A new Island stormwater treatment project led by the University of New Hampshire received a green light from the Oak Bluffs select board on Tuesday. 

The project will target stormwater runoff on Hudson avenue in Oak Bluffs that currently flows into and pollutes Lagoon Pond, said James Houle, program director of the university’s stormwater center and the project’s manager. 

“Runoff comes down this road… and it gets essentially discharged right into the [pond],” he said. “And as it does, it picks up sediments, oils, greases, bacteria and other things.”

Mr. Houle plans to build bioretention cells, or shallow depressions filled with stones and sandy soil and topped with vegetation, on the west side of Hudson avenue to intercept the stormwater before it reaches the pond. On the opposite end of the road, where vehicles often park or use as a turnaround area, he will lay permeable pavement so additional runoff can filter back into the ground. 

“We want something there that could actually infiltrate water and also sustain some vehicle traffic,” said Mr. Houle. 

Mr. Houle worked previously with the town of Tisbury and the Martha’s Vineyard Commission to manage stormwater runoff in flood-prone areas in Vineyard Haven. With financial support from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state Department of Transportation, he intends to spend the next four years continuing to address stormwater pollution around the Vineyard. Oak Bluffs, he said, is next on his list. 

If the project receives final approval by the Oak Bluffs conservation commission, construction will ikely begin spring 2024.