Water Quality Issues

The main source of water pollution in our communities is polluted stormwater runoff.

What is Stormwater Runoff?

When precipitation (rain or snow melt) falls on hard surfaces such as roads, sidewalks, driveways, and roofs, it can’t soak into the ground. Instead, it runs off the surface and often makes it’s way to the storm drain system. This runoff is referred to as “stormwater.”

How Does Stormwater Become Polluted?

As the runoff flows across these hard surfaces, any stray materials (such as pet waste, fertilizer, pesticides, ice melt, motor oil, driveway sealer, cigarette butts, etc.) get washed away as well. This runoff and the materials it carries makes its way to the nearest storm drain.

Storm drains usually lead directly to the nearest wetland, pond or stream with no treatment. Storm drains in our area do not lead to a sewer treatment plant or other advanced treatment system.

When pollutants are left on a street or sidewalk, or even dumped directly into a storm drain, that pollution is washed into the storm drain by stormwater runoff and carried to the nearest waterway.

Polluted stormwater runoff can cause problems for local drinking water sources, recreational activities like swimming, boating and fishing, and fish and wildlife. That’s why its important for residents and business people to understand how storm drains work and learn about the simple steps they can cake to prevent polluted stormwater runoff.

Click this link to watch a video of the Neponset River Watershed Association’s Environmental Scientist discussing these issues with Canton Community TV.

How Clean are the Waterways in My Community?

Several NSP communities conduct regular water testing with the help of volunteers in one or more of their watersheds. In other areas water quality data may be collected by nonprofit groups or the state Department of Environmental Protection from time to time.

See below for resources on water quality in your city or town:


2021-2022 Water Quality Reports for NSP Towns (Neponset Watershed only)

2020-2021 Water Quality Reports for NSP Towns (Neponset Watershed only)

2019-2020 Water Quality Reports for NSP Towns (Neponset Watershed only)

2018-2019 Water Quality Reports for NSP Towns (Neponset Watershed only)

Sources of Water Quality Data for Other Communities and Watersheds