The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 3, 2000


Planning board looks at 'green' stormwater management systems

Steve Benz of Judith Nitsch Engineering Inc. was invited to present to the planning board the latest drainage designs for alternative stormwater management. At the February 14 meeting, Benz said he calls this "greener" storm drainage because it is less intrusive and produces a softer-looking field by mimicking natural processes. This comes after some recent criticism of board rules and regulations that require catch basins, piped drainage systems and granite curbs. The goal of "green" stormwater management is to minimize "built" systems and promote natural processes for infiltration and pollution abatement.

Benz was joined by Dan Redondo of the Bioengineering Group Inc. who explained that green stormwater management features an open swale on each side of the roadway in place of the traditional gutter. Vegetation is encouraged to help treat the water flow by slow release and biofiltration. Current state-of-the-art drains collect and channel unfiltered automobile pollutants, such as oil and grease, directly to a detention basin. These drains require expensive maintenance to clear blockage and periodically repair sections of buried piping. Green stormwater management relies on vegetation to filter and slowly release the stormwater where it then flows to created or extended wetlands.

Green systems are not without their own problems. Snowbanks alongside a plowed road could block drainage in an open swale. Traditional drains can be quickly located and unblocked guided by arrows painted in the town roads each year. Swales require a shallow ditch across each driveway as opposed to the usual culvert running underneath. Created wetlands are a perceived liability requiring "deadly" wet basins to be fenced off. These problems are solvable and green stormwater management will undoubtedly be considered as an alternative stormwater management technique for future subdivisions.

Regulations for cell towers

Discussion continued on the procedures for adoption of rules and regulations for administering special permits for wireless communications facilities. Wireless Applications Advisory Committee (WAAC) originator Paul Gill, and the new WAAC chair Rick Blum attended the meeting. Planning board member Dan Holzman said he is still updating his original draft of the regulations and has outstanding questions about some of the more technical aspects of radio frequency (RF) transmission. This may delay release of the document until a technical consultant comes on board.

There is a bill now in front of the Massachusetts legislature that could change everything. Planning administrator George Mansfield disclosed that the Massachusetts Municipal Association is pushing legislation that could force statewide conformance whereby the town's wireless bylaws will no longer apply. Implications of this action stifled any further talk about wireless communication for the evening.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito