DEP Commitment Letter to the 1991 CCMP

December 7, 1990

Dear Secretary DeVillars and Administrator Belaga:

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has taken an active role in the development of the Buzzards Bay Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP). Over the last few months, DEP has evaluated the goals, objectives and commitments outlined in the draft CCMP. Much of the responsibility required by this important document falls to DEP for implementation. We take this responsibility seriously. The following attachment summarizes the major DEP commitments and target dates for completing them.

The regulatory framework to meet these commitments currently exists. Certain regulations such as Title 5 (the State Sanitary Code) and the Water Quality Standards are proposed for regular review and update and will further strengthen the Department’s ability to improve water quality. Over the next three years, DEP will incorporate the implementation goals into our program plans and will strive to meet or exceed each of the commitments.

Based on our review of the draft document, we believe that the goals of the CCMP can be met by the cooperative relationship of DEP and local environmental officials, supported by EPA. I look forward to working together to make this country’s first CCMP a success to protect the important resources of Buzzards Bay.

Very truly yours,

Daniel Greenbaum



Managing Nitrogen Sensitive Embayments

DEP will adopt a regulatory standard for nitrogen inputs to sensitive embayments in its 1993 revision to State Water Quality Standards. Target Date: 6/93.

Interim Actions

By 12/92 DEP will adopt a regulatory. policy on nitrogen loading to coastal waters and field test it. DEP will prepare a nitrogen budget and nitrogen-specific waste load allocation for Marion Harbor (specific monitoring and loading studies will be coordinated with EPA’s Waquoit Bay Project which is determining nitrogen transport and uptake mechanisms for that Bay). Using this information, DEP’s Antidegradation Task Force will adopt an interim policy on nitrogen control and will develop a nutrient water quality standard. EPA and the Buzzards Bay NEP (BBP) will develop a list of nitrogen-sensitive embayments in Buzzards Bay (using embayment flushing rates currently being developed by the Project) which will be used to determine where to apply the state standard.

DEP will actively promote the development and acceptance of cost-effective alternative technologies for denitrification. Target

Date: 12/91.

Interim Actions

DEP will continue to provide technical assistance and oversight to the town of Marion in developing its solar aquatics system for wastewater treatment.

Protecting and Enhancing Shellfish Resources

DEP will take enforcement for significant illegal discharges identified by DMF’s sanitary surveys. Target Date: 12/93.

Controlling Stormwater Runoff

DEP will work cooperatively with EPA and develop a policy on stormwater permitting (addressing prioritization of discharges and permit requirements) and DEP will include provisions for stormwater permitting in its State Water Quality Standards. DEP will coordinate its regulatory authority (under MGL Ch. 131 s. 40, 310 CMR 4.00, Water quality certifications, NPDES) for controlling stormwater runoff.

Target Date: 6/93.

Interim Actions

DEP in association with EPA will conduct a pilot stormwater permitting project in one or two Buzzards Bay towns. During the summer of 1991, discharges in these towns will be monitored before and after rain events by DEP and EPA. In late 1991 and early 1992, using the information gathered during this sampling project, DEP and EPA will issue joint permits for those discharges which are causing a significant water quality impact. In addition, DEP will work with EPA and the Town(s) to develop a policy on how many new discharges can be allowed or what types of best management practices must be put into place without causing state water quality criteria to be exceeded.

The DEP Antidegradation Task Force will consider the results of the above project in developing its stormwater policy for adoption in the 1993 revisions of the state water quality criteria.

Managing sanitary Waste from Boats

Using its Chapter 91 permitting authority, DEP will require new marinas or expansions of existing marinas (greater than 10 additional slips) to have adequate pumpout facilities. Target Date: 12/92.

DEP will implement a policy ensuring adequate management treatment for sewage pumped from boats. Target Date: 1992.

DEP will implement a policy to eliminate toxic additives in marine sanitation devices. Target Date: 1991.

Interim Actions

DEP is currently developing its revisions to Title 5. An initial study is due 3/91, with final revisions scheduled by 12/91. In addition, DEP has completed a final Generic EIR on the use of Privately-owned Sewage Treatment Facilities (PSTFs). These studies will form the basis of DEP policies/regulations on the use of septic systems.

Protecting Wetland and Marine Habitat

DEP will use its water quality certification authority under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act and in conjunction with the

Wetlands Protection Act to:

Require an analysis of alternative strategies and options before wetlands are allowed to be destroyed or altered, and only allow destruction under extreme circumstances or in projects with an overriding public purpose.

Require restoration or replication of any wetlands that are allowed to be altered or destroyed at a ratio of at

least 1:1.

Require the same level of analysis and protection for isolated vegetated wetlands and intermittent streams as for other wetland areas.

DEP will implement its Wetlands Conservancy Program in Mattapoisett and Westport. Target Date: 1993.

Interim Actions

This initiative will include DEP conducting aerial flyovers and digitizing wetland areas using the ensuing photographs.  Title restrictions governing alteration of wetlands will be placed on properties containing identified wetlands. This process has already successfully taken place in other Buzzard Bay towns.

DEP will establish criteria for designating wetlands as waters of the Commonwealth using water quality standards and subjecting them to stringent controls under the Antidegradation provision of the Clean Water Act. Target Date: 1992.

Planning for a Shifting Shoreline

DEP will amend its wetlands regulations and adopt performance standards for the resource area “Land Subject to Coastal Storm Flowage” (100 year floodplain). Target Date: 1991.

Managing Sewage Treatment Facilities

DEP will designate all existing aquatic Areas of critical Environmental Concern (ACECS) as outstanding resource waters subject to the highest level of protection under the Antidegradation provisions of the Clean Water Act. DEP will work with the BBP, CZM and the Cape Cod Commission to determine if additional areas within the Buzzards Bay watershed should be designated as ACECS. Target Date: 1992.