SCARBOROUGH — Thirty towns and cities in Maine are required to have Clean Water Act permits for discharging stormwater to local waterways; Scarborough is one of them. The Town Council scheduled a workshop for Feb. 2 to discuss permit changes when a new permit comes online July 1.

Some of the nearby communities that are subject to a Clean Water Act permits are Saco, Gorham, South Portland, Cape Elizabeth and Portland.

In addition to requirements all 30 towns must comply with under their permits, Scarborough has town-specific ones.

Scarborough has a minimum of requirements under the permit which include: educating the public and municipal staff and officials about polluted runoff and how to reduce pollution; providing the public an opportunity to participate in Scarborough’s stormwater program; identifying and eliminating illegal sewer connections, dumping into storm drains, and other sources of pollution; carrying out long-term maintenance and mapping of all stormwater infrastructure; ensuring that construction on both public and private property does not impact water resources; implementing new development and redevelopment stormwater ordinances, and encouraging developers to utilize techniques to reduce the impact of development on water resources; and preventing pollution from municipal operations and facilities, and educating municipal staff about practices to reduce polluted runoff.

In addition to these minimum steps, Scarborough is also required to protect and restore the town’s polluted water bodies.

“One major component of the Scarborough permit is to improve our impaired waterways” according to a Jan. 28 memo to the council from Town Engineer Angela Blanchette. “Scarborough has three streams that are listed as ‘urban impaired’ by the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, which means that pollution levels in these waterways make it difficult for stream life to survive. Scarborough’s urban impaired streams are Long Creek, Phillips Brook, and Red Brook.”


Long Creek, is located near the Maine Mall Area. Scarborough is a member of the Long Creek Watershed Management District, a public-private partnership that aims to restore the stream. Scarborough has two representatives on the LCWMD Board, which implements studies, projects, and review of development plans within the watershed.

Phillips Brook is located in the Dunstan Corner area of town. A Watershed Management Plan for Phillips Brook was completed in 2018. In 2019, the Town received an $115,000 grant from DEP and the Environmental Protection Agency to begin implementing the plan. Through the grant, the Town will restore a portion of the brook that runs adjacent to the Payne Road Public Works laydown yard. Despite delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the DEP granted an extension, and work is scheduled to wrap up at the end of this year. In addition to restoration work, the Town is required to implement additional measures to comply with its Clean Water Act permit, which include:

• Establish a stream protection overlay zone along the stream corridor;

• Provide community education to Phillips Brook watershed residents about maintaining and enhancing vegetation along the streambanks, and;

• Provide outreach to winter maintenance contractors about salt-reducing winter maintenance

Red Brook is located near South Portland along the Payne Road corridor and I-295 spur.  The Red Brook Watershed Management Plan was completed in 2011. Like the Phillips Brook plan, the Red Brook Watershed Management Plan outlines specific projects and actions the Town should take to restore the health of the Brook. The Town received a grant from the DEP and EPA to begin plan implementation in 2015. Work completed under the grant included replacing two culverts, retrofitting one stormwater treatment system, and conducting outreach to businesses within the watershed. The grant was successfully completed in 2017. The Town is also required to implement additional measures in this watershed to comply with its new Clean Water Act permit, including:


• Work collaboratively with the City of South Portland to monitor the Brook’s water quality;

• Use the water quality data to develop an amendment to the 2011 Watershed Management Plan that outlines additional actions needed to restore water quality, and;

• Provide outreach to winter maintenance contractors about salt-reducing winter maintenance practices.

“Through the cooperation of many Town Departments and support of municipal leadership, the Town is able to meet our clean water goals,” Blanchette said. “The Town is required to continue its stormwater program indefinitely, and stream restoration work will be ongoing into the future.”

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