By Keith Regan, Contributing Writer
Northborough – Selectmen Sept. 14 voted to continue the town’s participation in the Central Massachusetts Stormwater Coalition, a $4,000-a-year commitment that officials said will pay dividends as the town grapples with the costly process of complying with updated stormwater rules.
Town Engineer Fred Litchfield told selectmen the coalition can no longer rely on grants for its funding and is asking communities participating to help make it sustainable. He said the town’s work with a consultant through the coalition has been more than worth the amount the town is being asked to pay.
“We think it’s better to be one of a group and not on our own when the time comes to get our new stormwater permit,” Litchfield said.
Town Administrator John Coderre said compliance with evolving stormwater rules is a major looming expense for many communities in Massachusetts.
“In the big scheme of things, this is one of the more significant financial obligations facing municipalities in the next several years,” he said.
Among the updates are requirements that cities and towns map all stormwater runoff that flows into wetlands, monitor and test stormwater, and more frequently clean catch basins. Some communities have said complying will cost as much as $400,000 to $800,000 annually and Northborough itself is likely facing some capital equipment expenses to enable compliance.
“There is safety in numbers,” Coderre said. “By being part of this, we are speaking with one voice.”