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Your Lawn and the Pond

Storm Drains


Arlington has over 77.37 miles of storm drains. Many of these lead to Spy Pond and are a major transit mechanism for pollution of all kinds. From excess lawn fertilizer to motor oil and candy wrappers, pollution makes its way easily to Spy Pond. Once there, the effects of pollution on the pond are significant.

You can help solve the problem:

1. Do not dump hazardous materials such as oil, paint, anti-freeze or cleaning solutions in the storm drains.
The Minuteman Hazardous Household Products Facility on Hartwell Ave. in Lexington is open one Saturday per month to accept these wastes. Call 781-861-2757 for more information. 

2. Do not dump pet waste in the storm drain.
Pet waste should be discarded in the trash.

3. Do not dump dirty water, washwater, kitchen or food waste in storm drains.
These items should be discarded with your normal trash or down standard plumbing.

4. Take better care of your lawn.
Learn how you can have a green lawn and help the pond. 

5. Keep trash, yard waste, and dirt off the street and out of storm drains.
Help keep the drains open and working properly.

6. Report Illegal Dumping.
Arlington Public Works Dispatch: 781-316-3301
Dept. of Environmental Protection: 617-556-1133

7. Spread the word.
Tell you friends and neighbors what you have learned here!

The following Article Appeared in June 2002 Newsletter of the 
Boston Society of Civil Engineers (BSCES):

Younger Members Help Arlington Mark Spy Pond Storm Drains

By Christine Wallace, P.E.
Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.

BSCES Younger Members joined forces with volunteers from the Town of Arlington to mark storm drains in the Spy Pond watershed, in an effort to educate the public on stormwater pollution.  As part of the Town’s Earth Day events on April 27th, YMG members Erin Graham, Bill Gode, Caroline Hampton, Erin Rockwell , Weston Ruthven, Anne Savage, David Senus, Yogesh Singla, and Christine Wallace spent the day attaching colorful markers near catch basins that flow to Spy Pond.

The curb markers are four-inch diameter plastic disks that are glued to the top of curbs adjacent to catch basin grates.  The SAVE (Students Against Violations of the Environment) group from Arlington High School designed two different markers. One marker shows an orange fish that reads “Only Rain Down the Drain – Flows to Spy Pond”.  The other marker shows a bucket dumping into a catch basin that reads “Dump No Waste! Flows to Spy Pond.”  

The Younger Members joined over thirty volunteers from the Arlington High School SAVE group, the Spy Pond Committee, the Conservation Commission and other area residents.  The volunteers split into three groups to focus on assigned areas within the watershed.  The Younger Members helped the other volunteers interpret drainage plans and locate the catch basins requiring marking.  In addition to marking drains, the volunteers placed door hangers on area homes to describe the program and to discourage dumping and other practices that cause stormwater pollution. 

Spy Pond, located in East Arlington adjacent to Route 2, suffers from high nutrient loading and other contamination due to its highly developed watershed.  Approximately 40 outlet pipes drain into the 100-acre Pond, all of which receive no treatment prior to discharging.  The Town recently received a $300,000 grant from the Department of Environmental Management (DEM) for stormwater improvements that includes the drain marking program and other innovative mitigation measures to be implemented over the next three years.

This successful day of storm drain marking was the first of more to come.  The YMG will help the Arlington volunteers complete the marking program until all 500 acres of the watershed are covered.  For more information on storm drain marking or Spy Pond watershed improvements, please send an email to cwallace@vhb.com.

Various photos copyright and courtesy of I for Images
Please click on a picture to visit their website.