Watertown Celebrated Arbor Day with Special Activities & Tree Care at Arsenal Park

A member of a tree crew trims dead and damaged limbs from trees at Arsenal Park as part of the Town’s Arbor Day Celebration. Trees around Arsenal Park got a trimming, and visitors learned about trees, storm water and the environment on Thursday at Watertown’s celebration of Arbor Day. Watertown Tree Warden Chris Hayward organized the celebration with the help of the Massachusetts Arborists Association and some local organizations. Crews from the Department of Public Works, Mount Auburn Cemetery, Joe Butler & Sons, and Tree Tech (on behalf of Eversource) removed dead or damaged limbs from the trees around the parking area at Arsenal Park. “This is a week’s worth of work taking place in one day,” Hayward said.

Town Looking for Ways to Reduce Amount of Water Going into Storm Drains

The Town of Watertown has multiple incentives to reduce the amount of rain water flowing into storm drains and eventually into the Charles River, including preventing street flooding and reducing the amount of pollution going into the river – which will be part of the new and stricter Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements. The EPA requirements come out in Jul and the town will receive a new permit which will include more stringent requirements to reduce pollution of the river. The Department of Public Works seeks to find ways to prevent rain water from running down streets and driveways into storm drains, and out into the Charles River, because stormwater is a major cause of pollution in the river. Sometimes small storms can be worse for pollution than bigger ones, Shuman said. “We call it the first flush,” Shuman said. “The first quarter inch of rain picks up all the pollutants from the roads and it runs into the storm drains.”

Construction in Watertown Square Parking Lot Will Stretch into December

The work on the municipal parking lot in Watertown Square, which currently has exposed cavernous holes, will not be completed on time, and will stretch at least a week past Thanksgiving. The work will improve stormwater drainage in the area along Spring Street near the municipal parking lot behind CVS, said Town Engineer Matthew Shuman. “The work was scheduled to be completed by Thanksgiving, but the contractor is a little behind schedule due to some unforeseen conditions, including an old building foundation,” said Shuman. “The work is now scheduled to be complete by December 5.” The parking lot remains open, but the amount of parking has been reduced.

Two Spots Chosen for Demonstration Stormwater Retention Projects

The Department of Public Works building and Hosmer Elementary School will have new installations that drain rainwater into the ground, rather than the town’s storm drains, and will serve as demonstration projects for what can be done around town. The search started with 22 potential sites for the demonstration projects, but that was cut down to 18 viable sites on property owned or controlled by the town. The Watertown Stormwater Advisory Committee met in September to pick two locations for the project. The group wanted to spots that would drain a significant area, be visible to the public and be located in different parts of town. The last criterium was the one that led to the Hosmer School location being chosen. The top two choices were in the parking lot of the DPW facility, and a spot at the bottom of the hill beneath Lowell Elementary School.

Find Out About Green Infrastructure, and How It Keeps the Charles River Clean

Come learn about how to making greener streets will help keep the Charles River cleaner during a workshop hosted by the Watertown Department of Public Works and the Stormwater Advisory Committee. The meeting will be held at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, June 21 at Town Hall, in the Council Chambers. When it rains, the runoff from Watertown driveways and streets goes into the stormwater system, which ends up draining into the Charles River – untreated, said Watertown Public Works Superintendent Gerald Mee. “We need to educate people, if you drop your dog waste in the storm drain it goes to the river,” Mee said. Another major concern that might not occur to residents is grass clippings, which have chemicals – including phosphorous – which is a major pollutant of the Charles River.

Town Council Approves Measures to Make Charles River Cleaner

After more than a decade of work, Watertown has a new set of storm water regulations that brings it into compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s requirements. The EPA issues a General Permit for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems for town’s which have storm water draining into rivers as part of the Federal Clean Waters Act. The permit was issued in 2003 and applies to water run-off from construction and post-construction activities. See the new stormwater ordinance by clicking here. The goal is to reduce erosion of soil in town and stop the sediment from going into the Charles River through the stormwater sewers.

Watertown DPW Gets Grant for New Ways to Handle Stormwater, Protect River

Watertown’s Department of Public Works received funds from the state to put in new, greener measures to deal with stormwater runoff and protect the Charles River. 

The DPW sent out the following announcement:

The Town of Watertown has been awarded a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to fund various planning activities that support identification and implementation of green infrastructure and other techniques to reduce non-point source pollution and improve water quality in impaired waters. The term non-point source pollution refers to contaminants that are carried to a waterway as a result of precipitation and stormwater runoff from the land or infiltration into the soil. Common types of non-point source pollution include phosphorus and nitrogen from lawn and garden fertilizers, bacteria from pet waste and waterfowl, oil and grease from parking lots and roadways and sediment from construction activities and soil erosion. Stormwater from the Town’s drainage system flows directly to the Charles River without treatment and is one of many contributors to pollution in the river. Green infrastructure is an approach to managing stormwater. Instead of flowing through downspouts, pipes, and other engineered systems directly to water bodies, green infrastructure uses vegetation, soils, and other natural elements to reduce the amount of stormwater and stormwater pollutants.