Nearly half of Belmont is covered with some sort of impervious surface.
There is more than 200 illegal connections in Belmont where stormwater pipes join into sewer lines.
And four major housing developments are proposed in the Alewife area.
Each of the above issues may not appear to be significant to the environmental health of the town but together they increase flooding and pollution in town.
In an attempt to address this growing problem, the is presenting Water Trouble: a public forum on storms, floods and pollution at the Winn Brook School's cafeteria tomorrow, Thursday, Sept. 13 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Those who attend will learn how to make a difference in improving water quality and reducing flooding in Belmont and the surrounding area.
An expert panel, moderated by Belmont's Fred Paulsen, will discuss water quality in Belmont's waterways and the Mystic River watershed; flooding in the Winn Brook neighborhood, North Cambridge, and East Arlington and proposed developments in the Alewife Reservation/Uplands area.
In addition, FEMA maps will be displayed at the Forum so that homeowners can locate their homes on the flood plain. Attendees are welcome to browse information tables that will be staffed by members of the Mystic River Watershed Association, Belmont Citizens Forum, Belmont Uplands and Friends of Alewife Reservation before the speaker portion of the program.
Panelists will include:
• Kathleen Baskin of Belmont, director of Water Policy, Mass. Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs;
• Glenn Clancy, Belmont director of Office for Community Development;
• Patrick Herron, Mystic Monitoring Network director, Mystic River Watershed Association;
• Ralph Jones, Belmont Selectman; and
• Richard Vogel, director, Tufts University’s graduate program, "Water:Systems, Science, and Society."
One area of focus will be protecting clean water as it is becoming an increasingly precious resource. Managing water from storms such as the mid-July series of thunderstorms that drop inches of water at a time is a critical challenge, given the increase of impervious surfaces in our urban communities. Such surfaces don’t allow the slow infiltration into the earth needed to cleanse water and refresh aquifers, resulting in floods followed by low water levels in waterways, affecting their entire ecology. Water from increasingly severe storms gets into our sewers, overburdening them and sewage treatment plants, leaving sewer overflow damage behind.
Corporate sponsors of this event are: Gold Level, Watertown Savings Bank; and Silver Level, Belmont Car Wash, The Great American Rain Barrel Company, and FB Environmental Associates. The Belmont Citizens Forum is grateful for their support of this important event.
Nonprofit Cosponsors of this event are: Coalition to Preserve the Belmont Uplands, Friends of Alewife Reservation, Mystic River Watershed Association, and Sustainable Belmont.
For more information, please visit the Belmont Citizens Forum web site or contact the forum at firstname.lastname@example.org