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Maine Healthy Beaches Program

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


Pollution hotline

A hotline or Web site dedicated to reporting complaints can be a useful tool in identifying pollution sources, especially intermittent discharges that may be missed during inspec- tions and source tracking efforts. Citizens can report illicit discharges and/or pollution concerns. The success of the hotline depends on advertising and it must be supported by the LPI and/or municipal staff who will follow through on complaints. Complaints should also be tracked in a da- tabase. The cost to create and maintain a hotline varies, but benefits include detection and removal of illicit discharges (also increases the likelihood of detecting intermittent dis- charges), increased accountability, public stewardship, and educational opportunities.17 The hotline may be combined with another community hotline and the cost shared by towns within a shared watershed or region.

Targeted education programs include outreach materials that link land use practices and offshore activities to water quality, promote best practices, and clearly outline local and/or state regulations. The tool (e.g., brochure, TV commercial, radio spot, poster, flyer, forum, article, etc.) or combination of tools should be tailored to the particu- lar area of concern. Examples include but are not limited to materials or activities that promote septic system care and maintenance, healthy beach habits, responsible boat- ing, no dumping in storm drains, planting buffers, reduc- ing impervious surfaces, and responsible pet ownership. Other types of activities include beach clean-ups, adopt-a-stream programs, water quality sympo- siums, resource protection events, citizen beach or harbor patrols, plant- ing of buffer vegetation along waterways, etc.82

Monitoring, maintenance, and upgrades to wastewater infrastructure

Publicly-owned treatment works should practice year- round disinfection and tertiary (advanced) treatment. Tertiary treatment is typically nutrient and fine particle removal, including advanced filtration methods, con- structed wetlands, etc.83 A routine inflow and infiltration plan to detect groundwater and/or stormwater entering sewer lines includes a schedule for repairing and replacing sewer lines and manholes that have infiltration problems. Similar plans for checking for and fixing illicit connections to the stormwater system are important. Both the sewer and stormwater networks can be divided into districts and prioritized based on their illicit discharge potential (i.e., age and material of the infrastructure such as clay).17

Frequent cleaning of the storm drain system will pre- vent buildup of trash, sediment, and other debris. Storm- water should be diverted and allowed to percolate into the ground. Vegetative swales can be designed to trap particu- late pollutants, promote infiltration, and reduce the flow velocity of stormwater runoff. New technologies are under development to control urban stormwater pollution, such as advanced infiltration systems to recharge groundwater and ultraviolet disinfection of stormwater (end of pipe). Local jurisdictions and commercial establishments should decide the best methods for their needs.

Maine Healthy Beaches Program

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