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Water Quality Westport River Watershed Alliance

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The Stormwater Remediation Project at the Head of Westport / 319 Project

In early November 2003, work on a specially engineered, constructed wetland began at the Head of Westport off Old County Road. The construction on the project began due to years of work spearheaded by WRWA, in partnership with the Town of Westport, the Buzzards Bay Project, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and the ESS Group, Inc. This program is funded by the DEP’s Nonpoint Source Pollution Program (s.319).

The Town of Westport was awarded a $264,332 grant from the state’s 319 program to construct the wetland for stormwater remediation. Without the years of WRWA’s consistent water quality monitoring data, financial investment in the project and tireless effort to maintain the partnerships among the various stakeholders, the project, which should lead to significant improvements in water quality in the Westport River, would have never happened.

The environmental consulting firm ESS Group, Inc. of Wellesley, MA, was contracted to develop an engineered solution to treat stormwater runoff at the Head of Westport. After a year-long study, ESS recommended that stormwater runoff entering the Westport River from a culvert on the east bank be diverted into a constructed wetland where it would be treated before being discharged into the Westport River. The groundbreaking in early November marked the beginning of the creation of this wetland.

The wetland will help to filter out pathogens at the Head of Westport and ultimately help us reach our goal to have the river in this area cleaned up for swimming, fishing and shellfishing. We thank the Town of Westport, the ESS Group, the Buzzards Bay Project, the State of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and especially our members, whose financial support have made the project possible.

WRWA continues to collect water quality monitoring data in the project area, as part of the requirements for the grant funding of this project. Now that the remediation systems are complete, data collection results can show water quality improvements in this segment of the Westport River.

In 2012 the second phase of this project began. The next phase involves the reduction of stormwater runoff from the parking lots of the Westport Elementary School and Westport Middle School Complex. The project will implement low impact design and bioretention for stormwater control. The goal of the second phase is to reduce the amount of polluted runoff coming from the paved/hard surfaces in the area, and use raingardens with natural vegetation to remove pollutants. The project was designed with help from the WRWA, the Buzzards Bay National Estuaries Program, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and Fay, Spofford & Thorndike, Inc. (formerly Norfolk Ram Group, LLC.)