Town of Groton, MA
Middlesex County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Groton 4-28-2008 by Art. 25. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Flood damage prevention — See Ch. 141.
Sewers — See Ch. 190.
Stormwater management — See Ch. 198.
Water supply — See Ch. 210.
Zoning — See Ch. 218.
Subsurface sewage disposal regulations (Board of Health) — See Ch. 315.
Stormwater design criteria (Earth Removal Advisory Committee) — See Ch. 352, Art. II.

§ 154-1 Purpose.

A. 
Increased volumes of stormwater and contaminated stormwater runoff are major causes of: (1) impairment of water quality and reduced flow in lakes, ponds, streams, rivers, wetlands and groundwater; (2) contamination of drinking water supplies; (3) alteration or destruction of aquatic and wildlife habitat; and (4) flooding. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has identified land disturbance and polluted stormwater runoff as major sources of water pollution. Regulation of illicit connections and discharges to the municipal storm drain system is necessary for the protection of the Town of Groton's water bodies and groundwater resources and to safeguard the public health, safety, and welfare and the natural resources of the Town.
B. 
The objectives of this bylaw are:
(1) 
To prevent pollutants from entering the Town of Groton's municipal storm drain system;
(2) 
To prohibit illicit connections and unauthorized discharges to the municipal storm drain system;
(3) 
To require the removal of all such illicit connections;
(4) 
To comply with state and federal statutes and regulations relating to stormwater discharges; and
(5) 
To establish the legal authority to ensure compliance with the provisions of this bylaw through inspection, monitoring, and enforcement.

§ 154-2 Definitions.

For the purposes of this bylaw, the following shall mean:
CLEAN WATER ACT
The Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. § 1251 et seq.) as hereafter amended.
DISCHARGE OF POLLUTANTS
The addition from any source of any pollutant or combination of pollutants into the municipal storm drain system or into the waters of the United States or Commonwealth from any source.
GROUNDWATER
Water beneath the surface of the ground, including confined or unconfined aquifers.
ILLICIT CONNECTION
A surface or subsurface drain or conveyance, which allows an illicit discharge into the municipal storm drain system, including without limitation sewage, process wastewater, or wash water and any connections from indoor drains, sinks, or toilets, regardless of whether said connection was previously allowed, permitted, or approved before the effective date of this bylaw.
ILLICIT DISCHARGE
Direct or indirect discharge to the municipal storm drain system that is not composed entirely of stormwater, except as exempted in § 154-7. The term does not include a discharge in compliance with an NPDES Stormwater Discharge Permit or a Surface Water Discharge Permit, or resulting from fire fighting activities exempted pursuant to § 154-7, subsection B, of this bylaw.
MUNICIPAL STORM DRAIN SYSTEM or MUNICIPAL SEPARATE STORM SEWER SYSTEM (MS4)
The system of conveyances designed or used for collecting or conveying stormwater, including any road with a drainage system, street, gutter, curb, inlet, piped storm drain, pumping facility, retention or detention basin, natural or man-made or altered drainage channel, reservoir, and other drainage structure that together comprise the storm drainage system owned or operated by the Town of Groton.
NATIONAL POLLUTANT DISCHARGE ELIMINATION SYSTEM (NPDES) STORMWATER DISCHARGE PERMIT
A permit issued by United States Environmental Protection Agency or jointly with the state that authorizes the discharge of pollutants to waters of the United States.
NON-STORMWATER DISCHARGE
Discharge to the municipal storm drain system not composed entirely of stormwater.
PERSON
An individual, partnership, association, firm, company, trust, corporation, agency, authority, department or political subdivision of the Commonwealth or the federal government, to the extent permitted by law, and any officer, employee, or agent of such person.
POLLUTANT
Any element or property of sewage, agricultural, industrial or commercial waste, runoff, leachate, heated effluent, or other matter whether originating at a point or nonpoint source, that is considered toxic to humans or the environment and may be introduced into any sewage treatment works or waters of the Commonwealth. Pollutants shall include, but not be limited to:
A. 
Paints, varnishes, and solvents;
B. 
Oil and other automotive fluids;
C. 
Nonhazardous liquid and solid wastes and yard wastes;
D. 
Refuse, rubbish, garbage, litter, or other discarded or abandoned objects, ordnances, accumulations and floatables;
E. 
Pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers;
F. 
Hazardous materials and wastes; sewage, fecal coliform and pathogens;
G. 
Dissolved and particulate metals;
H. 
Animal wastes;
I. 
Rock; sand; salt, soils;
J. 
Construction wastes and residues; and
K. 
Noxious or offensive matter of any kind.
PROCESS WASTEWATER
Water which, during manufacturing or processing, comes into direct contact with or results from the production or use of any material, intermediate product, finished product, or waste product.
STORMWATER
Runoff from precipitation or snow melt.
SURFACE WATER DISCHARGE PERMIT
A permit issued by the Department of Environmental Protection pursuant to 314 CMR 3.00 that authorizes the discharge of pollutants to waters of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
TOXIC OR HAZARDOUS MATERIAL OR WASTE
Any material which, because of its quantity, concentration, chemical, corrosive, flammable, reactive, toxic, infectious or radioactive characteristics, either separately or in combination with any substance or substances, constitutes a present or potential threat to human health, safety, welfare, or to the environment. Toxic or hazardous materials include any synthetic organic chemical, petroleum product, heavy metal, radioactive or infectious waste, acid and alkali, and any substance defined as toxic or hazardous under M.G.L. C. 21C and C. 21E, and the regulations at 310 CMR 30.000 and 310 CMR 40.0000.
WASTEWATER
Any sanitary waste, sludge, or septic tank or cesspool overflow, and water that during manufacturing, cleaning or processing, comes into direct contact with or results from the production or use of any raw material, intermediate product, finished product, byproduct or waste product.
WATERCOURSE
A natural or man-made channel through which water flows, or a stream of water, including a river, brook or underground stream.
WATERS OF THE COMMONWEALTH
All waters within the jurisdiction of the Commonwealth, including, without limitation, rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, springs, impoundments, estuaries, wetlands, costal waters, and groundwater.

§ 154-3 Applicability.

This bylaw shall apply to flows entering the municipal storm drainage system.

§ 154-4 Authority.

This bylaw is adopted under authority granted by the Home Rule Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution, the Home Rule statutes, and in accordance with the regulations of the federal Clean Water Act found at 40 CFR 122.34 and the Phase II ruling from the Environmental Protection Agency found in the December 8, 1999, Federal Register.

§ 154-5 Responsibility for administration.

[Amended 4-26-2010 ATM, Art. 13]
The Director of Public Works and Earth Removal Stormwater Advisory Committee shall administer, implement and enforce this bylaw. Any powers granted to or duties imposed upon the Highway Department may be delegated in writing by the Director of Public Works to employees or agents of the Town of Groton.

§ 154-6 Regulations.

[Amended 4-26-2010 ATM, Art. 13]
The Director of Public Works and Earth Removal Stormwater Advisory Committee may promulgate rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this bylaw. Failure by the Director of Public Works and Earth Removal Stormwater Advisory Committee to promulgate such rules and regulations shall not have the effect of suspending or invalidating this bylaw.

§ 154-7 Prohibited and exempt activities.

A. 
Prohibited activities.
(1) 
Illicit discharges. No person shall dump, discharge, cause, or allow to be discharged any pollutant or non-stormwater discharge into the municipal storm drain system, into a watercourse, or into the waters of the Commonwealth.
(2) 
Illicit connections. No person shall construct, use, allow, maintain, or continue any illicit connection to the municipal storm drain system, regardless of whether the connection was permissible under applicable law, regulation, or custom at the time of connection.
(3) 
Obstruction of municipal storm drain system. No person shall obstruct or interfere with the normal flow of stormwater into or out of the municipal storm drain system without prior written approval from the Director of Public Works.
[Amended 4-26-2010 ATM, Art. 13]
B. 
Exemptions.
(1) 
Discharge or flow resulting from fire-fighting activities;
(2) 
The following non-stormwater discharges or flows are exempt from this bylaw, provided that the source is not a significant contributor of a pollutant to the municipal storm drain system:
(a) 
Waterline flushing;
(b) 
Flow from potable water sources;
(c) 
Springs;
(d) 
Natural flow from riparian habitats and wetlands;
(e) 
Diverted stream flow;
(f) 
Rising groundwater;
(g) 
Uncontaminated groundwater infiltration as defined in 40 CFR 35.2005(20), or uncontaminated pumped groundwater;
(h) 
Discharge from landscape irrigation or lawn watering;
(i) 
Water from exterior foundation drains, footing drains (not including active groundwater dewatering systems), crawl space pumps, or air conditioning condensation;
(j) 
Water from individual residential car washing;
(k) 
Discharge from dechlorinated swimming pool water (less than one ppm chlorine), provided test data is submitted to the Town substantiating that the water meets the one ppm standard, and the pool is drained in such a way as not to cause a nuisance or public safety issue and complies with all applicable Town bylaws;
(l) 
Discharge from street sweeping;
(m) 
Dye testing, provided verbal notification is given to the Director of Public Works prior to the time of the test;
[Amended 4-26-2010 ATM, Art. 13]
(n) 
Non-stormwater discharge permitted under an NPDES permit or a Surface Water Discharge Permit, waiver, or waste discharge order administered under the authority of the United States Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Environmental Protection, provided that the discharge is in full compliance with the requirements of the permit, waiver, or order and applicable laws and regulations; and
(o) 
Discharge for which advance written approval is received from the Director of Public Works as necessary to protect public health, safety, welfare or the environment.
[Amended 4-26-2010 ATM, Art. 13]
(3) 
Discharge or flow that results from exigent conditions and occurs during a state of emergency declared by any agency of the federal or state government, or by the Board of Selectmen or Board of Health.

§ 154-8 Registration of sump pumps.

[Amended 4-26-2010 ATM, Art. 13]
The owner of a sump pump discharging to the municipal storm drain system shall register the discharge with the Director of Public Works and Earth Removal Stormwater Advisory Committee by January 1, 2009. Procedures and requirements shall be defined and included as part of any rules and regulations promulgated as permitted under § 154-6 of this bylaw.

§ 154-9 Emergency suspension of storm drainage system access.

[Amended 4-26-2010 ATM, Art. 13]
The Director of Public Works or Earth Removal Stormwater Inspector may suspend municipal storm drain system access to any person or property without prior written notice when such suspension is necessary to stop an actual or threatened discharge of pollutants that presents imminent risk of harm to the public health, safety, welfare or the environment. In the event any person fails to comply with an emergency suspension order, the Director of Public Works and Earth Removal Stormwater Inspector may take all reasonable steps to prevent or minimize harm to the public health, safety, welfare or the environment.

§ 154-10 Notification of spills.

Notwithstanding other requirements of local, state or federal law, as soon as a person responsible for a facility or operation, or responsible for emergency response for a facility or operation, has information of or suspects a release of materials at that facility or operation resulting in or which may result in discharge of pollutants to the municipal drainage system or waters of the Commonwealth, the person shall take all necessary steps to ensure containment and cleanup of the release. Procedures and requirements shall be defined and included as part of any rules and regulations promulgated as permitted under § 154-6 of this bylaw.

§ 154-11 Enforcement; penalties; right of entry; appeals.

[Amended 4-26-2010 ATM, Art. 13]
A. 
Authorized agent. The Director of Public Works, Earth Removal Stormwater Inspector, or an authorized agent of the Director of Public Works shall enforce this bylaw, regulations, orders, violation notices, and enforcement orders, and may pursue all civil and criminal remedies for such violations.
B. 
Civil relief. If a person violates the provisions of this bylaw, regulations, permit, notice, or order issued thereunder, the Director of Public Works or Earth Removal Stormwater Advisory Committee may seek injunctive relief in a court of competent jurisdiction restraining the person from activities which would create further violations or compelling the person to perform abatement or remediation of the violation.
C. 
Orders.
(1) 
The Director of Public Works, Earth Removal Stormwater Inspector, or an authorized agent of the Director of Public Works may issue a written order to enforce the provisions of this bylaw or the regulations thereunder, which may include:
(a) 
Elimination of illicit connections or discharges to the municipal storm drain system;
(b) 
Performance of monitoring, analyses, and reporting;
(c) 
That unlawful discharges, practices, or operations shall cease and desist; and
(d) 
Remediation of contamination in connection therewith.
(2) 
If the enforcing person determines that abatement or remediation of contamination is required, the order shall set forth a deadline by which such abatement or remediation must be completed. Said order shall further advise that, should the violator or property owner fail to abate or perform remediation within the specified deadline, the Town of Groton may, at its option, undertake such work, and all costs incurred by the Town shall be charged to the violator, to be recouped through all available means, including the placement of liens on the property.
(3) 
Within 30 days after completing all measures necessary to abate the violation or to perform remediation, the violator and the property owner will be notified of the costs incurred by the Town, including administrative costs. The violator or property owner may file a written protest objecting to the amount or basis of costs with the Director of Public Works and Earth Removal Stormwater Advisory Committee within 30 days of receipt of the notification of the costs incurred. If the amount due is not received by the expiration of the time in which to file a protest or within 30 days following a decision of the Director of Public Works and Earth Removal Stormwater Advisory Committee affirming or reducing the costs, or from a final decision of a court of competent jurisdiction, the costs shall become a special assessment against the property owner and shall constitute a lien on the owner's property for the amount of said costs. Interest shall begin to accrue on any unpaid costs at the statutory rate provided in M.G.L. C. 59, § 57 after the 31st day at which the costs first become due.
D. 
Criminal penalty. Any person who violates any provision of this bylaw, regulation, order or permit issued thereunder shall be punished by a fine of not more than $300. Each day or part thereof that such violation occurs or continues shall constitute a separate offense.
E. 
Non-criminal disposition. As an alternative to criminal prosecution or civil action, the Town of Groton may elect to utilize the non-criminal disposition procedure set forth in M.G.L. C. 40, § 21D, in which case the Director of Public Works and Earth Removal Stormwater Inspector, or an authorized agent of the Director of Public Works, shall be the enforcing person. The penalty for each violation shall be $ 300. Each day or part thereof that such violation occurs or continues shall constitute a separate offense.
F. 
Entry to perform duties under this bylaw. To the extent permitted by state law, or if authorized by the owner or other party in control of the property, the Director of Public Works and Earth Removal Stormwater Advisory Committee, Earth Removal Stormwater Inspector, its agents, officers, and employees may enter upon privately owned property for the purpose of performing their duties under this bylaw and regulations and may make or cause to be made such examinations, surveys or sampling as the Director of Public Works, Earth Removal Stormwater Advisory Committee or Earth Removal Stormwater Inspector deems reasonably necessary.
G. 
Appeals. The decisions or orders of the Director of Public Works and Earth Removal Stormwater Advisory Committee shall be final. Further relief shall be to a court of competent jurisdiction.
H. 
Remedies not exclusive. The remedies listed in this bylaw are not exclusive of any other remedies available under any applicable federal, state or local law.

§ 154-12 Severability.

The provisions of this bylaw are hereby declared to be severable. If any provision, paragraph, sentence, or clause, of this bylaw or the application thereof to any person, establishment, or circumstances shall be held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect the other provisions or application of this bylaw.

§ 154-13 Transitional provisions.

[Amended 4-26-2010 ATM, Art. 13]
Residential property owners shall have 180 days from the effective date of the bylaw to comply with its provisions or petition the Director of Public Works and Earth Removal Stormwater Advisory Committee for an extension.