Town of Blackstone, MA
Worcester County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Annual Town Meeting of the Town of Blackstone 5-31-2011 by Art. 22. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Soil removal — See Ch. 109.
Water supply protection — See Ch. 118.
Wetlands — See Ch. 119.
Subdivision of land — See Ch. 191.
The purposes of this chapter are to protect water resources, prevent pollutants from entering the Town's municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), prohibit and remove illicit connections and unauthorized discharges to the MS4, promote the infiltration and recharge of groundwater, ensure that soil erosion and sedimentation control measures and runoff control practices are incorporated into the site planning and design process and are implemented and maintained, comply with state and federal statutes and regulations relating to discharges and establish the legal authority to ensure compliance with the provisions of this chapter through inspection, monitoring, and enforcement.
AGRICULTURE
The normal maintenance or improvement of land in agricultural use, as defined by MGL c. 128, § 1A.
CERTIFIED PROFESSIONAL IN EROSION AND SEDIMENT CONTROL (CPESC)
A certified specialist in soil erosion and sediment control. This certification program, sponsored by the Soil and Water Conservation Society in cooperation with the American Society of Agronomy, provides the public with evidence of professional qualifications.
CLEARING
Any activity that removes the vegetative surface cover.
CONSTRUCTION AND WASTE MATERIALS
Excess or discarded building or site materials, including but not limited to concrete truck washout, chemicals, litter and sanitary waste at a construction site that may adversely impact water quality.
EROSION
The wearing away of the land surface by natural or artificial forces such as wind, water, ice, gravity, or vehicle traffic and the subsequent detachment and transportation of soil particles.
EROSION AND SEDIMENTATION CONTROL PLAN
A document containing narrative, drawings and details developed by a qualified professional engineer (PE) or a certified professional in erosion and sedimentation control (CPESC), which includes best management practices, or equivalent measures designed to control surface runoff, erosion and sedimentation during pre-construction and construction-related land disturbance activities.
ESTIMATED HABITAT OF RARE WILDLIFE AND CERTIFIED VERNAL POOLS
Habitats delineated for state-protected rare wildlife and certified vernal pools for use with the Wetlands Protection Act Regulations (310 CMR 10.00) and the Forest Cutting Practices Act Regulations (304 CMR 11.00).
ILLICIT CONNECTION
A surface or subsurface drain or conveyance, which allows an illicit discharge into the municipal separate storm sewer 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 chapter.
ILLICIT DISCHARGE
Direct or indirect discharge to the municipal storm drain system that is not composed entirely of stormwater, except as exempted in § 110-4. 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 § 110-4A(4), of this chapter.
IMPERVIOUS SURFACE
My material or structure on or above the ground that prevents water from infiltrating the underlying soil. Impervious surface includes, without limitation, roads, paved parking lots, sidewalks, and rooftops.
MASSACHUSETTS ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
MGL c. 131A and its implementing regulations at 321 CMR 10.00 which prohibit the "taking" of any rare plant or animal species listed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern.
MASSACHUSETTS STORMWATER MANAGEMENT POLICY
The policy issued by the Department of Environmental Protection, and as amended, that coordinates the requirements prescribed by state regulations promulgated under the authority of the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act MGL c. 131, § 40, and the Massachusetts Clean Waters Act MGL c. 21, § 23 through 56. The policy addresses impacts through implementation of performance standards to reduce or prevent pollutants from reaching water bodies and control the quantity of runoff from a site.
MUNICIPAL SEPARATE STORM SEWER SYSTEM (MS4) OR MUNICIPAL STORM DRAIN SYSTEM
The system of conveyances designed or used for collecting or conveying, 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 Blackstone.
PRIORITY HABITAT OF RARE SPECIES
Habitats delineated for rare plant and animal populations protected pursuant to the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act and its regulations.
RUNOFF
Rainfall, snowmelt, or irrigation water flowing over the ground surface.
STABILIZATION
The use, singly or in combination, of mechanical, structural, or vegetative methods to prevent or retard erosion.
STORMWATER
Snowmelt runoff, surface water runoff and drainage.
STRIP
Any activity which removes the vegetative ground surface cover, including tree removal, clearing, grubbing, and storage or removal of topsoil.
VERNAL POOLS
Temporary bodies of fresh water which provide critical habitat for a number of vertebrate and invertebrate wildlife species.
WATERCOURSE
A natural or man-made channel through which water flows or a stream of water, including a river, brook, or underground stream.
WETLAND RESOURCE AREA
Areas specified in the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act MGL c. 131, § 40 and in the Town's Wetland Bylaw.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: See Ch. 119, Wetlands.
This chapter is adopted under authority granted by the Home Rule Amendment of the Massachusetts Constitution, the Home Rule statutes, and pursuant to the regulations of the federal Clean Water Act found at 40 CFR 122.34.
This chapter shall apply to:
A. 
The Town's municipal separate stormwater sewer system as follows:
(1) 
Illicit discharges. No person shall dump, discharge, cause or allow to be discharged any pollutant or nondischarge into the municipal separate storm sewer system (MS4), 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 into or out of the municipal storm drain system without prior written approval from the Director of Public Works.
(4) 
The following nondischarges or flows are exempt from the prohibition of nondischarges, 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) 
Water from exterior foundation drains, footing drains (not including active groundwater dewatering systems), crawl space pumps, or air-conditioning condensation;
(i) 
Discharge from landscape irrigation or lawn watering;
(j) 
Water from individual residential car washing;
(k) 
Discharge from dechlorinated swimming pool water (less than one ppm chlorine), provided the water is allowed to stand for one week prior to draining and the pool is drained in such a way as not to cause a nuisance;
(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;
(n) 
Nondischarge 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 Massachusetts 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 advanced written approval is received from the Director of Public Works as necessary to protect public health, safety, welfare or the environment.
B. 
Land disturbance activities as follows:
(1) 
All activities that result in the disturbance of land whose actual dimensions of disturbance total 20,000 or more square feet, or are part of a phased plan that will ultimately result in disturbance of 20,000 or more square feet and that are associated with a building permit or driveway permit.
(2) 
Except as authorized by the Planning Board in a land disturbance permit or as otherwise provided in this chapter, no person shall perform any activity that results in disturbance of 20,000 square feet or more of land. Disturbance shall be construed to mean the removal of vegetation, mineral substances or other natural or man-made materials that exposes loose soil, making it vulnerable to erosion.
C. 
The following activities are exempt from the requirement to obtain a separate land disturbance permit:
(1) 
Normal maintenance and improvement of land in agricultural use, as defined by MGL c. 128, § 1A.
(2) 
Stormwater discharges that demonstrate compliance with the Massachusetts Stormwater Management Policy resulting from the above activities that are subject to jurisdiction under:
(a) 
The Wetlands Protection Act and an order of conditions issued by the Conservation Commission;
(b) 
A permit from the Board of Health for a new or replacement septic system or well.
(3) 
For projects subject to site plan review, a Planning Board special permit or approval under the Subdivision Control Law,[1] a land disturbance permit shall be reviewed and issued by the Planning Board simultaneously as part of those other review and approval processes.
[1]
See Ch. 191, Subdivision of Land.
A. 
The Director of Public Works, under the direction of the Town Administrator and Board of Selectmen, shall administer, implement and enforce this chapter as it pertains to illicit discharges and connections.
B. 
The Planning Board shall administer and implement this chapter as it pertains to land disturbance. Enforcement shall be the responsibility of the Building Inspector or other agent that may be designated, in writing, by the Planning Board.
C. 
Rules and regulations. The Director of Public Works and the Planning Board may each adopt and periodically amend rules and regulations to effectuate the purposes of this chapter. Failure to promulgate such rules and regulations shall not have the effect of suspending or invalidating this chapter. The Conservation Commission, Planning Board and Board of Health shall ensure that their rules and regulations require compliance with the purposes of this section for projects that are within their jurisdiction and exempt from the permitting provisions of this section.
D. 
Waiver. The Director of Public Works and the Planning Board may waive strict compliance with any requirement of this chapter under their jurisdiction or the rules and regulations promulgated hereunder based on the scale, nature and location of the proposed activity, where such action:
(1) 
Is allowed by federal, state and local statutes and/or regulations;
(2) 
Is in the public interest, and
(3) 
Is not inconsistent with the purpose and intent of this chapter.
A. 
Application. A completed application for a land disturbance permit shall be filed with the Planning Board. A permit must be obtained prior to the commencement of land-disturbing activity that may result in the disturbance of an area of 20,000 square feet or more. The land disturbance permit application package shall include:
(1) 
A completed application form with original signatures of all owners.
(2) 
Seven copies of the erosion and sediment control plan as specified in § 110-7 of this chapter.
(3) 
One copy of the application form to be filed with the Town Clerk by the Planning Board.
B. 
Entry. The filing of an application for a permit hereunder shall grant to and vest in the Planning Board or its agent, permission to enter the site described in such application to verify the information in the application and to inspect for compliance with permit conditions.
C. 
Other boards.
(1) 
Following a determination of completeness, the Planning Board shall submit a copy of the application form to the Town Clerk, and shall provide one copy of the application package to the:
(a) 
Conservation Commission.
(b) 
Department of Public Works.
(c) 
Board of Health.
(d) 
Board of Selectmen.
(2) 
These entities shall provide comments to the Planning Board and/or sign off on the application within 21 days of receipt of the application package, unless an extension is granted by the applicant. Failure to provide comments within the specified time shall be interpreted as no opposition to the application. Each Board and Commission may delegate sign-off authority to its chairman or other designated member.
D. 
Information requests. The applicant shall submit all additional information requested by the Planning Board as said Planning Board shall deem necessary in order for it to issue a decision on the application.
E. 
Action by the Planning Board. The Planning Board may:
(1) 
Approve the land disturbance permit application and issue a permit if it finds that the proposed plan will protect water resources and meets the objectives and requirements of this chapter.
(2) 
Approve the land disturbance permit application and issue a permit with conditions, modifications or restrictions that the Planning Board determines are required to ensure that the project will protect water resources and meets the objectives and requirements of this chapter.
(3) 
Disapprove the land disturbance permit application and deny the permit if it finds that the proposed plan will not protect water resources or fails to meet the objectives and requirements of this chapter.
F. 
Failure of the Planning Board to take one of the above-referenced three actions upon an application within 45 days of receipt of a completed application shall be deemed an approval of said application. Upon certification by the Town Clerk that the allowed time has passed without the Planning Board's action, the land disturbance permit shall be issued by the Planning Board.
G. 
Fee structure. Each application must be accompanied by the appropriate application fee as established by the Planning Board. Applicants shall pay review fees as determined by the Planning Board sufficient to cover any expenses connected with the review of the land disturbance permit application before the review process commences. The Planning Board is hereby authorized to retain a registered professional engineer or such other professional consultants as it may deem necessary to advise the Planning Board on any or all aspects of the application, and a reasonable fee for the employment of such consultants may be imposed in accordance with the provisions of MGL c. 44, § 53G, or any other enabling authority.
H. 
Project changes. The permittee, or its agent, must notify the Planning Board, in writing, of any change or alteration of a permitted land-disturbing activity authorized in a land disturbance permit before any change or alteration occurs. If the Planning Board determines that the change or alteration is significant, based on the design requirements listed in § 110-7B and accepted construction practices, the Planning Board may, in its discretion, require that an amended land disturbance permit application be filed. If any change or alteration from activities permitted by the land disturbance permit occurs during any land-disturbing activities, the Planning Board may require the installation of interim erosion and sedimentation control measures before approving any such change or alteration.
A. 
The erosion and sediment control plan shall contain sufficient information to describe the nature and purpose of the proposed development, pertinent conditions of the site and the adjacent areas, and proposed erosion and sedimentation controls. The applicant shall submit such material and information as the Planning Board shall deem necessary to show that the proposed development will comply with the design requirements listed in Subsection B below.
B. 
The design requirements of the erosion and sediment control plan shall:
(1) 
Minimize the total area of disturbance;
(2) 
Sequence activities to minimize simultaneous areas of disturbance;
(3) 
Minimize peak rate of runoff in accordance with the Massachusetts Stormwater Management Policy;
(4) 
Minimize soil erosion and control sedimentation during construction, provided that prevention of erosion is preferred over sedimentation control;
(5) 
Divert uncontaminated water around disturbed areas;
(6) 
Maximize groundwater recharge;
(7) 
Install and maintain all erosion and sediment control measures in accordance with the manufacturers' specifications and good engineering practices;
(8) 
Prevent off-site transport of sediment;
(9) 
Protect and manage on- and off-site material storage areas (overburden and stockpiles of dirt, borrow areas, or other areas used solely in conjunction with the permitted project are considered a part of the project);
(10) 
Comply with applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations, including waste disposal, sanitary sewer or septic system regulations, and air quality requirements, including dust control;
(11) 
Prevent significant alteration of habitats mapped by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program as endangered, threatened or of special concern, estimated habitats of rare wildlife and certified vernal pools, and priority habitats of rare species from the proposed activities;
(12) 
Institute interim and permanent stabilization measures, which shall be instituted on a disturbed area as soon as practicable but no more than 14 days after construction activity has temporarily or permanently ceased on that portion of the site;
(13) 
Properly manage on-site construction and waste materials; and
(14) 
Prevent off-site vehicle tracking of sediments.
C. 
Erosion and sedimentation control plan content.
(1) 
The Plan shall contain the following information:
(a) 
Names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the owner, applicant, and person(s) or firm(s) preparing the plan;
(b) 
Title, date, North arrow, names of abutters, scale, legend, and locus map;
(c) 
Location and description of natural features, including:
[1] 
Watercourses and water bodies, wetland resource areas and all floodplain information, including the one-hundred-year flood elevation based upon the most recent Flood Insurance Rate Map, or as calculated by a professional engineer for areas not assessed on these maps;
[2] 
Existing vegetation, including tree lines, canopy layer, shrub layer, and ground cover, and trees with a caliper 12 inches or larger, noting specimen trees and forest communities; and
[3] 
Habitats mapped by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program as endangered, threatened or of special concern, estimated habitats of rare wildlife and certified vernal pools, and priority habitats of rare species within 500 feet of any construction activity.
(d) 
Lines of existing abutting streets showing drainage and driveway locations and curb cuts;
(e) 
Existing soils, volume and nature of imported soil materials;
(f) 
Topographical features, including existing and proposed contours at intervals no greater than two feet with spot elevations provided when needed;
(g) 
Surveyed property lines showing distances and monument locations, all existing and proposed easements, rights-of-way, and other encumbrances, the size of the entire parcel, and the delineation and number of square feet of the land area to be disturbed;
(h) 
Drainage patterns and approximate slopes anticipated after major grading activities (construction phase grading plans);
(i) 
Location and details of erosion and sediment control measures with a narrative of the construction sequence/phasing of the project, including both operation and maintenance for structural and nonstructural measures, interim grading, and material stockpiling areas;
(j) 
Path and mechanism to divert uncontaminated water around disturbed areas, to the maximum extent practicable;
(k) 
Location and description of industrial discharges, including discharges from dedicated asphalt plants and dedicated concrete plants, which are covered by this permit;
(l) 
Runoff calculations in accordance with the Department of Environmental Protection's Management Policy;
(m) 
Location and description of and implementation schedule for temporary and permanent seeding, vegetative controls, and other stabilization measures;
(n) 
A description of construction and waste materials expected to be stored onsite. The plan shall include a description of controls to reduce pollutants from these materials, including storage practices to minimize exposure of the materials to weather and persons, and spill prevention and response;
(o) 
A description of provisions for phasing the project where one acre of area or greater is to be altered or disturbed;
(p) 
Unless waived by the Planning Board, plans must be stamped and certified by a qualified professional engineer registered in Massachusetts or a certified professional in erosion and sediment control; and
(q) 
Such other information as is required by the Planning Board.
(2) 
The Planning Board shall have the authority to waive one or more of the above requirements when it deems it to be in the best interest of the Town to do so based on the scale, nature and location of the proposed activity and upon a finding that the intent of this section is still achieved.
A. 
Pre-construction meeting. Prior to starting clearing, excavation, construction, or land-disturbing activity, the applicant, the applicant's technical representative, the general contractor or any other person with authority to make changes to the project shall meet with the Planning Board, or its designated agent, to review the permitted plans and their implementation, the requirements of this chapter and the schedule of required inspections.
B. 
Board inspection.
(1) 
The Planning Board, or its designated agent, shall make inspections as hereinafter required and shall either approve that portion of the work completed or shall notify the permittee wherein the work fails to comply with the land disturbance permit as approved. The permit and associated plans for grading, stripping, excavating, and filling work, bearing the signature of approval of the Planning Board, shall be maintained at the site at all times during the progress of the work. In order to obtain inspections, the permittee shall notify the Planning Board or its designated agent and request an inspection at least two working days before each of the following events:
(a) 
Erosion and sediment control measures are in place and stabilized;
(b) 
Site clearing has been substantially completed;
(c) 
Rough grading has been substantially completed;
(d) 
Final grading has been substantially completed;
(e) 
Close of the construction season; and
(f) 
Final landscaping (permanent stabilization) and project final completion.
(2) 
The Planning Board will make every effort to complete the required inspections as soon as possible following a request. Also, based on the scale, nature and location of the permitted activity, the Planning Board may combine or reduce the number of inspections required as it may deem appropriate.
C. 
Permittee inspections. The permittee or his/her agent shall conduct and document inspections of all control measures no less than weekly or as specified in the permit, and prior to and following anticipated storm events. The purpose of such inspections will be to determine the overall effectiveness of the control plan, and the need for maintenance or additional control measures. The permittee or his/her agent shall submit monthly reports of such inspections to the Planning Board or its designated agent in a format approved by the Planning Board.
D. 
Access permission. To the fullest extent permitted by state law, or if authorized by the owner or other party in control of the property, the Planning Board, its agents, officers, and employees may enter upon privately owned property for the purpose of performing their duties under this chapter and may make or cause to be made such examinations, surveys or sampling as the Planning Board deems reasonably necessary to determine compliance with the permit.
Prior to the start of land disturbance activity, the Planning Board may require the permittee to post a surety bond, irrevocable letter of credit, cash, or other acceptable form of performance security. The form of the security shall be approved by Town Counsel, and shall be in an amount deemed sufficient by the Planning Board to ensure that the work will be completed in accordance with the permit. If the project is phased, the Planning Board may release part of the security as each phase is completed in compliance with the permit, but the security shall not be fully released until the Planning Board has received the final report as required by § 110-10 and issued a certificate of completion.
Upon completion of the work, the permittee shall submit a report (including certified as-built construction plans) from a professional engineer (P.E.), surveyor, or certified professional in erosion and sediment control (CPESC), certifying that all erosion and sediment control devices, and approved changes and modifications, have been completed in accordance with the conditions of the approved permit. Any discrepancies should be noted in the cover letter. Based on the scale, nature and location of the permitted activity, the Planning Board may waive the requirement that a final report be submitted by a professional and may authorize submission of a substitute affidavit by the owner attesting that the work has been completed in accordance with the conditions of the permit.
A. 
The Building Inspector or an authorized agent of the Planning Board shall enforce this chapter, any regulations, orders, violation notices, and enforcement orders issued pursuant hereto, and may pursue all civil and criminal remedies for such violations.
B. 
Orders.
(1) 
The Building Inspector or an authorized agent of the Board may issue a written order to enforce the provisions of this chapter or the regulations hereunder, which may include an order:
(a) 
To cease and desist from the land-disturbing activity until compliance with this chapter and provisions of the land-disturbance permit has been confirmed.
(b) 
For maintenance, installation or performance of additional erosion and sediment control measures.
(c) 
For monitoring, analyses, and reporting.
(d) 
For remediation of erosion and sedimentation resulting directly or indirectly from the land-disturbing activity.
(2) 
If the enforcing person determines that abatement or remediation of erosion and sedimentation is required, the order shall set forth a deadline by which such abatement or remediation must be completed. Said order shall further advise that, in the event the violator or property owner fails to promptly abate or perform remediation within the specified deadline, the Town may, at its option, undertake such work as may be necessary to abate or remediate such violation, and the property owner shall reimburse the Town's expenses.
(3) 
Within 30 days after the Town's completion of all measures necessary to abate the violation or to perform remediation, the violator and the property owner shall be notified of the costs incurred by the Town, including administrative costs in furtherance of such abatement and remediation. The violator or property owner may file a written protest objecting to the amount or basis of such costs with the Planning Board 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 Planning Board affirming or reducing the costs, or from a final decision of a court of competent jurisdiction confirming such costs, 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 pursuant to the provisions of MGL c. 40, § 57, Interest shall begin to accrue on any unpaid costs at the statutory rate, as provided in MGL c. 59, § 57, after the 31st day following the day on which the costs became due.
C. 
Criminal penalty. Any person who violates any provision of this chapter, regulation, order or permit issued thereunder shall be punished by a fine of not more than $200. Each day or part thereof that such violation occurs or continues unabated shall constitute a separate offense for the purposes of this section.
D. 
Noncriminal disposition. As an alternative to criminal prosecution or civil action, the Town may elect to utilize the noncriminal disposition procedure set forth in MGL c. 40, § 21D, and Article VII, § 5-49 of the Code of the Town of Blackstone, in which case the Director of Public Works (for violations pertaining to illicit discharges) or Building Inspector or the designated agent of the Planning Board (for violations pertaining to land disturbance activities) shall be the enforcing person. The penalty for the first violation shall be $50. The penalty for the second violation shall be $100. The penalty for the third and each subsequent violation shall be $200. Each day or part thereof that such violation occurs or continues shall constitute a separate offense.
E. 
Appeals. The decisions or orders of the Planning Board shall be appealable to the Board of Appeals. Such appeals shall be filed within 30 days of the decision or order. Further relief shall be to a court of competent jurisdiction.
F. 
Remedies not exclusive. The remedies listed in this chapter are not exclusive of any other remedies available under any applicable federal, state or local law.
The Planning Board or its designated agent shall issue a letter certifying completion upon receipt and approval of the final reports and/or upon otherwise determining that all work of the permit has been satisfactorily completed in conformance with this chapter.
If any provision, paragraph, sentence, or clause of this chapter shall be held invalid or unenforceable for any reason, all other provisions shall continue in full force and effect.