Wilton’s storm water management plan underway

WILTON – Planning Board member Dawn Tuomala has been working on a state-mandated storm water management plan since last March and it will take “another three to five years to complete,” she told selectmen Dec. 30.

The plan is required under the federal Clean Water Act, and is required for any compact urban area where there are 1,000 people. In March, $10,000 was appropriated to begin the mapping process. The information from the state arrived too late to be included in the budget and was approved as an amendment.

“It will require a master plan,” she said, “and some changes in zoning regulations.”

This year, $75,000 has been included in the Public Works budget, “as part of the budget, not a separate article,” Tuomala said. That will include work on replacement of manholes and catch basins. The highway department will do that work.

“They have to be part of the plan,” she said, and her work has been based on a 2003 map, “which has to be updated to 2013.”

The map requires “how water gets from gutters of a municipal building to the river,” she said at a meeting last March. “They are looking for the points of pollution.”

It is too late this year to make the required changes in zoning and to complete a master plan. A plan has to be made for continual testing of water that goes into the river. There is also an education section.

“It won’t be ready for Town Meeting. That will take three years to complete,” Tuomala said, calling the process “another unfunded mandate.”

Another problem is timing. The Clean Water Act affected the larger towns and cities years ago.

“They are five to 10 years ahead of us in planning, so we have to catch up,” Tuomala said.

Wilton is fortunate in that in 1980, the sewer system was separated from the storm drains.

Work will continue on the project next year.