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Sarah Mosley


Municipal Guide To Clean Water: Conducting Sanitary Surveys to Improve Coastal Water Quality

The Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Grant Program provides funding and assistance for CSO planning and abatement projects. Non-point Source Water Pollution Control (319) Grants provide funding for comprehensive watershed projects that prevent or reduce non-point source pollutants entering water resources. The Water- shed Protection Grant Program is available for service learning projects designed to protect the water quality of a lake or stream and to educate the public about the relationship between land use and water quality.

Maine DEP Pump-Out Grant Program, which is funded by the federal Clean Vessel Act, provides funds to help pay for the installation and maintenance of holding tank pump-out stations in coastal areas. In addition, the vol- untary Maine Marine Trades Association Clean Boatyards and Marinas Program promotes best management prac- tices in boatyards and marinas.

Maine State Revolving Loan Fund provides low-inter- est loans to municipalities and quasi-municipal corpo- rations such as sanitary districts for construction and upgrades of wastewater facilities.

Maine Department of Agriculture, Food & Rural Resources Maine Nutrient Management Loan Program (FAME) is a low-interest loan program for qualified busi- nesses and individuals to assist in the construction and improvement of livestock manure waste containment/ handling facilities.

The Conservation Technology Support Program awards grants of equipment plus software to tax-exempt conservation organizations to build their Geographic Information Systems (GIS) capacity.

Preventing bacterial pollution

As Benjamin Franklin stated, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Maintaining clean water takes work. It requires routine water quality monitor- ing, vigilant watch on potential pollution sources on land and offshore, local level comprehensive planning, and communication between land use boards, commissions, municipal departments, and surrounding towns. A re- gional approach to preventing bacterial pollution should be considered as several towns may share land within the watershed of concern.

  • Maintain an up-to-date “tool box” of resources to identify, fix, and prevent sources of bacterial pollution.

Municipal staff should take advantage of professional development opportunities (e.g., trainings, workshops) and invest in resources (e.g., manuals, listservs, GIS software, etc.) to improve their skills and confidence in conducting sanitary survey work and implementing best management practices (BMPs). BMPs are the most effec- tive, practical means of preventing or reducing non-point source pollution, followed by region-wide educational efforts linking land use practices to water quality, and targeted education programs tailored to specific problem types or areas. Towns should actively pursue funding opportunities to investigate potential problems, fix documented problems, and prevent new problems. Adaptive management is important as communities realize the scope and nature of their bacterial pol- lution problems.76, 77

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