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Stormwater

Catch Basin Image
Stormwater Matters -- Keep our waterways clean -- Only Rain down the drain!

The Clean Water Act (1972) authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate point sources that discharge pollutants into waters of the United States through the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit program. Objectives of the NPDES Stormwater Program are to reduce the discharge of stormwater pollutants to the maximum extent practicable, to protect water quality, and to satisfy the appropriate water quality requirements of the Clean Water Act. As a suburban community, Danvers is regulated by this permit program.

Information on all Massachusetts communities regulated by the Phase II Stormwater Program can be found here:  EPA

Stormwater is the water that runs off the land surface when it rains or snow melts.  It enters the Town’s storm drain system and flows directly to local lakes, streams, and wetlands. Stormwater runoff from undeveloped land is typically low since most rain or snow melt infiltrates into the ground or is lost to evaporation. Additional runoff from developed areas is created from impervious surfaces like streets, parking lots, and rooftops that prevent stormwater from naturally soaking into the ground.

Stormwater from developed areas typically contains a number of pollutants, such as oil and grease from roadways and parking lots, pesticides and fertilizers from lawns, sediment from construction sites, sand and dirt from roadway maintenance practices, and carelessly discarded trash such as cigarette butts, wrappers, and plastic bottles.  When these pollutants enter water bodies, they can contaminate drinking water supplies, hinder recreation activities, and harm aquatic and other wildlife habitats.

In addition to washing pollutants into our surface waters, improperly managed stormwater runoff can result in soil erosion and flooding.

In an on-going effort to minimize stormwater impacts within Danvers, the Town has developed a Stormwater Management Plan (SWMP) detailed in three sections below.  The first file details the SWMP sections 1-6, followed by Appendices A-E, finally Appendices F-G.  Last updated April 2021.

SWMP Update Section 1-6

SWMP Update Appendices A-E

SWMP Update Appendices F-G

Pollution Prevention

Following a rain or snow event, stormwater flows through yards, down driveways, over streets, and into catch basins. Catch basins are the grates on the sides of streets and they connect to the storm drain system, which conveys the water, untreated, into our local waterways, including Salem/Beverly Harbor and the Porter, Waters, and Crane Rivers.

As stormwater travels into the catch basins, it flushes pesticides, fertilizers, pet waste, trash and debris, automotive fluids, motor oil, and other pollutants into the storm drain system. As these pollutants enter local waterways, they can be harmful to water quality and the environment.

All Danvers residents play a role in reducing and preventing stormwater pollution.

Pollution Prevention For Residents

Learn what pollutants are commonly found on our streets and how to prevent them from entering the storm drains.  Also learn what to do with used motor oil, gasoline, antifreeze, cleaning agents, pesticides, and paint.

Pollutants include used motor oil, gasoline, antifreeze, cleaning agents, pesticides or fertilizers and paint.  Debris commonly found in storm drains include pet waste, cigarette butts, yard clippings, and sand. In addition, car washing, and lawn watering can also contribute to the pollution of the waterways.

Cigarette Litter Prevention Program in Danvers

Sidewalk Buttler Image
Maple Street (Downtown Danvers) - Sidewalk Buttler Cigarette Receptacles installed  to reduce cigarette butt litter.

Let’s eliminate the #1 litter item from the streets and sidewalks in Danvers!  Did you know that the Town has installed 12 cigarette butt receptacles to reduce litter in the Town?  The Town surveyed the highest level of litter and placed receptacles in key locations downtown and where foot traffic was observed near our water ways.  The Cigarette Butt Receptacles were purchased from Sidewalk Buttler and were funded by the Cigarette Litter Prevention Program offered by Keep America Beautiful.  Please use the cigarette receptacles!

Here are some things you can do to prevent pollutants from entering the storm drains:

  • Never pour any hazardous materials into a storm drain. This includes used motor oil, gasoline, antifreeze, cleaning agents, pesticides or fertilizers and paint. For proper disposal of these items, please bring them to our Household Hazardous Waste Day <link>
  • Sweep up and remove litter from sidewalks and driveways to prevent these materials from being carried into storm drains by stormwater runoff or snowmelt. Dispose of these materials in the trash
  • Collect leaf litter and yard clippings and utilize our Yard Waste Pickup service curbside or purchase a Transfer Station Sticker for Yard Waste.
  • Use landscaping fertilizers and pesticides sparingly or not at all. Landscaping chemicals should not be applied when rain is forecasted.
  • Clean up outdoor spills using dry methods such as sweeping, applying absorbent towels or spreading cat litter. If not hazardous, place the material in the trash. If hazardous, dispose of the material at our Household Hazardous Waste Event in September.
  • Never hose down a spill into the storm drain. If you must hose down an area, direct the runoff towards a grassy landscaped area. Detergents and chemical cleaners should not be used to wash sidewalks or driveways.
  • If you see a storm drain that is clogged with debris, report it to the Department of Public Works for cleaning.
  • Reduce exposure to household chemicals by using non-toxic alternative cleaners.

Be a Good Neighbor
Pet waste contains potentially harmful microorganisms, which can cause stomach illness and rashes in humans. Pet waste that is not scooped up or is dumped down a catch basin can get flushed directly into storm drains. Storm drains discharge directly to our waterways: Danvers, Porters, Crane, or Water Rivers.

Scoop the Poop
The Town of Danvers’ dog fouling policy requires dog owners to remove and properly dispose of any feces left by their dogs. This policy covers waste left by dogs on sidewalks, streets, parks and neighbors' yards. If you have any questions, please contact the DPW office at 978-777-0001 x3011.

Help Protect the Environment
When walking your dog, take a plastic bag with you to pick up the pet waste. Be sure to place the bag in a trash receptacle, never dispose of pet waste in a catch basin. Dog waste cannot be used as fertilizer. Never place dog waste near a tree or in the soil - the bacteria in the waste does more harm than good and it also can end up in a local waterway.

Help Educate Your Community
Danvers DPW is dedicated to helping create cleaner, more enjoyable waterways by protecting them from harmful contaminants. Tell a friend, neighbor, or family member how to properly dispose of pet waste. DPW has installed 1,200 storm drain makers at key locations around the Town that remind residents about “only rain down the drain”.  Storm drains flow directly into our local waters – they are not connected to the sanitary sewer.  Scooping poop is not just about the mess, it’s about keeping our waterways clean and protecting the health of the community!  Thank you for being a good neighbor.

Stormdrain Marker
Storm drains flow directly into our local waters – they are not connected to the sanitary sewer.  Only Rain down the drain!

Pollution Prevention For Businesses

Business owners have a responsibility for all pollutants leaving their property, including contaminated stormwater which enters the storm drain. Common pollutants generated by business establishments include used motor oil, antifreeze, fertilizers and pesticides, sand, dirt, litter, paint, cooking oil and cigarette butts.

Here are some suggestions to prevent pollution:

Proper disposal of all pollutants. If you are unsure as to how to dispose of certain material, consult the manufacturer or contact the Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Hotline for Businesses at 617-292-5898.

Provide neighborhood amenities. Place trash receptacles in highly visible areas, including receptacles for cigarette butts

Keep public areas clean. Sweep outdoor areas and dispose of debris into the trash and not into a storm drain. Hose down areas and direct the runoff away from the storm drain.  Dispose of leaf litter into the trash and not into a storm drain.

Maintain solid waste containers. Locate these containers away from storm drains. Have the container cleaned on a regular basis and store adequate spill equipment on-site to clean up spills and releases.

Disposal of wash water. Never pour wash water onto a parking lot or into storm drains. Wash water should be disposed of into a janitorial sink or a floor drain that is properly connected to the sanitary sewer system.

Installation and disposal for restaurant owners. Install and maintain grease traps and properly dispose of cooking oil. Never pour grease or cooking oil into sinks, floor drains, or into a storm drain.

Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems (MS4) outfall screening

On April 5, 2019, the Town of Danvers received its Notice of Intent (NOI) approval from the Environmental Protection Agency and Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, to discharge stormwater from our MS4 in accordance with the terms and conditions of the MS4 General Permit. Under Section 3.3 BMP ID 3E-2 of the NOI, the Town is required to perform Dry Weather Outfall Screening and Sampling in accordance with the IDDE plan and permit conditions. All screening must be completed within three (3) years after the effective date of the permit.

During the next several months, the Danvers Engineering Division staff and our consultant Tighe & Bound will perform the outfall screenings at several locations.

Additional information regarding the screening can be found at:

Danvers Stormwater Management Plan

Minor Permit Modification Summary 

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