State grants to help with flood control, aquifers in Westborough


State grants to help with flood control, aquifers in Westborough
Sun shines on part of the South Cedar Swamp. The state recently awarded a $45,000 grant for flood control at Cedar Swamp. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

WESTBOROUGH – Massachusetts has announced $31.5 million in grants for climate resilience implementation and planning throughout Massachusetts.

Westborough will receive $271,950 from the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs toward an “aquifer recharge for water resiliency.”

According to the town’s Department of Public Works director, Chris Payant, one of the primary goals of the project would be to identify retrofit projects to reduce stormwater runoff and promote infiltration and treatment of stormwater.

The project would also investigate the potential to reroute and infiltrate treated wastewater effluent, which currently discharges to surface waters and flows downstream away from town rather than recharge local aquifers.

“This project has been in development for two years, and we’re excited to see it moving forward,” said Payant.

He added that the project could be completed in June 2024.

The state also awarded $45,000 toward flood control at Cedar Swamp.

Payant said the funds would be used to “investigate obstructions within Cedar Swamp, with the potential to prevent water from flowing to the Sudbury River and causing the water level of the swamp to rise.”

According to Payant, Cedar Swamp was the first Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) designated in Massachusetts. The approximately 1,650 acres provide critical flood water storage capacity for the Sudbury River basin. The area is the headwaters of the Sudbury River and overlays the medium- and high-yield aquifers that supply two public wells for Westborough.

“The designation of Cedar Swamp as an ACEC was based on its value to provide flood storage capacity, protection of water supply and public recreation,” he said. “Obstructions have the potential to negatively affect all three of these important aspects of the designation.”

These obstructions could cause flooding in downtown Westborough; the flooding of two drinking water well stations; and limiting or restricting downstream water recreation.


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