The Mystic River Watershed Association (MyRWA) has convened the Mystic River Stormwater Collaborative, a group of 13 towns and cities in the watershed dedicated to the common goal of reducing stormwater pollution, the primary source of water pollution today.
Stormwater pollution occurs when rain or snowmelt washes pollutants such as oil, fertilizers, pet waste and trash over land and into the nearest catch basin, which flows directly to the nearest water body.
As is required by the Environmental Protection Agency, municipalities are working to reduce the amount of pollutants that enter our water. One way they do this is through educating residents, businesses, developers and industry leaders in their communities on how we all can reduce stormwater pollution. MyRWA supports these efforts by creating monthly educational materials for the municipalities to disseminate.
The materials we create—social media posts, videos, brochures, flyers, press releases and educational curriculum—aim to raise public awareness about stormwater pollution and inspire stewardship.
Members of the Stormwater Collaborative
Arlington, Cambridge, Chelsea, Everett, Lexington, Medford, Reading, Revere, Somerville, Wakefield, Watertown, Winchester, and Woburn.
Monthly Clean Water Tips
Keep our rivers, lakes, ponds, and streams clean—Use de-icer smartly and sparingly!
When the snow melts, do you ever wonder where all that salt and deicer goes? You guessed it! It flows over our driveways, sidewalks, and roads, into the nearest catch basin, and directly (untreated!) into our waterways.
What’s wrong with salt, sand, and deicer in our water?
SALT in our water is not good for plants, wildlife, or people. Birds can mistake salt crystals for food, eating them and getting sick. Salt can be toxic to fish and others in aquatic systems. Salt is not good for our plants, and in many wetlands salt-tolerant invasives are crowding out our native vegetation, which then affects the wildlife that lose their food sources. And of course salt in our water supplies is not good for us -- we all know that salt is linked to high blood pressure and heart disease. Salt includes sodium chloride, as well as calcium and magnesium chloride.
Some use SAND, and while it doesn’t carry chemicals into our waterways, it does clog catch basins and cause flooding. It can also carry other pollutants into our waterways. If used, excess sand should be swept up.
DE-ICER is a preferable alternative to both salt and sand, but it is still not perfect, and should be used smartly and sparingly. Deicers include Sodium or Potassium Acetate and Calcium Magnesium Acetate.
What can YOU do to keep your pavement safe while also keeping your water clean?
Use de-icer (sodium acetate, potassium acetate, and calcium magnesium acetate) instead of salt (sodium chloride, calcium chloride, and magnesium chloride).
Shovel early and often. Remove as much snow and ice as you can, and only use de-icer on what you can’t take care of with a shovel.
Follow product instructions and only use as much de-icer as you need. More is not better.
For heavy snowfalls, shovel early and often to avoid the snow compacting and forming ice.
For wet snow or sleet and freezing rain, apply deicer product early on to prevent snow from bonding or ice from building up.
Keep our rivers, lakes, ponds and streams clean—bag Your Leaves!
Bag or compost your leaves, but do not rake them into the street or dump them down storm drains! Blocking storm drains can cause flooding, and large amounts of leaves in our water can lead to an excess of decaying organic material in waterways.
Why do leaves cause water pollution?
Left on land, leaves decompose, feeding your plants and enriching your soil. But when large amounts of leaves wash off our lawns, down our driveways, into storm drains, and ultimately into our waterways— they release phosphorus and nitrogen contributing to water pollution.
These elevated levels of nutrients in our water:
Cause “blue-green algae,” or cyanobacteria blooms, which are toxic to both humans and wildlife and are considered a public health hazard
Kill fish through the depletion of oxygen in the water, called “eutrophication”
Cause the growth of large amounts of algae and invasive plants, choking up the waterway
What can YOU do?
Keep leaves out of the storm drain and your rivers, lakes, and ponds!
Bag your leaves for curbside pick-up.
Mix your leaves into your compost pile, creating a nutrient-rich fertilizer for your plants.
Use a mulching mower and create mulch from your leaves to use in flower beds.