The Watershed Division's Source Water Protection Program utilizes federal, state and local regulations to achieve the goals of the program.

Federal Programs

Safe Drinking Water Act

The Safe Drinking Water Act is the legislation from which all federal drinking water regulations are derived. The federal government implements the SDWA through delegating authority for its administration to the states, and well as through enabling the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to control contaminants by requiring compliance with maximum contaminant levels, and through monitoring and treatment technology requirements.

Clean Water Act

1972 (1997, 1981, 1987 amendments).  Aims to restore, maintain, and protect the biological, chemical, and physical integrity of the nation's waters.

State Programs

Massachusetts Source Water Assessment Program (SWAP)

Under the SWDA and SWAP, each state is required to perform an assessment at all public water sources to identify potential contaminant sources that could impact the supplies. To see the Cambridge Water Department's Water Supply Assessment, click here>> 

Massachusetts Class A Surface Water Quality Standards

The Massachusetts Class A Surface Water Quality Standards are defined in state regulations (314 CMR 4.05) and help implement the federal Clean Water Act. As a public water supply, the Cambridge watershed's tributaries and reservoirs are "Class A" waters that shall also be an excellent habitat for fish, other aquatic life, and wildlife. Class A waters shall also be suitable for primary and secondary contact recreation even if not allowed. These water quality standards help ensure that Class A waters remain clean enough to uphold these uses. 

Massachusetts Surface Water Supply General Laws

310 CMR 22.20B defines land uses and other activities prohibited in surface water supply areas. These regulations help implement the federal Safe Drinking Water Act.

Massachusetts Zoning Act

1975.  Massachusetts has several laws that enable local governments to regulate land use and development.  Through the Zoning Act, municipalities may adopt zoning codes, special permit procedures, site plan review, subdivision regulations, and floodplain regulations.

Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA)

Projects that are anticipated to have environmental impacts are reviewed by the public and state agencies during the project’s planning stage. The applicant is required to document the effects of the proposal on the environment and to develop measures to compensate for any adverse impacts. The MEPA process is crucial to limiting adverse environmental impacts, and specifically requires the applicant to consider the effects of the project on drinking water supplies.

Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act (WPA)

Under the WPA, activities within wetlands and within 100 feet of wetlands are subject to review for their potential impacts on the wetland resources (including tributaries and reservoirs).

Rivers Protection Act

August 1996.  Required 200 ft. undisturbed "riverfront area" for new development projects along most of the major rivers in Massachusetts unless the applicant demonstrates no significant adverse impact to the area and that there is no practicable alternative to the project.

Dam Safety

Both the Stony Brook and Hobbs Brook Reservoir Dams are regulated by the State Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Office of Dam Safety in accordance with 302 CMR 10.00.