Stormwater is water from rain or melting snow that doesn't soak into the ground but instead flows over roofs, pavement, bare soil and slope lawns into storm drains or directly into water bodies. As stormwater flows, it picks up soil, animal waste, salt, pesticides, fertilizers , oil and grease, liter and other potential pollutants. Underground pipes carry stormwater to the nearest waterway, usually with little or no treatment. So, whatever flows down a storm drain comes out in a nearby water body, such as the Charles River, Crystal Lake, Hammond and Bullough's Ponds or one of our many brooks (streams).
Picture credit: City of Richmond, VA
Clean water is necessary for drinking, swimming, fishing, boating, and for protecting wildlife. It is far less costly to prevent pollution to water bodies than it is to clean them up after the fact. Keeping stormwater clean not only benefits our neighborhood and community, but the entire network of water bodies and land that make up our watershed.
Newton’s drainage system consists of 320 miles of pipe, 12,750 storm drains (also known as catch basins), 384 outfalls, 14 miles of stream, 2 pump stations, 14 ponds and one lake, Crystal Lake. The Department of Public Works manages our drainage system, also known as a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4) because we have separate systems to handle the City’s wastewater and stormwater collection. Click here for our MS4 Drainage system map.
Please follow the link above to locate your nearest catch basin and learn where your stormwater goes.
It’s a big job to maintain all this infrastructure and comply with the MS4 Federal permit requirements. We accomplish this through our stormwater fee program where property owners pay a fee commensurate to their impact on our system. For simplicity, all residential homeowners pay a flat fee of $75 per year; all other property owners pay based on the amount of impervious area on their property. The stormwater rates can be found here. The ordinance that established our current stormwater rates can be found here. Stormwater fees are included on your quarterly water / sewer bill.
If you undertake measures to capture, collect and recharge stormwater on your property, you may be eligible for a credit on your stormwater bill. To find out if you qualify, read the guidelines and submit your application. If you have any questions, please call 617-796-1640.
Newton’s Stormwater Management Program
The City is authorized to discharge stormwater through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) General Permit for Small MS4’s in Massachusetts. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees the NPDES program with support from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental (MaDEP). To comply with the permit, the City must follow six Minimum Control Measures (MCM).
Learn more about Newton’s program:
Please HELP KEEP OUR WATERWAYS CLEAN, by following these tips!
We are not alone in this effort, communities across the state are working to promote cleaner waterways and encouraging people to do their part. Watch the Think Blue Massachusetts video (click on green text) and read a recent Boston Globe article here.
More Information about Newton’s Stormwater Program
The City completed a comprehensive review of our drainage infrastructure needs. After a year of study, our consultant developed a Stormwater Infrastructure Improvement Plan (SIIP). Links to a presentation, the executive summary and final report below.