In an effort to clean up the Charles River—and as the result of years of CLF advocacy—residents in Bellingham, Franklin, and Milford, MA may soon be obligated to comply with a proposed EPA mandate to reduce phosphorus runoff by 65 percent. As with most important initiatives to restore our environment, implementing this program will cost money, and there are constituencies opposed. This Milford Daily News article chronicles some of the factors at stake and how residents have reacted to the news.
What’s most exciting about the public dialogue is to see that the discussions have advanced to real thinking about HOW to finance cleanups through stormwater utilities and other fee structures for reducing polluted runoff. In Massachusetts, polluted runoff is the number one cause of water pollution. Conversations about how to secure dedicated funding to solve the problem have generally only happened in a few communities under enforcement orders. They had to sort out issues of what’s fair, what’s practical, and what’s most palatable to residents in order to finance the fixes. Now we’re seeing similar discussions in more communities where new stormwater regulations are proposed. These communities can serve as a model of forward-thinking investment in the clean waters that are critical to a thriving New England.