Bristol’s Existing Stormwater Management Program

Program Priorities

As there is no comprehensive plan in place by which to organize project planning, replace outdated drainage pipelines, or establish target dates to correct major flooding problems, priorities change from year to year and are primarily reactionary – responding to emergencies as they arise.  The Town staff has identified the following actual or potential future projects:

·         Purchase of vacuum assisted sweeper (underway or completed – state grant assisted).

·         Purchase of catch basin clamshell bucket truck (underway or completed – state grant assisted).

·         Modifications at the Town-owned Golf Course to reduce flooding impacts.

·         BMP construction at the Police Station site.

·         Mount Hope High School stormwater detention improvements.

·         Replacement of deteriorated storm drains, manholes, and catch basins on an annual basis.

       ·         Assistance to property owners, primarily industrial and commercial.

Current Costs

The actual current program cost is shown in the table below. The first four line items correspond to the six minimum measures required under the MS4 General Permit. The next three lines cover tasks associated with collecting data and managing the stormwater program. The last three lines cover costs of maintaining the stormwater system and paying capital improvement costs.

Actual Current Stormwater Program Costs

Current SW Costs

The funding comes from several sources including: general revenue (taxes); drainage fund (bonds); Sewer Enterprise Fund (infiltration/inflow abatement); Federal and state grants; loans; and construction impact fees.

Unmet Needs and Drivers for Change

In every community there are good, even compelling, reasons to improve the way stormwater programs are executed and are generally motivated by some combination of key common “drivers” such as the drivers for enhancing the Bristol stormwater program as summarized below:

Aging Infrastructure: The Town lacks a comprehensive plan to identify failing storm drains and schedule cleaning and replacement of drains.

Chronic Flooding: The cumulative impact of incremental increases in impervious area as new construction has occurred over many years without adequate changes in the drainage network to accommodate these increases exacerbates volumes and flow rates.

Water Quality and Ecology: Loss of wetland habitat due to sea level rise, impacts on bay health, aquaculture, recreational fishing and shellfishing are compounded by potential beach closures, shellfishing closures, overall reduced ecological health, persistent illicit connections, and illegal dumping.

Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems: As for the MS4 General Permit requirements, the potential increased cost of the new permit, as well as stormwater needs that the Town must address whether or not the “RIPDES MS4 Permit requires it.”

Climate Change and Sea Level Rise: Predictions are that Rhode Island should prepare for a three- to five-foot sea level rise by the end of the 21st century, primarily impacting property along the tidal shorelines in Bristol, but also increased flood insurance premiums and negative impacts on marine trades, property values, housing affordability, business, and tourism.