Aquifer Protection Map

The shaded areas are protected by the Water Resources Protection Overlay by-law. This map can be found in the Planner's office at the town hall.

Click here to view the Aquifer Protection Map.



The purpose of the Water Resources Protection Overlay District is to preserve and protect the quality and quantity of present and potential drinking water supplies, both public and private, and their recharge areas.


AQUIFER: A geologic formation composed of rock or sand and gravel that contains significant amounts of potentially recoverable potable water.

GROUNDWATER: All the water found beneath the surface of the ground. In this by-law, the term refers to the slowly moving subsurface water present in aquifers and recharge areas.

RECHARGE AREAS: Areas from which precipitation or surface water can migrate into an aquifer.

DISPOSAL: The deposit, injection, dumping, spilling, leaking, incineration, or placing of any hazardous material into or on any land or water so that such hazardous material or any constituent thereof may enter the environment or be emitted into the air or discharged into any water, including groundwater.

HAZARDOUS MATERIALS: Any substance or combination of substances, that because of quantity, concentration or physical, chemical or infectious characteristics, poses a significant present or potential hazard to water supplies or to human health if disposed of into or on any land or water in this town. Any substance deemed a "hazardous waste" in Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 21C shall also be deemed a hazardous material for purposes of this by-law.

IMPERVIOUS: Impenetrable by water.

SOLID WASTES: Useless, unwanted or discarded solid materials, with insufficient liquid content to be free flowing, including for example, rubbish, garbage, scrap materials, junk, refuse, inert fill material and landscape refuse that has been chemically treated.

WATER RESOURCES PROTECTION OVERLAY DISTRICT: The Water Resources Protection Overlay District shall be comprised of the aquifer and watershed as well as the watershed above reservoirs that are used for surface water supplies. It shall include the highly permeable unconsolidated stratified drift deposits which yield reliable supplies of water, as well as the unstratified deposits and/or upland areas upgradient of which effectively provide secondary recharge to the aquifer.


For the purpose of this by-law, there is hereby established within the Town of Hopkinton an overlay district consisting of certain aquifer protection areas which are delineated on a map entitled "Water Resources Protection Overlay District, Town of Hopkinton", dated September 17, 1989 and as further amended, and which shall be considered as superimposed over other districts established by the Zoning By-laws of this town.

When a portion of a lot is in the Water Resources Protection Overlay District, only the portion of the lot in the Water Resources Protection Overlay District shall be governed by this by-law.


1. Uses otherwise not permitted in the underlying zoning district shall not be permitted in this superimposed district.

2. Permitted uses: Within the Water Resources Protection Overlay District, no land shall be used except for one or more of the following uses:

a. Any use or structure or accessory thereto permitted by right in the underlying district;
b. Recreational use of land or water;
c. Agricultural, horticultural, or forestry uses.

All other uses are prohibited, unless authorized by special permit.

3. Special Permit Uses: The following uses may be authorized by special permit subject to the approval of the Special Permit Granting Authority under such conditions as they may require. All uses in the underlying district which require a special permit shall be subject to the Special Permit provisions set out in this section and in Section V.

a. Excavation other than for a structure or grading resulting in creation of exterior grades less than six (6) feet above the maximum groundwater table elevation, other than for ponds under Special Permit Uses item (h);
b. Sewage treatment facilities, public or private, other than a subsurface disposal system as allowed by state and local code of 1500 gallons a day or less;
c. Solid waste transfer station;
d. Golf courses;
e. Storage of deicing chemicals in amounts exceeding 100 pounds;
f. Application of pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers for commercial purposes;
g. Any use that will render impervious more than 15% or 2,500 square feet of any lot, whichever is greater. A system for groundwater recharge must be provided which does not degrade groundwater quality. For non-residential uses, recharge shall be by stormwater infiltration basins or similar system covered with natural vegetation, and dry wells shall be used only where other methods are unfeasible. For all non-residential uses, all such basins and wells shall be preceded by oil, grease, and sediment traps to facilitate removal of contamination. Any and all recharge areas shall be permanently maintained in full working order by the owner;
h. Creation of ponds;
i. Use of sodium deicing chemicals in excess of the minimum amount determined by the highway surveyor as necessary to insure the safety of the walking and motoring public;
j. Electronic component assembly.

4. Prohibited Uses:
a. New installation of underground storage tanks of liquid petroleum and/or chemical products of any kind;
b. Disposal, treatment or generation of any hazardous materials or placement of contaminated fill;
c. Storage of hazardous materials in quantities greater than those amounts usually associated with household uses;
d. Sanitary landfill, jointured, salvage yard, other solid or hazardous waste disposal or incineration;
e. Industrial or commercial uses which discharge processed wastewater on site;
f. Excavation other than for a structure, or grading resulting in creation of exterior grades within four (4) feet of the maximum high groundwater table elevation other than for ponds allowed under Special Permit Uses item (h);
g. Dry cleaning and commercial laundry establishments;
h. Motor vehicle sales, service, washing and repair establishments, and filling stations;
i. Truck terminal;
j. Commercial wood finishing using chemicals;
k. Electronic component manufacturing;
l. Metal plating or finishing;
m. Commercial photo finishing;
n. Underground transmission lines for chemicals or liquid petroleum products;
o. The disposal of snow containing sodium deicing chemicals;
p. Wastewater treatment facilities other than individual sewage disposal systems except for replacement, repair or systems treating contaminated ground or surface water;
q. Automobile graveyards and junkyards as defined in M.G.L. Ch. 140B Sec. 1;
r. Storage of more than one (1) unregistered motor vehicle, with the exception of farm vehicles in accordance with M.G.L. Ch. 90;
s. Individual sewage disposal systems that are designed in accordance with 310 CMR 15.00 to receive more than 110 gallons of sewage per quarter acre under one ownership per day, or 440 gallons of sewage on any one acre under one ownership per day, whichever is greater, provided that:
i. the replacement or repair of a system, which will not result in an increase in design capacity over the original design, or the design capacity of 310 CMR 15.00, whichever is greater, shall be exempted;
ii. in Open Space and Landscape Preservation Development subdivisions the total sewage flow allowed shall be calculated based on the number of percable lots in the entire parcel.
t. Components of an individual sewage disposal system that are not located on the same property as the use that is served by the system.


1. The Special Permit Granting Authority (SPGA) shall be the Zoning Board of Appeals.
2. If the bounds of the Water Resources Protection Overlay District as delineated on the Water Resources Protection Overlay District Map, are challenged, the burden of proof shall be upon the owner(s) of the land in question to show evidence supporting an alternative bound.
3. Application:
a. Any person who desires to obtain a special permit shall submit a written application to the SPGA. Each application, together with a filing fee, shall contain a complete description of the proposed use, together with any supporting information and plans which the SPGA may require. The applicant shall file ten (10) copies of the application with the SPGA.
b. The application, where applicable, shall include:
· A complete list of the quantities and names of all chemicals, pesticides, fuels, and other potentially hazardous materials to be used or stored on the premises accompanied by a description of measures proposed to protect from vandalism, corrosion and leakage, and to provide for spill prevention and countermeasures;
· A description of quantities of potentially toxic or hazardous wastes to be generated, indicating storage and disposal method;
· Evidence of approval by the Department of Environmental Protection of any industrial waste treatment or disposal system and of any wastewater treatment system over 15,000 gallons per day capacity;
· Analysis by a registered professional engineer experienced in groundwater evaluation or qualified professional hydrogeologist, with an evaluation of the proposed use including its probable effects or impact on surface and groundwater quality and quantity, and natural flow patterns of water courses.
c. The SPGA shall refer copies of the application to the Board of Health, Planning Board, Conservation Commission, Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners, Hazardous Waste Coordinator, Building Inspector, Highway Surveyor, Fire Chief, and Board of Selectmen who shall review the application and submit recommendations to the SPGA within thirty-five (35) days of the referral date. Failure to submit recommendations to the SPGA within such time shall be deemed lack of opposition.
d. The SPGA shall hold a public hearing on the application no later than sixty-five (65) days after the date of filing of an application. The SPGA shall issue a decision no later than ninety (90) days following the close of the hearing. The required time limits for a public hearing and said action may be extended by written agreement between the SPGA and the applicant. The agreement shall be filed in the office of the Town Clerk.
4. Findings by SPGA: The SPGA shall not issue a special permit unless it shall find that the proposed use:
a. Is not in conflict with the purpose and intent of this by-law;
b. Will not be injurious to the Overlay District;
c. Is appropriate to the natural topography, soils, and other characteristics of the site to be developed;
d. Will not, during construction or thereafter, have an adverse environmental impact on the aquifer or recharge area;
e. Will not adversely affect an existing or potential water supply.
5. Special Permit Conditions: The special permit shall include sufficient conditions to satisfy the purposes of this by-law. The conditions may include, but are not limited to, analysis or monitoring of ground and surface waters, hydrogeologic evaluation, erosion or siltation, compaction, sedimentation control, drainage and recharge provisions, and any other limitations or standards deemed necessary by the SPGA. In making a determination regarding the issuance of a special permit, the SPGA shall give consideration to the simplicity, reliability, and feasibility of the control measures proposed and the degree of threat to water quality and quantity which would result if the control measures were to fail. The SPGA may require a bond to ensure that these conditions are fulfilled.
6. Special Permit Time Limitations: A special permit shall lapse if a substantial use thereof has not commenced except for good cause within two years from the effective date of the special permit.
7. Effective Date of Special Permit: No special permit shall take effect until a copy of the decision has been recorded in the Middlesex South Registry of Deeds, or for registered land, in the Land Registration Section of said Registry. Such decision shall bear the certification of the Town Clerk that twenty days has elapsed after the decision has been filed in the office of the Town Clerk and no appeal has been filed, or if such appeal was filed, it has been dismissed or denied.