The Department of Public Works improves water quality through the Town of Wakefield’s Stormwater Management Program. Stormwater is rainfall or snowmelt. Stormwater pollution occurs when rain falls from the sky and, rather than getting absorbed into the ground, lands on impervious surfaces like roofs, driveways, and streets. The water then flows into a catch basin, picking up pollutants like oils, fertilizers, pet feces, and trash along the way. This water goes untreated into our waterbodies. 

Why is Stormwater Management Important?

Water runs rapidly into catch basins and drainage ditches and can cause:

  • Downstream floodingraindrops hitting grass and arrows showing its movement into the ground
  • Stream bank erosion
  • Increased turbidity (muddiness created by stirred up sediment) from erosion
  • Habitat destruction
  • Combined storm and sanitary sewer system overflows
  • Infrastructure damage
  • Contaminated streams and rivers

Some common pollutants caused by residential activities include:

  • Pet waste
  • Litter
  • Motor oil
  • Yard clippings
  • Fertilizers and pesticides
  • Soapy car wash water

Town of Wakefield Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4)

Are sanitary sewer systems and a storm sewer systems are the same? No. Water that goes down a sink or other inside drain flows to either a wastewater treatment plant or to a septic system for treatment. Storm-sewer flows are not treated. Water that flows down driveways, streets, and outside areas into a storm sewer or ditch flows directly to nearby creeks, fish and wildlife habitats, downstream recreational areas, and drinking water supplies.

The Department of Public Works manages the Town's Municipal Separate Storm System (MS4). This system, also known as the drainage system, includes drainage pipe connecting to catch basins (also called storm drains) and drainage manholes. The Town is authorized to discharge stormwater through the Phase II National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) general permit for small MS4s. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees the NPDES Phase II permitting program. In order to comply with the program, the Department of Public Works developed the Town’s Stormwater Management Program as it relates to the six minimum control measures, which are implemented through a series of Best Management Practices (BMPs):

  • Public education and outreach
  • Public involvement and participation
  • Illicit discharge detection and elimination
  • Construction site stormwater runoff control
  • Post-construction stormwater management
  • Pollution prevention and good housekeeping

Questions or Concerns

Please contact the Wakefield DPW at (781) 246-6301 or create service request if you have any concerns relating to catch basins or stormwater runoff.