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Every year during the first full week of May, Americans across the country join together to celebrate water, our most precious natural resource, during National Drinking Water Week.

Pollution Prevention and Storm Drains

stormwater outfall
Stormwater Outfall

Boston Water and Sewer Commission’s (BWSC) stormwater system is a separate system that collects water from stormwater runoff and discharges it into receiving waters, untreated, around Boston. The system consists of approximately 424 miles of storm drain, 201 storm drain outfalls and 19,708 storm drains or catch basins.

Discharges to BWSC’s storm drainage system are regulated under US. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) National Pollutant Discharge Elimination Systems (NPDES) Stormwater Permit Regulations. Under the permit, BWSC is required to develop and implement stormwater pollution prevention and management programs that are designed to reduce the discharge of pollutants to the storm drainage system.

As rainwater and snowmelt runs over the ground, it picks up pollutants and debris that have been carelessly or illegally deposited onto our streets or directly into the storm drains. To prevent this from happening, this section will offer pollution control methods for:

For Residents

Learn what pollutants are commonly found on our streets and how to prevent them for entering the storm drains. Also learn what to do with used motor oil, gasoline, antifreeze, cleaning agents, pesticides and paint.

For Businesses

Business owners have a responsibility for all pollutants leaving their property, including contaminated stormwater. This section provides guidelines for you and your employees can do to prevent pollutants from getting into the streets and storm drains.

For Construction Sites

As stormwater flows over a construction site, it picks up pollutants that are transported into drainage system. In addition, uncontrolled erosion can have a significant financial impact on a construction project. This section will help you determine if you need a stormwater discharge permit or other permits for your construction activity.

Scoop the Poop

Calling all dog owners!!! The City of Boston’s dog fouling ordinance, also called the Pooper Scooper Law, requires that dog owners remove and properly dispose of dog feces. Learn why it is important to be a responsible dog owner.

Remember, dumping any material into the storm drains is illegal with fines up to $5,000 per day of violation. If you observe someone dumping into a storm drain, report it immediately to BWSC at 617-989-7000.

Fats, Oils & Grease

Fats, oils, and grease (FOG) that enter the sewer system through drains can congeal to form blockages and lead to sanitary sewer overflows (SSOs). SSOs are backups in either the public sewer or residential plumbing and pose a significant risk to household plumbing and public sewer systems. This section outlines simple steps that residents can take to prevent FOG from adversely affecting their homes and communities.

If you see a storm drain that is clogged with debris, report it to BWSC for cleaning (617-989-7000).

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Copyright © 2014 Boston Water and Sewer Commission 980 Harrison Ave. Boston, MA 02119 617-989-7000