By John Anderson
As I drove down Swanson Rd. on Monday, the bright yellow of construction pipe caught my eye, similar to the first time I spotted a Canola field in Canada. This is all part of the parking lot reconstruction at 10 Swanson Rd, the current middle school.
This is essentially an underground retention pond that delays the discharge of stormwater into our rivers and streams and is compliant with modern stormwater management standards. DPW Director Bill Coyle said, “The system is designed to hold water until a storm eases.” This control is far better than releasing huge volumes of water at once.
The water is then filtered and released to recharge the groundwater in the area. That groundwater will provide a drink for grass, plants and trees in the area, and some may eventually make its way to a well to become part of our drinking water. Filtration is designed to remove many of the standard contaminants found in parking lots like drops of motor oil.
I took a look at the 27-page Massachusetts Stormwater Handbook, and it is mind numbing. Fortunately, Town Engineer Coyle and his assistant Joanna Paquin along with the staff at J.H. Lynch & Sons understand this stuff. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has set these standards, and it appears to be relatively easy to put this in place during initial construction. Similar projects are incorporated in the new middle school on West St.
MassDEP began working on the Stormwater Management Standards in 1996, and it is granted this authority by the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act, the Clean Waters Act, and the Water Quality Certification Regulations. In the end, we all benefit.