Four Mystic Communities to Design Green BMPs for Stormwater Improvements

Woburn, Burlington, Reading and Winchester will collectively improve their efforts to reduce non-point source pollution in the Aberjona River watershed.  The City of Woburn was awarded $49,860 through the 604(b) Water Quality Management Planning Grant by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection in June.  Woburn will lead a regional effort to identify opportunities to place “green” stormwater structures, such as raingardens and vegetated swales, in the communities of Woburn, Burlington, Reading and Winchester.

Green Best Management Practices (BMPs) represent an approach to stormwater management that is based on Low Impact Design (LID) principles.  Green BMPs feature small-scale facilities, distributed throughout the watershed, to slow down, cleanse, infiltrate, and reuse rainwater where it falls.  Several local BMP installations, including the Lexington DPW facility, have demonstrated good performance, cost effectiveness, and broad community benefits.

The participating municipalities lie within the Aberjona River watershed, which is a subwatershed of the Mystic River Watershed.  The Aberjona River watershed includes Horn Pond, Wedge Pond, and Winter Pond.  Each of these water bodies have impaired water quality due, in part, to nutrients, bacteria and sediment carried by stormwater runoff from the surrounding urban landscape.

The project will draw on the expertise of a number of key partners.  The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) will provide water quality data and assist with project management.  A Tufts University team led by Professor Richard Vogel will perform Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis to identify optimal sites that yield the largest water quality improvement.  Finally, Bioengineering Group, which has completed a number of high profile projects in the Alewife Brook sub-watershed and at the Lexington DPW, will develop conceptual designs for a BMP in each municipality.  The proposed project ultimately aims to develop conceptual designs of four BMPs – one within each municipality – that will reduce pollutant loading from respective sites to water bodies in the Aberjona River watershed.  While four BMPs will have a limited effect on the total pollutant load, this project will better equip the towns with the information, experience, and tools necessary to move forward with more widespread BMP implementation in the future.