Through a grant provided by the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) as part of the State’s Clean Water Initiative, the Town of Milton and the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission (CCRPC) have recently completed a Stormwater Master Plan for the Town. This type of planning is critical to the Town’s efforts to comply with its stormwater permit requirements.
Using the DEC grant funds, plus matching funds from the Town, the CCRPC hired Fitzgerald Environmental Consulting of Colchester to develop the Plan. The Plan included a review of pre‐existing data, an on‐the-ground‐assessment of stormwater runoff and erosion problem areas and a detailed identification of more than fifty potential projects to address those problems. The Plan concluded with two key components to aid the Town and its staff with addressing the challenge of managing stormwater: the preparation of conceptual plans and budget estimates for fifteen of the fifty problem areas and the development of initial calculations and compliance mechanisms for the Town to complete a Phosphorus Control Plan (PCP).
Projects recommended by the Plan will be considered by the Town for final design and implementation over the next several years. The projects have also been forwarded to the Vermont DEC for inclusion in a State-managed list of potential water quality improvement projects. Information in the Plan regarding how to achieve reductions in runoff from municipal roads and municipal land will enable the Town to develop a Phosphorus Control Plan to meet a new requirement of its Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) permit.
Milton is an MS4 Community
Polluted stormwater runoff is commonly transported through municipal separate storm sewer systems and discharged, untreated, into local water bodies. An MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System), is a conveyance or system of conveyances owned by a state, city, village of other public entity discharging to waters of the United States, designed or used to collect or convey stormwater, such as storm drains, pipes, ditches, etc.
The Town of Milton is a designated MS4 community, and required to operate and maintain its stormwater conveyance system in accordance with MS4 General Permit 3-9014 from the State of Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.
Impacts of Stormwater Runoff
Impervious surfaces such as buildings and parking lots created by land development, causes rainwater and snow-melt to flow quickly over the landscape instead of percolating naturally into the ground. Stormwater can increase flow velocities in local streams, resulting in the potential for flooding, erosion of stream banks, destruction of aquatic habitat, and damage to public and private property. Additionally, as stormwater flows off impermeable surfaces, it picks up pollutants from automobiles, lawn fertilizers, bacteria from pet waste, and nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous naturally found in soils. These pollutants can flow directly into local streams and lakes, and have a negative impact on water quality. Such is the case with phosphorous and other contaminants flowing into Lake Champlain.
The Town of Milton has developed a Stormwater Management Plan, a Stormwater Master Plan, an Illicit Discharge and Stormwater Connection Ordinance, and Department of Public Works Specifications to assist in meeting the requirements of the General Permit. The goal of these efforts is to reduce pollutants from entering our local waterways, including Mallet’s Creek, Allen Brook, the Lamoille River, and Lake Champlain.
While the efforts taken to mitigate stormwater runoff and contaminants entering waterways meet the requirements of the Town of Milton’s MS4 Permit, they also serve the purpose of the town being a good steward of the local environment, and leaving it in good condition for future generations.
Activities Undertaken in Milton
Some of the actions the Town is taking to mitigate stormwater runoff are:
Catch basin and storm drain cleaning town wide
Rock lining of ditches with steep grades and on hydrologically connected road segments
Culvert repair and replacement
Education and outreach activities
Mural painting and stenciling of catch basins
Planning efforts for stormwater mitigation projects
Review of development projects for stormwater management design
Maintaining compliance with state permits
Storm drains flow directly to lakes and streams, acting as a conduit for trash and pollutants. Adopt-a-Drain asks residents to adopt a storm drain in their neighborhood and keep it clear of leaves, trash, and other debris to reduce water pollution.
By adopting a drain residents can make a difference in reducing pollutants from entering our local waterways and Lake Champlain.
All you have to do is adopt your drain and keep it clear of leaves, trash, and other debris to reduce water pollution. Want to know how to get started? Visit Adopt-a-Drain to adopt a drain in your neighborhood. Rethink Runoff also offers helpful tips on how to clear drains and prevent everyday pollutants from contaminating our water systems. Don’t forget to broadcast all of your hard work by tagging the Town of Milton on Facebook.
Want to take your efforts a step further? Simple tasks like picking up litter, recycling/reusing road and driveway salt and picking up after your dog can help to make a difference as well.