Developers/Construction Tips for Clean Water

Construction activities have the potential to cause significant water pollution, erosion, sedimentation, flooding and other stormwater issues if not managed properly. There are many best management practices (BMPs) that can be used to prevent issues, with a variety of options for both small and large-scale projects. Town staff routinely works with property owners, contractors, developers, engineers, wetland scientists and others to ensure the best outcome for projects.

Obtain required permits
In many cases, permits are required for construction projects, including any land disturbance equal to or greater than 10,000 sq. ft. of land. Land disturbing activities include, but are not limited to clearing, grading, filling, and excavation, as well as landscaping equal to or greater than 500 sq. ft. Permits are also required for all work, other than routine maintenance, proposed to occur within floodplain, 100 feet of a wetland, or 200 feet of most streams. Click here for more information on local & state permits. Contact the Conservation Department at 781-270-1655 with any questions.

Construction sites disturbing one acre or more also require a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. Click here for more information on federal permits.

Use best management practices (BMPs) during construction work
Whether a permit is required for your project or not, everyone is encouraged to use good practices during construction projects or other work involving land disturbance, to keep our water clean and avoid other stormwater-related issues. Contact Town staff or an appropriate professional if you need help determining what measures are appropriate for your project. Here are examples of some BMPs:

  • Marking the limit of work & maintaining perimeter erosion & sedimentation controls
  • Straw wattles
  • Silt socks (a.k.a. compost filter socks)
  • Sediment filter fabric fence (a.k.a. silt fence)
  • Hay bales
  • Drop inlet protection (a.k.a. silt sacks)
  • Gravel construction entrances
  • Regularly sweeping sediment & debris from paved surfaces, including streets
  • Protecting & covering material or soil stockpiles. Stockpiling materials more than 100 feet from wetlands & 200 feet from streams. Not stockpiling in floodplain.
  • Containing concrete washout in a designated area.
  • Immediately stabilizing bare ground & disturbed areas and revegetating within thirty (30) days. Temporarily stabilizing areas that cannot be revegetated within 30 days, using hydroseeding, straw mats, jute netting, sod, etc. Staking temporary stabilization to slopes steeper than 3:1.

Protecting Water Quality at Construction Sites Fact Sheet