Stormwater & Construction Activities

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Cambridge is committed to reducing pollutants entering waterways, and requires contractors to address construction activities, as they affect runoff into waterways and stormwater structures.

Construction activities can contribute excess sediments and pollutants to the City's stormwater system and local waterbodies. Runoff from exposed soil, paints, solvents, and concrete slurry can significantly impact water quality. It's the City of Cambridge's goal to work with the development community to ensure proper implementation of erosion and sediment control measures.

To comply with state requirements for MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) communities, the City of Cambridge must manage stormwater runoff and illicit discharge to protect and restore surface waters. The City of Cambridge requires the contractor to follow not only State and Federal stormwater regulations, but also the City's adopted Stormwater regulations which have been codified in Chapters 53 and 152 of the Cambridge Municipal Code. Construction sites need to have stormwater best management practices (BMPs) in working condition at all stages of construction and all seasons during construction.

  • View information on the City's SWPPP

City Ordinances

Best Practices

Concerns to look for and correct immediately:

  • Opaque water flowing off the site
  • Tracking of sediment onto road from site
  • Trash, litter and construction debris outside of dumpster
  • Concrete waste or washwater flowing off the site

Avoid these top 5 violations

photos of wastewater violations


Critical BMPs to Deploy:

  • Stabilized construction entrances on unpaved areas
  • Perimeter and erosion control
  • Stockpile containment
  • Waste materials stored and covered
  • Liquid materials stored in covered location and in secondary containment

BMP Resources:

Projects Less than One Acre

City ordinance primarily governs projects distrubing less than one acre of land. As an MS4 community, the City is still obligated to manage stormwater runnoff and illicit discharge for smaller sites that do not fall under the broader NPDES/SDS Construction Stormwater General Permit.

Be sure to review the best practice recommendations for small sites!

Projects One Acre or More

In addition to complying with City ordinance, projects disturbing one or more acres or projects that are part of a Common Plan of Development or Sale need to obtain the NPDES/SDS Construction Stormwater General Permit. A Common Plan of Development or sale means a contiguous area where multiple separate and distinct land disturbing activities may be taking place at different times, on different schedules, but under one proposed original plan. If you are unsure if you are part of a Common Plan of Development, see Common Plans of Development for more information.

Best Practice Diagram

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