Stormwater management program to be voted on at Hudson’s Town Meeting

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Stormwater management program to be voted on at Hudson’s Town Meeting
(File photo by/Dakota Antelman)

HUDSON – Hudson residents will decide whether to adopt a stormwater management program when they head to Town Meeting next week.

There are two articles related to establishing the program on the warrant for the Nov. 21 Town Meeting.

“It’s the most equitable way of covering the costs of our infrastructure and meeting our permit requirements,” said Director of Public Works Eric Ryder. “One of the big things is we have about $88 million of stormwater assets, catch basins, culverts, outfalls, manholes and 370,000 linear feet of pipe. That’s a lot of money that we need to maintain.”

Most residents would pay “about the same”

According to Ryder, he is “still working out” the exact rate residents would have to pay quarterly. However, he estimates it would be about $20 a quarter.

During a stormwater utility information session Nov. 8, Rich Niles, who is with the engineering firm consulting for the project, said many municipalities across the state have adopted a “stormwater user fee approach.”

“You get a water bill, you get a sewer bill and you get a stormwater bill,” he said.

Niles said that the amount of impervious surface on a property would determine how much each resident pays. These are surfaces that don’t allow water to be absorbed into the ground, such as roofs and driveways.

Niles noted that a majority of residents would pay “about the same” because most single-family homes in Hudson each have about 3,400 square feet of impervious surface.

However, he said that if a property is more than 50 percent larger than the typical single-family home, those residents would “pay 50 percent more.”

In addition, Niles said that commercial properties would receive a higher stormwater utility fee because they have significantly more impervious areas than residential properties.

“A Walmart should pay more than a single-family home,” he said.

Articles before Town Meeting

The stormwater management program is designed to protect properties from flooding and from the damage caused by stormwater runoff, the warrant said.

In addition, the program would manage water quality by controlling the level of pollutants in stormwater runoff and the flow of water through both manmade and natural stormwater management systems.

Article 19 asks the town to accept the provisions of a law in order to establish a “Stormwater Enterprise Fund,” which would account for the revenues and expenditures of stormwater operations in Hudson. Article 20 calls for the amendment of the town’s General Bylaws to add a “Stormwater Utility Section,” which would be enforced by the Select Board.

Ryder said the program would also allow Hudson to meet state and federal regulatory requirements under the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) General Permit.

Since 2003, Hudson has had a MS4 Permit. As part of the permitting requirements, Hudson must develop a written Stormwater Management Program, which would guide the town’s implementation of requirements for the permit.

Among the MS4 General Permit requirements, the town is required to fix leaky or unauthorized sanitary sewer lines that might be discharging into the drainage system and ensure that new developments both control and treat runoff before it leaves the property.

Ryder said if the bylaw and stormwater enterprise fund are approved at Town Meeting, then he would create the rules and regulations, which would include the cost rates that would then be approved by the Select Board.

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