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Chronology

The Hop Brook Protection Association:
1984 - 2002
90 acres of ponds (Grist Mill, Carding Mill Pond and Sterns Mill Pond) in Sudbury, Massachusetts exhibit signs of eutrophication.

1986
Hop Brook Protection Association - HBPA - is formed by concerned citizens.

1987
The town of Sudbury commissions a study on the pollution problem from Whitman & Howard Engineering Corp.

1989
Study confirms the Phosphorous is identified as the limiting nutrient causing the problem. Sudbury forms a Hop Brook Ponds Joint Town Committee that includes Marlborough participation.

1993
HBPA restructures and incorporates as a nonprofit environmental protection organization. Receives advice from attorney to use the Marlborough sewage treatment plant NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System) operating permit as a vehicle to stop pollution.

1994
HBPA with the Department of Plant & Soil Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, receive matching funds grant to study the application of constructed wetlands technology as a low cost solution for phosphorous removal.

HBPA in collaboration with the Sudbury Conservation Commission and the Mass. Riverways Adopt-a-Stream Program conducts a shoreline survey of the entire Hop Brook in the fall and spring.

1996
HBPA begins a series of algae harvesting experiments to look for cost effective alternatives to dredging to repair the damage done to the watershed. HBPA cosponsors a second grant for the constructed wetlands study.

1997
HBPA harvesting program working with the city of Marlborough harvests 100 tons of wet weight biomass from Grist Mill Pond. In December HBPA sponsored a Public Hearing on the EPA Draft Permit for the sewage treatment plant. There is overwhelming support for the Draft Permit that limits phosphorous to a level that would stop pollution.

1998
HBPA funds a study to incorporate High Gradient Magnetic Separation technology into the design of the Marlborough sewage treatment plant.

1999    - May
HBPA meets with Marlborough & EPA to discuss the pending permit. Marlborough shows up with three lawyers and says they have no intention of complying with the permit.

            - June
HBPA files notice of intent to sue Marlborough for violations of the Clean Water Act.

            - July
EPA issues NPDES Operating Permit.

            - Aug.
Marlborough appeals NPDES permit because they don't want to comply with it.
HBPA appeals NPDES because we believe it should require Marlborough to repair the damage they have done to the watershed.
HBPA, with assistance from the Town of Sudbury, harvests 160 tons of wet weight biomass from Carding Mill Pond in one week.

             - Fall
Began mediation sessions mandated by the Administrative Law Judge responsible for the permit appeals.

2000 - Spring
Mediation sessions terminated due to Marlborough's intransigence & unwillingness to include the EPA in the discussions.
EPA and DEP rescind their permits.

     - Summer
Meetings at Senator John Kerry's office attempt to resolve issues without attorneys. Commitment from EPA to issue permit that will aggressively address problems in watershed.
HBPA sponsors / manages / directs a pond weed harvesting project on Carding Mill Pond & Grist Mill Pond with very significant help from the Town of Sudbury.

             - Fall
Draft permit discussion with DEP. Proposed permit is "too little, too late".

        - Winter
Negotiations continue among HBPA, DEP and the City of Marlboro, MA.

2001    - Oct.
NPDES permit issued.

2002     - Apr.

2003     - Dec.

2004     - Jan.

2009     - Dec

2015
NPDES permit withdrawn by EPA.

NPDES Draft Permit issued.

Public Hearing on Draft Permit.

EPA Order to City of Marlborough

Upgrade of Marlborough Easterly Wastewater Treatment Plant completed.