek coverage under one of these permits (or an individual permit if they prefer) and take the actions spelled out in the permits.

The 495/MetroWest Partnership's Water Resources Committee hosted EPA Region 1 staff for an informational presentation on this matter on Tuesday, November 1st, 2022. 
A follow-up discussion among 495/MetroWest Partnership impacted stakeholders is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, December 13th, 2022 at 8:30 AM; check back to this page for further details once they become available. 

495/MetroWest Partnership communities that are fully or partially located within the Charles River watershed are Ashland, Bellingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Medfield, Medway, Milford, Millis, Natick, Norfolk, Sherborn, Wayland, and Wrentham. Portions of Foxborough and Medfield are located in the Neponset River watershed.
 
Massachusetts Clean Water Trust: On Wednesday, March 16th, 2022 the Water Resources Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership hosted a presentation on the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust. The Massachusetts Clean Water Trust is a state agency that provides low-interest loans to municipalities and other eligible entities for the purpose of improving water quality throughout the Commonwealth. Loan funding is provided through the Massachusetts State Revolving Funds. Nate Keenan, Deputy Director of the Clean Water Trust, provided an overview of resources available, as well as information regarding new sources of funding coming to Massachusetts. Click here to access a recording of this event

Presentation from #InvestInWaterMA Campaign: The Water Resources Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership hosted a presentation and discussion on the #InvestInWaterMA initiative on Tuesday, January 11th, 2022. Click here to access the slide presentation from this meeting, providing an overview of the #InvestInWaterMA campaign. The #InvestInWaterMA effort aims to see water, sewer, and wastewater infrastructure prioritized for new infrastructure funding. State and federal policymakers will be making critical decisions about where and how to invest billions of dollars in federal infrastructure and COVID relief funding in the coming months and years. Key messages of the campaign include the funding gap for cities, towns, and regional water utilities for water infrastructure needs, and the positive relationship between water/ wastewater infrastructure investment and increased economic activity. To learn more about the effort visit www.ucane.com/investinwaterma.

Water Resources Committee Meeting with Congresswoman Trahan: The Water Resources Committee of the 495/MetroWest Partnership hosted Congresswoman Lori Trahan of Massachusetts’ 3rd Congressional District virtually on Thursday, November 4th, 2021. The Congresswoman discussed her work on the House Energy & Commerce and Natural Resources Committees, as well as comprehensive PFAS legislation recently passed by the House, and took questions from the audience. Congresswoman Trahan represents the 495/MetroWest Partnership communities of Acton, Berlin, Bolton, Boxborough, Harvard, Hudson, Littleton, Marlborough, Maynard, Stow, Sudbury, and Westford. Click here to view a recording of the event.

Climate Legislation Presentation with Secretary Theoharides: On May 18th, 2021, the Water Resources and Energy and Sustainable Development Committees of the 495/MetroWest Partnership hosted a special presentation from Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen A. Theoharides on An Act Creating a Next-Generation Roadmap for Massachusetts Climate Policy, major climate legislation signed into law earlier this year. Click here to view a recording of the session with Secretary Theoharides. The legislation, signed into law by Governor Baker in March, codifies a commitment to achieve Net Zero emissions in 2050, establishes new interim goals for emissions reductions, authorizes the Administration to implement a new, voluntary energy efficient building code for municipalities, and allows the Commonwealth to procure an additional 2,400 Megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2027, among other provisions.

MWRA Presentation: The Water Resources Committee hosted a presentation from the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA) and the MWRA Advisory Board on Tuesday, March 30th. MWRA is a public authority established by the Legislature in 1984 to provide wholesale water and sewer services in 61 metropolitan Boston communities, including, at present, 6 communities in the Partnership’s service area. The MWRA Advisory Board is an independent agency that was established at the same time to represent the interests of the cities and towns in the MWRA’s service area. Click here to view a recording of the presentation. The presentation focused on MWRA’s activities and services in the Partnership’s service region, and how municipalities interested in joining MWRA may initiate that process. Click here to access the slide presentation from the event

Potential New Stormwater Requirements in the Charles River Watershed: On October 27th, 2020, the 495/MetroWest Partnership hosted staff from EPA Region 1 for a presentation regarding potential new stormwater requirements in the Charles River Watershed. In 2019, EPA Region 1 received a petition from the Conservation Law Foundation and the Charles River Watershed Association asking that EPA use its Residual Designation Authority to require permits for stormwater discharges that are not otherwise regulated for commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities within the Charles River watershed. EPA is now formulating a response to the petition. Click here to access the slides from EPA's presentation to the Partnership.

Partnership communities that are fully or partially located within the Charles River watershed are Ashland, Bellingham, Franklin, Holliston, Hopedale, Hopkinton, Medfield, Medway, Milford, Millis, Natick, Norfolk, Sherborn, Wayland, and Wrentham.

New PFAS Drinking Water Standard: On October 21st, 2020, the 495/MetroWest Partnership hosted representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for a presentation regarding the Commonwealth's new PFAS drinking water standard. In January 2019, DEP announced its intention to initiate the process to develop a drinking water standard, known as a Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL), for a group of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS). The revised PFAS regulation was published on October 2nd, 2020.