The Town of Ipswich is required to regulate and manage stormwater in accordance with our General Permit under the federal permit program entitled the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Under the NPDES program, the Town of Ipswich as the owner of the Ipswich municipal separate storm sewer systems (i.e., the Ipswich storm drain system) is required to undertake a host of actions to improve the quality of stormwater discharges in Ipswich. The ultimate goal of this work is to improve the quality of the surface waters in Ipswich, which are inseparable from Ipswich’s core identity and provide immense cultural, economic and quality-of-life value to our citizens.
Ipswich has been a leader in addressing water quality impairments and taking stewardship of our critical resources. For more information about stormwater management and particularly the efforts undertaken in Ipswich, click here. A major step forward in our effort to better manage stormwater in Ipswich was the adoption of the Ipswich Stormwater Management Bylaw at a Special Town Meeting on October 20, 2008. This bylaw can be accessed here or in the Town Meeting Record of Action, Article 8, and an informational presentation about the bylaw can be accessed here. The Ipswich Stormwater Advisory Committee, appointed by the Board of Selectmen, worked to develop a comprehensive approach to implementing the bylaw.
The Stormwater Management Bylaw provides the framework for two permit programs that are implemented through separate sets of regulations. The Connection and Discharge Permit regulations and the Stormwater Management Permit regulations were drafted by the Stormwater Advisory Committee and adopted by the Board of Selectmen on February 1, 2010. Just prior to that, on January 4, 2010, the Board of Selectmen officially delegated the administration of the permitting programs to the Public Works Department. The minutes from the two Board of Selectmen’s meetings can be accessed here: January 4, 2010 and February 1, 2010. A brief presentation describing these regulations can be accessed here.
1) Connection and Discharge Permit program
The connection and discharge permit program regulates direct connections into the Ipswich storm drain system. Under this program, illicit connections and discharges (those discharges that are not composed entirely of stormwater) are prohibited, except for a set of exemptions. Connections from sump pumps, a primary concern of the Town, are allowed only via permit. This will help the Town to better track the connections into the storm drain system, which will help to improve and protect water quality in our surface waters, reduce nuisances from discharge water on public sidewalks and public ways, and assist the Town in better maintaining the storm drain system over the long term.
2) Stormwater Management Permit program
The stormwater management permit program will regulate the impacts of stormwater runoff and erosion at new development and redevelopment sites, including impacts during construction. The regulations define two project categories, major and minor projects, and include a set of stormwater management standards for each category.
Comprehensive Implementation Program for Stormwater Bylaw
The stormwater management program envisioned by the Stormwater Advisory Committee in accordance with the Stormwater Management Bylaw is a comprehensive approach that addresses stormwater quality and quantity issues uniformly across the community. The stormwater management standards required under the stormwater management permit program apply to proposed land alteration projects above the minimum size threshold of 10,000 square feet or 50% of a lot, whichever is smaller, with certain minor exceptions. The goal is to have consistent standards applied to other projects via the existing permitting programs of the Planning Board and the Conservation Commission. Projects that are reviewed in accordance with stormwater management standards under the Planning Board or Conservation Commission permit programs are not required to obtain a Stormwater Management Permit.
In order to apply these standards uniformly to all projects of significant size in town, the Planning Board and the Conservation Commission are adopting consistent stormwater management standards within their own permitting processes. In the coming months, the Planning Board will revise its Site Plan Review, Special Permit and Subdivision Approval processes. The Conservation Commission has recently revised its wetlands protection rules and regulations, which can be downloaded here. In addition, the Conservation Commission is placing a small amendment on the Town Warrant for the 2010 Special Town Meeting on October 25, 2010 to extend its jurisdiction to regulate stormwater from the full extent of projects that currently fall partially within the jurisdiction of the local Wetland Protection Bylaw. This will help to eliminate the potential for a single project to require both an Order of Conditions from the Conservation Commission and a Stormwater Management Permit from the Public Works Department. A statement from the Conservation Commission Chairman David Standley regarding this proposed amendment can be accessed here and the draft Warrant Article can be found here.