Improving Stormwater Management in the Watershed

Population growth is straining municipal stormwater and wastewater infrastructure, placing water quality and public health at risk. Communities are also facing new, more stringent permit requirements for discharging stormwater and wastewater.

A multidisciplinary team worked with the Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and the communities of Exeter, Stratham, and Newfields, New Hampshire, to create an innovative plan for the entire watershed. The integrated planning approach not only satisfied the new permit requirements by reducing existing loads by 60 percent, but also cut potential costs by an estimated 50 percent from traditional permitting for the three communities. This project also laid the groundwork for a regional water quality monitoring effort, an important step, since a recent study found that 50 percent of the nitrogen load in this watershed comes from upstream communities. (2016)

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Partners: Geosyntec Consultants, Consensus Building Institute, Great Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services, Rockingham Planning Commission, Southeast Watershed Alliance, Town of Exeter, Town of Stratham, University of New Hampshire, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency